Albert Pujols and Cardinals have a ‘happy flight’ home

October 11, 2011

Pujols ... after his two-run homer in the first inning of Game 2. (JIM YOUNG / Reuters)

And no one was happier than Albert Pujols, the slugger who will become a free agent at the end of the season. Pujols had a ridiculous night in the Cardinals’ 12-3 victory, laying claim to a number of marks with a home run and three doubles. Among them:

He became only the third player in LCS history to have four extra-base hits in a game. (He joins Bob Robertson of the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates and Hideki Matsui of the 2004 New York Yankees.)

He now holds the NLCS record with nine home runs. He is tied with George Brett and Billy Williams for second in LCS games. Manny Ramirez holds the record with 13.

More importantly in the moment, though, he attained a measure of redemption for bouncing into a broken-bat double play at a critical point in Game 1.

“Yesterday was so tough,” Pujols said of Sunday’s loss. “Going to bed, I was just thinking about some of the opportunities I missed to help our ballclub to win, but I turned that page.”

The Cardinals have home-field advantage now — alert the squirrel — and the happy-flight thing, B.J. Rains of Fox Sports Midwest reports, is the players’ habit of saying to one another “Happy flight” after the last game of a homestand or trip.

“You've got these grown men and they're like — I don't even think it's a fraternity, they're too old,” Manager Tony La Russa said. “They're like summer campers or teenagers, or maybe preteens. They're just like kids. And it's enjoyable to listen to ‘happy flight’ things. Our fans were yelling when we got in the dugout, ‘Have a happy flight.’ It's silly, but why not?”

Gallery: Game 2 photos

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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