It was called a press conference, but seemed more like a rally in Anaheim as a crowd estimated at more than 4,000 showed up when the Angels introduced Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in front of Angel Stadium. Our colleague, ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon, was there. Here's part of his column:
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- At 11:50 a.m. Pacific time Saturday morning, Albert Pujols pulled on a red Los Angeles Angels cap and launched the most ambitious chapter in franchise history.
More than 4,000 fans showed up at Angel Stadium Saturday for the official introduction of the superstar first baseman along with pitcher C.J. Wilson, the free agent pickups -- together with reliever LaTroy Hawkins -- from a one-week spending spree of more than $330 million by Angels owner Arte Moreno.
Fans chanted, "Thank you, Arte!"
Yet even Moreno acknowledged, "In a perfect world, he's a Cardinal," in deference to Pujols' 11 seasons in St. Louis, where he won three MVP awards, two World Series titles and became a civic icon. The Angels swooped in on Wednesday at baseball's winter meetings, offering Pujols a 10-year, $254 million contract that surpassed the Cardinals' offer by more than $40 million. They shocked many baseball observers by then also acquiring Wilson from the division-rival Texas Rangers.
"We just wanted to keep our hands in the cookie jar, but I didn't want it to be a situation where I was disrespectful to the Cardinals in trying to run up the price," Moreno said.
Pujols, who attended the press conference with his wife, Deidre, and son, Albert Jr., said it was a difficult, emotional decision, one he didn't reach until about 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning.