Well, sports fans, in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s baseball season. And if you haven’t been watching some of the early clashes to start the year, you’ve got some catching up to do. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the new owners of Albert Pujols’ contract, also own the third-worst record in baseball: 7-14. No one expected them to trail their division rivals, the Texas Rangers (16-5), by nine games at this point in the season. Apparently spending $254 million to acquire Pujols, arguably the best player of this generation, hasn’t helped the franchise. We’re not yet a month into the season, and the Angels have already released veteran Bobby Abreu from the team, calling up prospect Mike Trout in the hope that shaking up the team chemistry a bit will catalyze success. But Pujols is undoubtedly the bigger story, as the $254 million dollar man is hitting only .226 with no home runs, four RBIs, and a paltry .310 slugging percentage through 21 games. Those are numbers you expect from a mediocre catcher, not the man widely hailed as the game’s greatest. Perhaps Pujols just needs time to adjust to the challenges of a new league, but after tremendous pre-season hype, Angels fans are tired of waiting for Albert to be King Albert again.
It ought to be noted that Pujols’ former clan, the St. Louis Cardinals, holds a 14-7 record, along with a four game division lead over the Cincinnati Reds. Pujols wasn’t the only one who departed after the Cardinals’ World Series win last year; he joined longtime pitching coach Dave Duncan and manager Tony La Russa, both of whom retired at the end of 2011, in bidding farewell. But while the team has an entirely new look, the redbirds are still winning. The Angels still aren’t.
While Newt Gingrich is still scrapping for votes amidst communication problems and tremendous debt, Ron Paul’s supporters are flooding the mass media’s E-mail inboxes with spam, and former candidate Rick Santorum’s last set of anti-Mitt Romney mailers are just now reaching voters, the primary campaign is effectively over, so the presumptive Republican nominee Romney and the incumbent Barack Obama have squarely focused their attention on winning this November’s general election. Obama has returned to court younger voters, a key demographic that helped him win the 2008 election, to paint Republicans as an obstacle to an affordable college education. Romney, on the other hand, is focusing more directly on the economy, telling Latino voters that the faltering economy and high unemployment rates throughout the later years of Obama’s presidency show that he has failed them. Obama’s winning the fundraising battle thus far, with over $104 million in available campaign funds, although one may have expected the early lead given that Romney has been forced to pour much of his own funds into the Republican primaries. Still, reports that Obama raised $53 million in March alone, a $8 million increase from his February total, are quite impressive. Since most national head-to-head polls have Obama holding a single-digit lead over Romney, it falls on the challenger to catch up to the incumbent.
In entertainment news, on Friday, Disney Studios Chairman Rich Ross resigned from his position as the film studio’s top executive. Ross was highly successful when he led the Disney Channel, but stirred controversy at the film studio when he forced out many longtime executives and hired an outsider to run the marketing department. But the biggest blow against Ross was probably the big-budget, low-income John Carter, whose box office failings contributed to a $200 million write-down for the company. (Ross’ other major flop, Mars Needs Moms, cost $150 million to make and grossed only $39 million worldwide.) Apparently Ross spoke negatively about John Carter and blamed Pixar Animation Studios for its low quality, prompting Pixar executives to turn on Ross, whose abundant self-confidence amidst his less-than-brilliant tenure had already alienated many within the company. It may be little surprise, then, that Ross was fired, given that he had no one left to support him when he was on the chopping block.