An enraged Albert Pujols gathers himself before an at bat in the 7th inning in Wednesday night's game.
Yesterday afternoon, as the Cardinals were leaving batting practice, Brandon Backe got into a rather, shall we say, heated discussion with Albert Pujols.
Thank you very much, Mr. Backe.
The problems between these two players, you'll remember, go all the way back to the 2005 NLCS. During Game 5, shortly before Albert hit the home run off of Brad Lidge that gave the Cards the win, sent the series back to St. Louis for a game 6 that Roy Oswalt would win, and seemed to haunt Lidge eternally afterward, several Houston players, Backe most prominently among them, were seen celebrating their seemingly inevitable victory.
That celebration, of course, proved to be premature, and several Cardinal players, Pujols especially, resented the fact that the Houston players were dancing on the Cards' graves before they were dead, so to speak.
And so an angry Albert Pujols went to bat last night. The first home run he hit, a bomb into left center that nearly knocked the train (picture) off of its tracks, was quite a salvo on its own (video). The second, though, a bullet to the opposite field that just had enough height to get out, was the nail in the coffin for the Astros, a reminder that you should always tread quietly when confronted with a sleeping giant.
Lesson learned? We'll see; the Astros come to Busch Stadium at the end of April, the 25th through the 27th, to be exact. Whether any messages have been received or lessons learned, there is one thing you can absolutely bank on. When these two teams play, it's always October. And it's always special.