Ho-hum, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols has won his second straight and third overall National League MVP Award, becoming the tenth player in history to win the MVP at least three times. It's also the 20th time a Cardinal has won the award, only two shy of the Yankees record.
Pujols won the award unanimously, meaning there was no chunderhead around to waste his or her first place vote on some undeserving chump. Hanley Ramirez finished second with Ryan Howard taking third despite not even being the most valuable Phillies player. Also, someone threw a tenth-place vote in Jeremy Affeldt's direction, but let us not speak of down-ballot malarkey. Pujols won another MVP award.
Snoozy, right? You have to go all the way back to Chipper Jones in 1999 to find someone not on the Cards, Phillies, or Giants who won the honor. Can't the voters spread that wealth around a bit and honor an Astro or a Rockie or something? In a word: no. Let's not lose our focus here simply because Pujols enters every season as the odds on favorite to win the top prize with his tater tots and gilded leather mentions and rare smiles flashed.
Instead, let us react with the same amount of joy and surprise for Pujols' third MVP as to when a young stud like Joe Mauer wins his first MVP. Hey, we are witnessing history here! Mr. Pujols might end up toppling Barry Bonds' record seven MVP awards by the time he hangs up his cardinal red batting helmet, so each time he wins, let's appreciate the moment for what it's worth.
Albert Pujols is no run-of-the-mill RBI-collectin' first baseman: he's MLB's active leader in batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS, and for a man who won't turn 30 until next year, his 366 homers put him on pace to clobber #500 before age 33. He's only won a single Gold Glove award, but has four straight Fielding Bible awards on his virtual mantle. In 2009, Pujols set the ML record for most assists by a first baseman in a single season with a whopping 185.
So yeah, it was inevitable that Pujols would win, but that doesn't mean we should handle it any differently than yesterday's Mauer debut on the award stage. Pujols' march towards the Pantheon has only just begun.