Albert Pujols told reporters at Spring Training this week that his retirement plans may be out of his hands.
And the 35-year-old Angels slugger didn't mean that as a reference to his health, rather he was talking about his 9-year-old daughter and her potential future as an Olympic gymnast.
Pujols said his daughter, Sophia, is enrolled in an elite program that trains 35 hours per week. Her goal is to make the American Olympic team for the 2020 Olympics, in which case Pujols would retire in order to watch her compete.
Over the weekend Albert and his wife, Deidre, cheered on Sophia as she took first place in a the all-around in a big meet in St. Louis.
"Tears were coming out of our eyes," Pujols said. "We were so happy for her."
And while a lot can chance between now and 2020, where Sophia has her eyes on the Tokyo Olympics, it doesn't hurt that she's got the genes of one of the best hitters in Major League Baseball history.
Perhaps the largest hurdle for Sophia is her age. She would be 14 in 2020, which is two years under the age limit for competitors. But, Pujols said with a shrug, "they're always changing the rules."
The 2020 Tokyo Games would occur in the middle of the second-to-last season on Pujols' mega 10-year, $240-million deal with the Angels. If, by some stoke of extreme fortune, Sophia does make that team, Pujols made a firm-sounding promise that he would put his bat down and head to Japan.
"That might be the year I have to retire,” Pujols said with a smile. "You can put that in paper. I don’t want to miss it."
With Pujols' recent health issues and the inevitable decline in play that comes with aging, breaking Bonds' record seems like a long shot. Watching his daughter in the Olympics also seems like a pipe dream for Pujols, but it's safe to say the future Hall of Famer isn't unfamiliar with miracles.