In 2004 I went to see "Fahrenheit 9/11," and when the name Bill DeWitt Jr. was mentioned in the movie, I knew from that point on that this Cincinnati oil man -- who rescued George W. Bush's failing oil company and merged it with Harken Energy, suspected of being involved in insider trading when Bush sold his stock, and then helped Bush buy the Texas Rangers, which went on to introduce Major League Baseball to the steroids era -- could not be trusted to do what was in the best interest of one of the golden franchises in all of sports, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Instead, he's done what's in the best interest of his wallet, constantly coming up with ways to lower payroll by signing players off the scrap heap to play second base or turn the focus to player development in a way so drastic it ran off one of the most successful general managers in the game, Walt Jocketty, who immediately turned around the Cincinnati Reds.
DeWitt has already proved to be one of the great misers in sports ownership, rivaling even the ways of our own Bill Valentine, famous for shutting off the stadium lights before the fans could even get out of their seats after the last out and never replacing a centuries-old urine trough.
Now DeWitt has pulled the ultimate Mr. Cheap Miser move in offering Albert Pujols, the best player in the game who has provided the Cardinals with a decade of premium services at a discount, a lowball contract that would make him the third-highest paid player in baseball -- at his position.
Short of an Egyptian protest situation developing in the Ballpark Village next to Busch Stadium, the Cardinals ownership has basically said no thanks to Pujols' services beyond 2011.
Some people in Little Rock are still smarting from what might have been in 2000 when Pujols was coming up in the Cardinals farm system. He started the year in low-A Potomac, played most of the season in high-A Peoria, and then skipped the Double-A Arkansas Travelers to finish the year at Triple-A Memphis.
What might have been? Pujols could have been perhaps the greatest "former Traveler" of all time. The Travs could still be handing out Pujols bobbleheads and whatever else to pack the house.
No matter how the Los Angeles Angels screw Central Arkansas on rehab assignments, they will never be able to top Jocketty's passing over the Travs on Pujols. Was it Ray Winder Field? Was it his relationship with Valentine? We will never know.
Now the irony: If St. Louis ownership pulls the worst sports blunder of the year and doesn't sign Pujols, the odds-on favorite to land him is -- the Los Angeles Angels.
Arte Moreno, if you pull this one off, you can right this decade-old wrong by sending us Pujols for a one-game rehab assignment. He doesn't even have to be injured.
-- Travelerocity reporter