Former teammates face off in LA for a three-game series
June 10, 2021
The Cardinals came to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers in a three-game series, always a much-anticipated rivalry felt by both the teams and their fans. A rivalry that has developed over the years into a playoff-type atmosphere.
The Dodgers took two out of the three games, but another bright spot was the reunion of two veterans and former teammates, Cardinals catcher Yadi Molina and newly-acquired Dodger first-baseman Albert Pujols. Their first reunion since Pujols donned a Dodger uniform.
They played together as Cardinals from 2004 (Molina's rookie year) until Pujols left for the Angels in 2011. During their time together, the Cardinals won two World Series, and the dynamic duo would create one of the all-time greatest pick-off signals at first base. Many times the play was initiated by Molina, but he and Pujols developed the signal that, to this day, is still a secret.
Former Marlins base-stealing champ, Jose Reyes, had fear when he reached first base. "When I get to first base against the Cardinals, the first thing I know is to be careful with Molina," Reyes said. "You have to pay attention to Albert, pay attention to the pitcher, and pay attention to Yadier behind the plate. There are so many things going on...it gets you confused sometimes. Most of the catchers in the big leagues don't even try that."
Maybe Dodgers catchers, Austin Barnes and Will Smith, should broach the subject with Pujols and see if they can somehow gather up that golden secret and use it to their advantage.
When Pujols was asked to speak about his history with Molina, he was glowing as he spoke about his dear friend.
"Really special, Yadi is a hard worker," Pujols said. "As a kid, he did not ever let up, same as as now as an adult...he has great dedication. He's like my little brother, we will always stay in touch."
Pujols went on to say that they both help each other mentally and that the greatest memory he has of Molina is their relationship off of the field.
"I'm going to share those memories the rest of my life," Pujols said.
When Pujols was asked what he learned from Molina, he mentioned his toughness.
"Yadi took a foul-tip off the right knee and didn't even need to see the trainer," Pujols said. "We're both proud, and want to play every day."
Pujols will always remember 2004, when "baby-face" Molina joined the Cardinals.
"He wanted to learn, wanted to get better, to learn quick and fast," Pujols said. "He never took anything for granted."
Much like Pujols.
When the future Hall of Famer was asked if he thinks Molina will also get the nod, he said that they are both just living in the moment. When the time comes, they will enjoy it then.