Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Albert Pujols and Oliver Perez are not friends

Remember the first time Albert Pujols took Oliver Perez deep this year in Pittsburgh? Pujols tossed his bat straight up in the air like he was David Ortiz or something, an act pretty out of character for the very classy Pujols. After taking Perez deep again yesterday, Pujols explained (saw this mentioned over at Romo, found the link via a diary at the Cards blog Viva El Birdos):

If you look at it, he struck me out last year and he did all his dancing and all that stuff, and I remembered that. That's what happened in Pittsburgh. I hit that ground ball back at him [in the first inning in Pittsburgh] and he did his little dance again, and I got really upset.

I went to the video room and I told my guy Chad, 'I'm going to hit the next ball and I'm going to hit it a long way. But don't look at the ball. Look at where the bat is going to land.' Because I respect this game just like everybody else. And when I see a guy like that, with the talent that he has, disrespecting the game -- that might be the way that he pitches, but I don't care... I probably shouldn't have taken it to that level, where I threw my bat like that. But at that moment I was pretty [angry].

Ouch. Granted, I think this is a case of two guys that are very passionate at what they do, and they go about it in slightly different ways. Still, pissing off Albert Pujols was not a good idea, as he's flat out owned Perez this year. Of course the Oliver Perez he owns is a stunted shadow of the Oliver Perez that once existed. Last night Ollie only cleared 90 on the TV gun once or twice (the TV crew said the ballpark gun was about 3 mph faster than the TV gun, but ballpark guns are often padded). In 2004, Ollie would've come firing at Pujols with some pure heat for the bat flip, he would've brushed him back, then tried to throw the ball by him. The thing is, that Oliver Perez might have succeeded. Last night he threw a pitch he described as "a little cutter that was supposed to be outside and it was in the middle." There is something wrong with Oliver Perez. That is not the Oliver Perez I know, nor is it one I want to know. We seriously need to figure out what's wrong with this guy.