I don’t believe it. Someone with credentials more impressive than the Matoon Penny Saver’s former delivery boy has dared challenge The Best Baseball Fans In America.  From the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz.

Some Cardinals fans must be getting spoiled or bored or frustrated over higher ticket prices, because the criticism of Pujols in this town over the past several days was simply irrational.

First, Pujols drew heat after mildly chastising fans for booing slumping right fielder Juan Encarnacion. Well, this is what strong leaders do: They sense a teammate needs a boost, they stand up on his behalf, offer support and try to raise the spirit of a demoralized friend. If you want Pujols to be what he is – a great leader – fine. But that leadership isn’t a part-time job. Leadership skills aren’t applied only in positive situations.

Even more absurd were the rips on Pujols because he had the audacity to flip his bat after homering off Pittsburgh’s Oliver Perez on Tuesday night. The Cardinals trailed 8-1 before Pujols went deep, and apparently some fans and media believe he should have gone into the lifeless robot mode after homering for the fourth game in a row.

Pujols is the best player in the game and a relentless competitor. That hunger is a big part of what makes him special. He is always amped on the field, no matter the situation. It’s difficult for Pujols to turn it off. And when a high-strung pitcher like Perez gets fired up on the mound when he gets Pujols out, then Pujols will be just as cranked up when he wins the next battle against that pitcher.

Let me see if I understand: Fans are booing Encarnacion, in part, because they don’t believe he shows enough emotion. But they dog Pujols because he’s too animated after homering?

Pujols (shown above, getting ready to Cadillac, jitterbug, body-pop or some other act of exhbitionism guaranteed to enrage Cardinals fans) hit his MLB-leading 11th home run in last night’s 9-3 win over the Cubs.

There’s no score in today’s game between St. Louis and Chicago after two innings. I know it’s still early, but the concept of a Glendon Rusch/Sidney Ponson pitching duel is just a little too mind-blowing.

After being knocked around by David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez last night (prior to Josh Beckett’s meltdown), Toronto’s AJ Burnett has returned to the disabled list.  The Toronto Star’s Richard Griffin points out that Burnett is scheduled to earn slightly more than $1 million a month over the life of his 5 year deal.  Somewhere, Chan Ho Park is shaking his head and muttering something about fiscal responsibility.

Toronto and Roy Halladay hold an 8-1 advantage this afternoon over Boston after 6 innings, which probably means we’ll not get a chance to check out Jonathan Papelbon’s new mohawk.