Many of you may have seen one of the twenty or so billboards the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have placed in and around Southern California with a picture of Albert Pujols and the tagline 'El Hombre' alongside him already. But the newly acquired slugger isn't exactly fond of them, and told reporters as such on Wednesday.
"I haven't talked to them, but I prefer not to use (El Hombre)," Pujols said.
Albert has problems with the moniker 'El Hombre' because of the likeness to St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan "The Man" Musial, whom Pujols has the utmost respect and admiration for after spending 11 seasons there, getting to know Musial in his time there. Albert didn't want to be called that In St. Louis, and feels the same now that he's in Los Angeles:
"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."
Musial, now 90, is a World War II veteran and won the Medal of Freedom last year, the nation's highest civilian honor.
Team officials said they did not consult Albert before going ahead with the marketing campaign, something than has been in the works since soon after his signing in December. Angels vice president of communications Tim Mead said the 'El Hombre' billboards are 20 of the 70 purchased by the team in Southern California, and it's likely not to change unless Albert approaches them and says so:
"We're more aware of his feelings about that now, but I don't think his feelings are directed at our marketing campaign," Mead said. "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."
So if you see him around, make sure you call him Mr. Pujols, Albert or even the Machine. Just don't call him 'El Hombre.'
For more on the Angels, head over to Halos Heaven.