The season's not even two weeks old and the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals are already fighting with each other and not for the National League Central title. The latest exchange nearly came to blows Wednesday at Minute Maid Park (formerly Enron Field) when St. Louis' Albert Pujols and Houston's Brandon Backe had a heated exchange as the Astros left the field after batting practice on Wednesday. The feud actually began Tuesday night when Pujols slid into Astros catcher J.R. Towles in the eighth inning of the Cardinals' 5-3 win over the Astros on Tuesday. Towles said Pujols called the clubhouse after the Tuesday game last night to apologize for the way he slid into home plate.

Towles said he thought Pujols slid into him instead of sliding into the plate, but that he accepted his apology and "it was over"... or so we thought. KTRK-TV 13, the ABC affliate in Houston, aired the two men verbally sparring at each other like Ali and Fraiser in the 70s before Astros manager Cecil Cooper pulled the righty out of harm's way. The exchange lasted a few minutes and the video can be seen on their website. 

Pujols told the media that he wouldn't discuss it in detail, but said: "he (Backe) had a problem with me calling over there." You guys don't need to make this bigger than it is," an obviously annoyed Pujols said before walking off. Backe, acting like a dog with a bone, had plenty to say about it though.

"I felt violated," Backe said. "I felt like he confronted me at a wrong time. I don't think it was very professional. It's apparent that we don't like each other," he said. "That's OK. There's plenty of other people I don't like in this game. It doesn't matter. The competition between he and I just escalated."

You don't like each other? DUH!!!!!!! You're in the same damned division, SFB! Backe's got a hell of a lot of room to talk, considering that Senor Pujols has the one thing that he doesn't: A World Series ring. If I were you, I would be less worried about what happened on the field the day before and worry about winning some ball games. Let's say Albert cleans your clock. Considering you're 6-0 and 195 and he's 6-3 and 230, it wouldn't be a fair fight. He would probably land two punches before you could get one in. And if you do try to punch him, take the advice that Kevin Costner gave Tim Robbins in "Bull Durham": "Don't use your pitching hand!"  

Win a World Series and THEN you can talk!

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