Well, Michael Barrett over the weekend sucker punched AJ Pierzynski in the face, uniting the whole Cubs team and completely turning our season around. Right?
Not so much. It was an overreaction on Barrett’s part, and he should clearly be suspended, thereby removing one of the only solid hitters on the Cubs and replacing him with a guy who bats about half of what he weighs (Henry Blanco for those following at home). It’s not looking good.
However, one quick thing I do want to say from the fight. I will not defend Barrett, as it was a dumb move, and he admitted that. But AJ Pierzynski is a dickweed, okay. I don’t think he should have been thrown out of the game (but I can understand why the umps did – to calm the situation) and he should not be suspended nor fined, but he’s still a dickweed. Once again, I’m not saying Barrett was right, but I’ve heard a whole lot of defending Pierzynski and his character, and how the Cubs are clearly attacking him. He has a reputation for a reason. Just like Zambrano has a reputation for losing his temper (because he does!). So everyone, stop trying to stick up for AJ and say he doesn’t “mean to instigate” because he does. He’s the Rasheed Wallace of baseball.
That’s just my feeling, and it has nothing to do with the fact that he’s on the White Sox (I actually like the White Sox). And I’ve grown increasingly jealous as I watch my beloved Cubs fall more and more apart. Every time I think maybe we’ll break out of this funk (for example, we come back to beat the defending champion White Sox), we just don’t (only to get whipped by the ridiculously bad Marlins the next day). I just don’t even know what to say anymore. Bad fundamentals, bad pitching, bad hitting, bad coaching. I know it’s still early and there’s a vague possibility that a miracle could happen and we could turn it around, but I don’t know when I’ve seen a team this bad completely turn it around.
Hopefully it’ll just teach Hendry some valuable lessons for the offseason. Such as, pick up free agents who are getting to the top of their game, not ones who are declining that you hope can be back to the form they were three years ago. Pierre, Jones, Burnitz, Nomar (though I liked the move at the time), Wade Miller (we’ll see if this pans out yet), Scott Williamson, Neifi Perez (I can’t stress this one enough). Don’t let this list get any bigger.
6 thoughts on “Boxing Match”
Hey now – chill with the hatin’ on Sheed. (heh)
You can tentatively remove Nomar from your list. At the beginning of the season I would have agreed with you, but it seems he has rediscovered himself out here in LA. Of course, he is still always an awkward swing away from tearing a hammy…
As for AJ’s instigation – nearly everyone these days does it. Posing after a home run, yelling and fist pumping on the mound, talking crap. AJ’s just really good at it. Anyway, I think everyone just needs to lighten up and grow some thicker skin. (Speaking of, ‘d you hear where Griffey flew off the handle at someone suggesting he might need to move to LF or 1B? Said he had to go to the grocery store and deal with that sort of comment… hehe…)
I’m still actually waiting for someone to give a legitimate example of how Pierzynski is a total dickweed. People mention the dropped third strike play or the phantom tag play against the Angels last year in the playoffs, but those were just heads up plays where he thought he was doing what’s right. He plays his ass off on the field, and he talks trash behind the plate. What catcher doesn’t do that? For all these “AJ is out of control” and “AJ had it coming” comments, I have yet to hear one example of him doing something on the playing field that proves he is a hothead player who instigates fights. He hasn’t started two brawls with the same team by jawing in Roy Oswalt’s face, nor has he gotten in the face of an opposing base runner who was crossing the plate like Barrett did with Dave Roberts a few weeks ago.
When Pierzynski was with the Giants, someone there called him a clubhouse cancer. Not a shock really when you consider all the tight wad old farts who were on that roster who wouldn’t be able to handle having a firey young talker in the same room with them. However, the media seems to have stretched this into saying he’s always been labeled a clubhouse cancer–they’ve said that that’s why Minnesota traded him to SF. No, the reason they traded him was because he was arbitration eligible and they had Joe Mauer ready to come up to the big leagues. SF offered them Joe Nathan (now their closer) and Francisco Liriano (possibly the best young lefty pitcher in the game right now) for AJ, so how could they turn that down? SF wouldn’t have offered them that much if they thought he was a clubhouse cancer in Minnesota. His Twins teammates loved him back then, because he fit in exactly with how they played the game. They played hard and determined, exactly the opposite of the complacent Sox of those same years, and that’s why the Sox just couldn’t beat the Twins.
So what does this all add up to. Sure, AJ’s talk pisses the other team off, his hard play pisses the other team off, and his outspoken nature pisses the other team off. I guess this all makes perfect sense though. I defend him because he’s on “my” team, and I love seeing the energy and grittyness that he gives to the Sox. Others hate him because he doesn’t play for their teams, and they just see him as a mouthy pain in the ass. He’s the player you love to play with and hate to play against. He helps his team win games by playing hard, playing smart, and getting under the skin of his opponents just enough to make them do something stupid. There’s no rule against a little trash talking, but I think there are rules about beanballs, punches, and brawls.
Andrew, I totally agree with you, and I think you just expressed why he’s a dickweed. He knows how to get under the other team’s skin. Now don’t put words in my mouth, I never said he breaks the rules or that what he does is wrong. I also said he shouldn’t have been ejected, and that he shouldn’t be suspended nor fined, though I can kind of understand what they did fine him for. (I also never said that Barrett wasn’t a dickweed, by the way) And you’re right that he is a very hard nosed player that other teams love to have on their team and hate to play against. ie Rasheed Wallace
But does he need to slap the plate when he bowls over Barrett? Does he need to incite the crowd? Does he need to hit his chest and point to the heavens when he hits a home run off Zambrano (which I’ve never seen him do)? No. Does it make him a rulebreaker? No, it just makes him a dickweed.
I never said what he did against the Angels when he ran to first was a dickweed move, I thought it was brilliant, and I don’t know why people would use that as an explanation of how big a jerk he is. That doesn’t make any sense.
And Peter, of course Nomar’s doing well. He’s not on the Cubs anymore. But in regards to AJ, were you saying I need to grow some thicker skin? Or players around the league do? I don’t mind AJ, but I’m not going to pretend like he’s not a dickweed. That’s the only point I’m making. Maybe I should make a “definition of dickweed” post or something.
Morgan – I was referring to Barrett, not you, when I talked about growing thicker skin. Not just Barrett, but all of the prima donna ballplayers today that go up there in roboarmor while standing atop the plate and STILL complain when they’re hit. Or the ballplayers that don’t have ANY problem with reporters-as-non-players when they’re writing good things… but when they’re writing BAD things…
Case in point: Manny Ramirez a few years ago when he was “buzzed” by the Yankees pitcher (Clemens?). (This eventually led to the infamous Pedro v. Zimmer fiasco, if that jogs your memory.) The pitch was NOWHERE NEAR Manny’s head, but he flipped out. Or Sheffield taking that ‘roid-rage swing at a fan in the RF corner a year or two ago. Or anything else – players are just wound so freaking tight these days.
Peter, totally agree. Totally!