Los Angeles Angels’ Albert Pujols (5) is greeted by a standing ovation before his first at-bat during the first inning a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Friday, June 21, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)ST. Louis — The cheers for Albert Pujols lasted much longer than his at-bat.It had been almost eight years in the making, but Albert Pujols returned to the Busch Stadium on Friday night and was greeted by a raucous standing ovation that carried on for over a minute.ADVERTISEMENT The cheers faded as quickly as the at-bat, in which Pujols flied out to deep center field on Michael Wacha’s first pitch. Wacha was drafted by the Cardinals as compensation for Pujols signing a $254 million, 10-year contract with the Angels as a free agent.The 39-year-old Pujols was reflective as he prepared to take the field for the first time since celebrating the 2011 World Series championship after helping St. Louis defeat the Texas Rangers in seven games. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt remembered his early days around Pujols as a minor league instructor during spring training in 2008.“He’d just be stalking the opposing pitcher (in the dugout),” Shildt said. “I’d sit right beside him and you’d just feel like this radiation coming off of him coming into the competition and he’s picking up something and that never wavered and that’s a characteristic that few have.”Pujols credited former Cardinals greats like Lou Brock, who taught him to properly run the bases, and former teammates such as Jim Edmonds, Edgar Renteria, Fernando Vina, Darryl Kile, Woody Williams, Placido Polanco, Larry Walker, Mike Matheny and Molina for helping him grow as a player and as a person.“You play this game for 20 years or whatever, and hopefully you leave longer than what you play and that’s why you build great relationships because that is more important to me than anything that I have accomplished,” Pujols said.Pujols still maintains a home in St. Louis and his foundation, designed to help children with special needs, is still active in the community.He didn’t waver in his feelings about the city.“What makes it special is just the support day in and day out,” Pujols said. “It didn’t matter if we were playing good or bad, I felt like if you played the game the right way and hustle, they just love their players. Not only in baseball, we saw that in football and in hockey with the Blues winning, it’s just a great city to play sports in.” Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles Trump attends World Series baseball game in Washington DC PLAY LIST 01:04Trump attends World Series baseball game in Washington DC03:122 dead in California school attack; gunman shoots self00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss MOST READ LATEST STORIES Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Dwane Casey says it was ‘exciting’ to see Raptors win title “The 11 years, the success I had here, nine playoffs, two World Series, best fans in baseball,” Pujols said. “I use the term that I came here as a little boy and I left as a really strong and big man, a grown man.”Pujols will forever have a special place in the history-rich lore of the Cardinals.He came out of nowhere, drafted in the 13th round in 1999, to become the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year. Pujols hit .328 with 455 doubles, 445 home runs and 1,329 RBI in 1705 games with the Cardinals.Pujols was a three-time National League MVP, nine-time All-Star, a six-time Silver Slugger and a two-time Gold Glove winner. Pujols led the Cardinals to championships in 2006 and 2011 and to another World Series appearance in 2004.“What Albert did for the city, he deserves it,” Molina said of the ovation.ADVERTISEMENT Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Pujols spent the first 11 years of his All-Star career with the Cardinals before signing with the Los Angeles Angels after the 2011 season. Due to inconsistent interleague scheduling, this was the first time the Angels have visited St. Louis since Pujols left.During the ovation, Pujols and Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina — whom he refers to as his little brother — embraced in the first inning. Before stepping in, Pujols tipped his helmet, sending the crowd noise to another level.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess View comments
Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:43Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals?02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess Urgent reply from Philippine football chief Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles James Harden interacts with fans in his fourth Manila visit. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—The NBA MVP trophy changed hands from James Harden to Giannis Antetokounmpo two days ago.Still, it didn’t stop his Filipino fans from serenading him with MVP chants Wednesday night.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting PH beach spikers also eye spots to Continental Cup Harden capped off his “Free to Harden Manila” promotional tour with sports apparel giant adidas by being with his beloved fans at SMX Convention Center in Pasay where he also held a press conference earlier in the night.GALLERY: James Harden entertains Filipino fans in 4th Manila visitFEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesThe Houston Rockets’ scoring demon did not play unlike other NBA stars who have come to visit, but he did show Filipinos some of his dazzling moves when he participated in a game of horse with athletes Kobe Paras, Troy Rike, Roosevelt Adams and Jason Credo.Filipino showed Harden love and the feeling was mutual. LATEST STORIES POC chief on SEA Games hosting glitches: ‘It’s normal’ World dragon boat champs out to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. READ: James Harden spends day 1 of Manila visit with PH wheelchair basketball team“Every single day you have to work your butt off. Every day. It doesn’t stop. You’re gonna have a lot of bad days and a lot of good days but you can’t have two weeks of working and feel like you’ve accomplished something. It has to be nonstop,” he said.“That’s not even just in basketball but in life. If you wanna make it to the top you gotta continue to work every single day and just block all the negative things, you block the haters away from you keep them away from you and just focus on your goals.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Harden, who arrived in Manila Tuesday and is set to leave Thursday, is in the country for the fourth time and it won’t be the last.READ: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant part of James Harden’s NBA Mount Rushmore“Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. I will continue to show love to Manila and my Filipino fans,” Harden said, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.The 29-year-old Harden also shared some words of wisdom that he hopes aspiring basketball players will take to heart.Harden, the 2018 NBA MVP and reigning back-to-back Scoring Champion, is one of the top basketball players today for a reason and it’s not due to any coincidence.ADVERTISEMENT Analysis: For Durant and Leonard, the move is to stay put View comments
