Albert Pujols hit his first major league home run on April 6, 2001. Since then, he has homered off 449 different pitchers in the regular season, in 40 different parks, with 12 walk-off home runs along the way. His return to St. Louis has turned into an unexpected magical ride these past few weeks -- he's hitting .405 with 10 home runs since July 6 -- and now he's just seven home runs away from joining Barry Bonds, Henry Aaron and Babe Ruth with 700 in his career.
Pujols says he's not counting, instead simply saying, "I'm the grandpa in the clubhouse. I'm having a great time."
He may not be counting, but we are. His chase for 700 is one of the more exciting things to watch these final weeks of the season. But it's not the only one. Here are some of the top storylines to pay attention to as we head toward October.
1. Pujols going for 700 home runs
I did not foresee Pujols' return to the St. Louis Cardinals turning into one of the feel-good stories of the season, let alone project him to having a legitimate shot at reaching 700 home runs with 40 games remaining. No, when the Cardinals reunited with Pujols, I had visions of Ken Griffey Jr.'s final season in Seattle in 2010, when Griffey played 33 games, didn't hit a home run and quietly walked away at the end of May.