Sunday, May 21, 2006
A.J. Pierzynski's Reputation Explains Everything
The hockey game that broke out during Saturday's White Sox-Cubs game can be blamed on baserunner A.J. Pierzynski. It's one thing if Pierzynski merely barreled into Northside catcher Michael Barrett to score, a so-called "clean hit." But it's hardly plausible that Barrett then punched Pierzynski without considerable provocation. Pierzynski denies it, but those in the know realize the Southside catcher deliberately slammed his shoulder into Barrett after Pierzynski scored and the play ended. The truth can be found in Pierzynski's reputation as one of the dirtiest players in the majors, having cracked the top 10 most hated athletes list, according to a survey by GQ Magazine. According to confidential insider interviews conducted by the publication, opponents and even teammates have little good to say about Pierzynski, describing him as unprofessional, immature, arrogant, obnoxious and aloof, with little sense of etiquette. "He'll step on your foot at first base, " explained one player, " and then say (sarcastically), 'Man, I didn't mean that.' " During spring training with the Giants in '04, a pitch hit Pierzynski between the legs. When trainer Stan Conte asked him how he felt, Pierzynski replied, "Like this," and viciously kicked Conte in the genitals. Pierzynski was so unpopular in the clubhouse when he played in Minnesota and San Francisco that some of his teammates all but threw a party when he left.