Wednesday afternoon tidbits: Temper, temper – UPDATED

UPDATE — We’ve got a story going up on the site shortly, co-written by Alyson Footer of and myself, that basically goes over everything. Backe and Pujols have some history, so there’s no doubt that played into what happened. It seems to me that for MOST people involved in this deal, it’s more or less over.

Weird sequence at Minute Maid Park this afternoon. Evidently at least some Astros folks were unhappy about Pujols’ slide into J.R. Towles at home plate last night. According to Towles, Pujols called after the game yesterday to apologize, and from talking to Towles, it definitely seemed that he at least had no hard feelings.

TLR said he didn’t even think twice about the slide, but that Towles needed to be sure to give guys a bigger piece of the plate to slide into. Towles said he believes he allows plenty of room. Then Pujols refused to discuss it at all in the clubhouse.

So basically it seemed to be more or less over. And then as the Astros were leaving the field after BP, some kind of disagreement arose between guys in the two different shades of red. I was up in the press box, unfortunately, but it was very clear through binocs that Brandon Backe was extremely displeased about something, and the guy who seemed to be on the receiving end of his ire was Pujols.

It didn’t escalate into anything, stayed with about six guys in one spot, and certainly didn’t move past words into anything physical, but Backe was clearly extremely unhappy. The Astros ‘clubhouse is closed at this minute, so the Houston scribes can’t get in to hear the home team’s side of things. And Pujols is in the midst of BP; odds of getting him to say anything before the game starts are virtually nil.

Anyway, other pregame tidbits, or as TLR says, the baseball and not the BS.

* Joel Pineiro got here from New Orleans today, did his running and feels he’s ready for his next start to be a big league start. But according to TLR, the decision has not yet been made and may not be made until tomorrow. Thompson is listed as the Sunday pitcher in the game notes, but I’m told that doesn’t really mean anything.

* Cesar Izturis got the day off, with Aaron Miles at SS.

* Adam Wainwright headed out early, getting an earlier flight to San Francisco rather than waiting for the charter. He left the ballpark around 4 pm rather than flying in the middle of the night for his start tomorrow.

* TLR said they have a plan for what to do with the rotation after Monday’s off day, but didn’t divulge it. They could bump Wainwright up to go on his regular fifth day, or give everybody the extra day of rest.

* STL lineup: Schumaker RF, Duncan LF, Pujols 1B, Ankiel CF, Glaus 3B, Kennedy 2B, Molina C, Looper P, Miles SS

* HOU lineup: Bourn CF, Pence RF, Berkman 1B, Lee LF, Tejada SS, Blum 3B, Loretta 2B, Towles C, Sampson P



Seems like a media blowup. These guys are competitive ball players, so tempers will fly from time to time on big plays in big games. It was good of Pujols to call J.R. and apologize, and a clear sign that Pu didn’t intend to hit him quite as much as he did. He’s a class act. I believe Backe is in the wrong, but that’s his catcher. I understand him taking his side.

We’ll put it this way: both of the guys have reasons to be upset; Backe originally, Pujols now. Pujols apologized, so it should’ve been buried. This sort of thing happened all of the time back in the day. It just seems like something the media wants to cling on–no shot at you, Dude. Being in media myself, I know a story when I see it, and I certainly appreciate the drama. Good for popcorn munchin’.

Here’s what I don’t understand…

If Pujols stopped Backe because Backe wouldn’t let it go…what made him stop Backe in the first place? In what way would Backe not let it go? How did Albert hear about it? etc.

I thought it was pretty funny that Backe said he felt “violated” when approached by Albert. Violated? Really?

Rob, i thought the same thing. Hahaha! When I read that I was thinking, “Violated!? He stopped you to talk, not to fondle you.” What a weird choice of words!

M, love the incredible hulk reference in the game recap. Pretty fitting too.

I hope opposing pitchers tick Pu off more often. That was fun.

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