It doesn't really matter what paths Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols took to get here, sharing a stage for the first time as Angels on Thursday. What matters, as Pujols was quick to point out, is what happens from now on.

Pujols also pointed out that Thursday was not the first time that he's shared a stage with Hamilton.

"We go way back," Pujols said. "In 1999 we were at Tropicana Field. We were in the same draft year. I remember him from doing what he's doing now back then, (people) saying this guy's going to be the first pick. I'm like, `Yeah, right.'

"He started taking BP," Pujols said, raising his voice as he recalled a sense of disbelief. "I was like `Are you serious?' "

Hamilton doesn't remember meeting Pujols in 1999. He doesn't remember a lot, he joked. He can joke about snorting cocaine, drinking himself to oblivion, being suspended three years by MLB for failing drug tests, and everyone gets it.

"I took a little different route than Albert did," Hamilton said, drawing laughter from the assembled group of about 30 reporters, "but we're here together now."

The stars align

Spring training is an obsession with baseball details - the rotation on a curveball, the route a pitcher takes to cover first base on an groundball to his left, the sign a coach gives to tell a batter to bunt.