Later this morning I was at the St. Louis Cardinals… the other side of Roger Dean Stadium. I was talking with Yadier Molina about his MVP2000TT headgear. Right next to him was Albert Pujols. He leaned over and asked, “Hey, are you the helmet guy?” I felt like saying, “well, um, actually, I am the ‘cup guy.'” He wanted a headgear for his father who is a softball catcher. “No problem I said.” I jotted down a note, asked for the color he wanted, and in the midst of a crowd of about five people, knowing full well who he is, I asked, “And so, what’s your name?” I think he and everyone else was taken aback. I got a blank look. He simply said “Pujols.” “OK, I’ll have the helmet sent in a couple of days.”

I learned this trick many years ago. Back when I was doing my undergrad at Hahvahd, some random person I met on a train asked where I went to school. Usually, when you say Harvard there is immediate recognition, and sometimes a comment about being whicked smaht. But that time he simply said, “Hmm, Harvard? I don’t think I’ve heard of that. Where is it?” His delivery was perfect and to this day I still don’t know if he was playing a joke on me or he really didn’t know. But he got me either way. I really didn’t know what to say except a feeble “Um, in Camdridge… next to Boston.” I kind of pulled the same thing on Pujols today.  And it’s kind of like the time I offered Natalie Portman a job cleaning toilets at Harvard the first week of her freshman year.  But that’s a story for another time.

stan jr.