Singapore: Singapore’s skies cleared Friday and air quality improved as smog from raging Indonesian forest fires drifted away, easing fears that this weekend’s Formula One race may be affected. The blazes have been spewing toxic haze across Southeast Asia, forcing the closure of schools and airports, and prompting Jakarta to deploy thousands of personnel to tackle them. The Indonesian fires are an annual problem during the dry season when farmers use illegal slash-and-burn techniques to clear land for agriculture, but this year’s are the worst since 2015. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: RijijuThick smog had been hanging over Singapore since last weekend, pushing air quality to unhealthy levels, obscuring the waterfront skyline and sparking fears that Sunday’s showpiece F1 night race may be knocked off track. But on Friday the skies were largely clear, with only a light haze over the city, while air quality improved to a “moderate” level of around 65 on the National Environment Agency’s scale. A reading between 101 and 200 indicates unhealthy air quality. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai MastersThe wind direction could however still change ahead of the weekend and push smog back over Singapore. F1 organisers say they have a contingency plan if the haze worsens and have been stocking up on face masks to protect against pollution which spectators can buy at the circuit. Indonesia, and its neighbours Malaysia and Singapore, have been worst affected by smog but it is starting to spread over a wider area in Southeast Asia. Haze was detected Friday in central and southern parts of the Philippines, prompting health officials to warn people in affected areas to keep outdoor activities to a minimum and wear masks. The blazes are centred on Indonesia’s Sumatra island and the Indonesian part of Borneo island. Borneo is shared between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Thousands of schools have been forced to close in Malaysia and Indonesia amid mounting health concerns, while several airports have shut due to poor visibility. People have been dashing to buy face masks and there has been an increase in reports of respiratory illnesses and conditions such as dry and itchy eyes. The worst-affected part of Malaysia has been Sarawak state, on Borneo, where more than 1,000 schools were shuttered Friday and air quality reached “hazardous” levels in one area bordering Indonesia. The second round of an Asian Development Tour golf tournament in the state, the PGM MNRB ADT Championship, was postponed for a second consecutive day Friday due to the haze, organisers said. It is expected to start Saturday. Over 2,800 “hotspots” — areas of intense heat detected by satellite indicating a likely fire — were sighted Friday in two provinces of Indonesian Borneo alone, although the number dropped in Riau, Indonesia’s disaster agency said. Indonesia insists it is doing all it can and has deployed about 29,000 personnel from a range of government agencies nationwide in an effort to douse the blazes, many of which burn underground in carbon-rich peat. Almost 250 people have been arrested on suspicion of activities that led to the blazes. But experts say the fires are unlikely to be extinguished until the onset of the rainy season in October and have raised fears of a repeat of the 2015 crisis, the worst smog outbreak for about two decades.
Tokyo: Japanese tennis sensation Naomi Osaka beat Elise Mertens of Belgium on Saturday to reach the final of the Pan Pacific Open, thrilling her Japanese fans in the city of her birth. Top seed Osaka dispatched No. 9 seed Mertens 6-4, 6-1 in Osaka, western Japan, to reach her first final since winning the Australian Open. The pair both held their serves for the first set until Osaka broke Mertens in the 10th game. Osaka, 21, rounded into form in the second, and after the pair traded early breaks, won the last four games of the match to sprint to victory in just over an hour. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: Rijiju”It’s been kind of rough like the past couple of months so I’m really glad that I made it to the final,” she said. She tried to stay calm because the 23-year-old Belgian player is “an amazing player and it’s so hard to hit her balls,” she said. Earlier in the day, Osaka saw off Yulia Putintseva in straight sets, even as she was tricked at times by the Kazakh player’s slices and drop shots. “For me, I learned a lot from when I played her at Wimbledon, and I know that a hard court is where I feel most comfortable,” Osaka told press after beeting Putintseva. Last week, Osaka announced she was splitting with her coach, her second break-up this year as she battles to regain form after slipping from the top of the world rankings to number four. Osaka had already caught the tennis world by surprise when she announced she was parting ways with coach Sascha Bajin, who had overseen her stunning rise to win two Grand Slams — the US Open in 2018 and the Australian Open title in January.
Muzaffarnagar (UP): A class 11 student was allegedly beaten up by three men in a bus after she protested against their lewd comments in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district, police said on Sunday. The incident took place near Hashimpur village in Ramraj area on Saturday when the girl, along with her friends, was returning home from school, Station House Officer (SHO) Rajendra Giri said. In the bus, the three accused passed lewd comments on the girl and when she objected to their behaviour, they thrashed her, he said. A search was underway to nab the accused, the SHO added.