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Volume 24 No. 114

Sports in Society

MLB Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols and his charitable efforts were profiled on CBS' “60 Minutes” last night, with CBS’ Bob Simon saying Pujols is "now the idol in the baseball-crazy city of St. Louis, but what we found most impressive about Albert can't be found between the lines of chalk on a baseball field." Pujols, who has a child with Down Syndrome, hosts a prom for people with the condition. His foundation also has sent “American doctors to a place where not long ago, witch doctors held sway." Pujols and his wife, Deidre, go back to Pujols’ hometown of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to help people living in "bateys," or shantytowns, and he "wants to expand the foundation's work to more ‘bateys’ around the country." Simon: "Another medical mission is planned for this September. He and Deidre were on hand to dedicate a new baseball field in the batey that the foundation funded. Albert then spent three hours giving a clinic to boys who want to be him." Pujols said his charitable work is “my passion, and I believe this is what God is calling me to do.” Pujols: “That was me, I mean, 25 years ago, I was one of those little boys with no hope, just a dream. This is not just so I can be Mr. Nice Guy." Simon noted Pujols’ “devotion comes right out of his religion. He is devout, and as straight-laced as they come in baseball" ("60 Minutes," CBS, 4/10).

: In St. Louis, Bernie Miklasz writes the report "didn't cover much new ground for serious Cardinals fans familiar with Pujols' benevolence." But he adds, "It was nice to see him receive overdue national attention for his charitable deeds. ... In TMZ America, the creeps and the phonies receive a disproportionate amount of publicity, so it's pleasing to see a guy like Pujols cast in a positive light. The good guys should be commended for trying to do the right thing" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/11).