"But at the same time, I don't play for milestones. My goal is to try to help this organization to win."
Pujols made a point to say he's not playing for numbers. But look at the numbers. They're astounding.
Wednesday's homer was Pujols' 30th of the season, and with it he became the first player in baseball history to start his career with 12 straight seasons of 30 or more home runs. He's just the fourth player to accomplish the feat at any point during a career, joining Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx.
"I don't like to compare myself with other players. That's for you guys to do," Pujols said. "People ask me, 'How's it feel? These numbers are better than Babe Ruth in his first ...' I don't like to compare myself. It's something because of the respect that I have for the game and that's the way that my dad always taught me. Don't take anything for granted and always respect the game the right way."
This weekend, Pujols returns to Kansas City, where some of that respect was forged. He moved to the area from the Dominican Republic with his father as a 16-year-old. He graduated from high school in neighboring Independence, Mo., and he played baseball at Maple Woods Community College in Kansas City before turning professional.
"Every time I come here, I enjoy it," Pujols said. "I get to see family and friends. They don't get to see me now that I'm out West. I was a little bit closer in St. Louis, so they used to come out twice a year. It's always nice to come here. This stadium is one of my favorites."
Despite being 25 home runs away from 500, Pujols is focused on one goal: bringing the Angels another World Series title.
"This is not about me," Pujols said. "This is about 25 guys that want to accomplish something that everybody wants, and that's to be able to be a champion at the end of the year. I don't play for numbers. If I can stay healthy, I know what I can do. ... This is a team effort.
"I obviously have accomplished what I have accomplished because of my teammates getting on base and being able to put on good swings. But I don't try to concentrate on that because at the end of the day, it's just not about me. I try to make sure that I get my attention off me and make sure that I put it somewhere else where it belongs."