Albert Pujols knocks MLB on game time

Updated: October 5, 2011, 8:34 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Maybe the Cardinals' players were right: Late-afternoon starts at Busch Stadium really are trouble.

Pujols Maybe if we were the New York Yankees maybe we would have played an 8:00 game today. It is what it is. I just don't understand when we play a 4:00 game the league knows we have tough shadows out there, but there's nothing you can do.

-- Albert Pujols

Several Cardinals complained about the difficult combination of shadows and sunshine after a home loss to the Brewers in a late-afternoon game last month.

And seeing was clearly difficult for the Phillies and Cardinals in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Tuesday afternoon. Hitters struggled to pick up the spin of the ball in the early innings.

"We can't do anything about it," St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols said. "We've been talking all year long, there is nothing we can do about it. Maybe if we were the New York Yankees maybe we would have played an 8:00 game today. It is what it is. I just don't understand when we play a 4:00 game the league knows we have tough shadows out there, but there's nothing you can do. They're making their money, they're paying their money. I guess they put the game time however they want it."

The game began at 4:08 p.m. CDT and was scoreless until the seventh in Tuesday's 3-2 Cardinals loss to the Phillies, which puts St. Louis in a 2-1 series hole.

The visibility wasn't easy for fielders, either.

The Phillies threatened in the third when Carlos Ruiz bounced a ball over third baseman David Freese, who took a step in when he should have backed up. Later, center fielder Jon Jay didn't see a soft and possibly catchable liner by Jimmy Rollins until the ball bounced. The Cardinals escaped the jam.

Pujols said he complained to the team about shadows in early September "and they didn't care about it."

He said he would have preferred to start the 4-1 September 5 loss to the Brewers during the noon hour, when St. Louis begins most weekday day games. Day games on Sunday start at 1:15 p.m. Many Cardinals take early batting practice because it's tougher to see during the regular time in late afternoon.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com MLB writer Amy K. Nelson was used in this report.

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