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Albert Pujols Upset At Angels' "El Hombre" Billboard

Steven Covelman |
February 22, 2012 | 5:52 p.m. PST

Staff Writer

Pujols thinks there's only one "El Hombre" in baseball. (SD Dirk/Creative Commons)
Pujols thinks there's only one "El Hombre" in baseball. (SD Dirk/Creative Commons)

Albert Pujols made waves this offseason when he chose to sign with the Los Angeles Angels over the St. Louis Cardinals, the team with which he spent the first 11 seasons of his career.

As the team's new superstar, it came without surprise that Pujols would be the center of the Angels' marketing campaign.

But Pujols is not pleased with one of the ways the Angels chose to sell him to his new fan base. On 20 billboards around Southern California, Pujols is pictured finishing his swing, next to the Spanish words, "El Hombre."

While in St. Louis, Pujols asked fans and the local media to refrain from calling him "El Hombre," out of respect for Hall of Famer Stan Musial. During his illustrious 22-year career, Musial was referred to as Stan "The Man."

"I don't want to be called that," said Pujols. "There is one man that gets that respect and that's Stan Musial. I know 'El Hombre' is the man in Spanish, but he is "The Man.'"

During his time in St. Louis, Pujols formed a strong relationship with Musial, who spent his entire career in St. Louis. Musial also served in the Navy during World War II and received the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, last year.

"I still have the same respect for him as I had, not just for what he's done in baseball, but for what he did for his country," Pujols said. "That's something you have to appreciate."

According to Tim Mead, vice president of communication for the Angels organization, the billboards were not created in coordination with Pujols. The team did, however, alert Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano, about the advertisements.  They did not ask for Pujols to sign off on them.

These advertisements are not intended to be a signification that Pujols has left the Cardinals and Musial in his past, according to Mead. "This is our ad campaign," said Mead. "He hasn't approached us with anything and it's been explained to him that it's one prong of our campaign, not its full-fledged focus."

The billboards are just some of the 70 signs that the Angels have placed in Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange counties to promote the upcoming season. Pujols has already reported to spring training early to meet his new teammates and acquaint himself with his new franchise.

Pujols signed a massive 10-year, $250 million contract this December. The Angels spent over $330 million in the offseason to compete with the Texas Rangers, who have been to the World Series the past two seasons. The Angels have not made the playoffs since 2009.


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