In stark contrast to Josh Hamilton’s terrorizing of American League pitching, Angels 1B Albert Pujols has struggled mightily since signing a gargantuan pact this past winter, so much so that Adam Dunn feels sorry for him.  Writing for The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Norman Chad (above) proposes that Albert isn’t merely a big useless lump in the middle of Mike Scioscia’s lineup, but is instead, “a living, breathing ‘John Carter'”. Full points to the Slouch for not referencing “Heaven’s Gate” or “Tusk”.

If Pujols — who signed a 10-year contract — doesn’t defunkify, we’re looking at something that goes beyond free-agent bust. He’s entering hallowed cultural territory. Here are, unofficially, the five biggest flops of the past halfcentury in American life:

• New Coke (1985): Was anybody complaining about Coca-Cola? What were they thinking? This was like adding skylights and terraces to the pyramids.
• Chevy Chase’s talk show (1993): Magic Johnson’s talk show was actually worse, but he was a point guard. Chase is an entertainer.
• Ben-Gay Aspirin (1990s): Yes, Ben-Gay Aspirin. For real. I mean, I’ll smear that delightfully smelly stuff on my back, but do I care to swallow it?
• Dennis Miller on “Monday Night Football” (2000-01): I still have nightmares of the former funny guy referring to Mike Shanahan as “Shanny” 37 times in four quarters.
• Susan B. Anthony dollar (1979-81, 1999): Hey, I was as big a fan of women’s suffrage as the next guy, but I don’t want some feminist coin rolling around my pocket ruining the feng shui of my favorite quarters and dimes.