While zipping through the southern states this evening courtesy of that econo lodge in the sky, JetBlue (product placement on CSTB is available, btw) I happened to catch the video of the AJ Pierzynski / Michael Barrett fight and the home plate collison that provoked it.

1) Pierzynski might be one of the more annoying public figures not named Josh Beckett, but his take-out of Barrett was totally legit. The Cubs’ receiver didn’t have the ball, but so what? Barrett was blocking the plate — that’s his right. Just as Pierzynski can knock him into the 5th row, if need be.

2) Barrett might be a tough guy when sucker punching a rival catcher, but let’s see what he looks like after going a few rounds with Tommy Hilfiger.

3) I’ve seen comments from Barrett afterwards, and to his credit, he seems a little embarrassed. It was a bang-bang play ; Barrett’s was an emotional reaction and if he realizes he acted like a schmuck, all the better.

With the Marlins’ 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay this evening, the Fish have now lost 4 games in a row in which they blew a 9th inning lead. All of a sudden, Billy Wagner as a closer doesn’t sound nearly as awful.

Jeff Brantley was howling over Billy Wagner being used in a non save situation (4 run lead in the bottom of the 9th) today compared to Duaner Sanchez going two innings (funnily enough, an opinion echoed by a cab driver I had earlier today — one whose hair cut wasn’t nearly as terrifying as Brantley).

Though I do think Sanchez could’ve at least begun the 9th, I’m not sure I understand the logic behind claiming Wagner is a bigger risk with a 4 run lead than he might be with a smaller margin for error. “With a 4 run lead, he loses his concentration,” argued Brantley. “Willie Randolph should know better.”

It wasn’t a 4 run lead when Wagner walked the oh-so-dangerous Kelly Stinnett nor when he hit Bernie Williams with the first pitch of the at bat. Whether Wagner’s problem is one of concentration, control or perhaps the physical issue that Will Carroll raised a few weeks ago, I can only speculate. But I’m not convinced his performance is so greatly influenced by the spot in which he’s utilized.

Amazing to see Josh Beckett go deep in Philly tonight. Apparently, those new bats from Fisher-Price are the shit.

The strangely subdued Sultan marked his post-714 comments by wishing the media hordes would now start hanging all over Albert Pujols. Whether that was a meant as simple acknowledgement that the current version of The Game’s Most Dangerous Hitter has a legit shot at 73 (he hit number 21 today against the Royals) or rather an inference that Pujols ought to be….investigated? tested more often? Given a self-serving surreality show on the Deuce?….I can only wonder.

Atlanta’s Bryan McCann took a bit of a hit from the D-Backs’ Eric Brynes tonight in a home plate collision — not as brutal as the Pierzynski/Barrett clash — and appears to have twisted his knee, badly.

When discussing the Mets’ pitching needs late last night with a colleague, the name of the recently demoted Kyle Lohse came up. Peter Gammons’ Friday column was a reminder that Lohse is owed another $3.85 million, so whatever I said yesterday, never mind.

Another possibility could be Jeff Weaver, in the middle of a horrible year in Anaheim. Of course, I have no reason to believe that the elder Weavie Stonder would be any better a solution than what we saw from Lima Time. I’m just wondering if there’s a way to take his arm and attach it to someone else’s brain.