Few players know how to get a reaction from peers, fans and even umpires, quite like Boston Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski. He's a classic pro wrestling-style villain. It's part of his schtick. He sure knows what buttons to push and when to push them to get under someone's skin. He's a master at it, but that isn't really surprising considering Pierzynski grew up watching men like "Nature Boy" Ric Flair and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper.
According to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince, Pierzynski's "heel" like tendencies haven't faded as he's grown older. In fact, during a game against the Cleveland Indians on June 4, they led directly to an ejection. He hurled a classic insult at an umpire and it's only now reaching the public, three weeks later, via Castrovince's story. At the time, it was reported as Pierzynski "arguing balls and strikes," but it turned out to be much funnier than that.
After Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera drew a walk, which Pierzynski obviously didn't agree with, he subtly jabbed home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott with an insult akin to Piper's dreaded double-eye poke.
Umpires aren't very receptive to vision jokes, so it's not surprising that Wolcott sold that one.
The funny thing is, if Pierzynski's "promo" — as it's called in wrestling — was aired to the viewing audience at home, he probably would have drawn a favorable reaction.
First and foremost, it was hilarious. Second, the umpires are the villains that are always plotting to ruin your team's season. Any dig at them works for every fanbase and every demographic.
Speaking of umpires, the Pierzynski story was a good hook, but Castrovince has a lot more in his column which discusses the rise of ejections in MLB this season despite the implementation of expanded video replay. About a month ago, we learned the number was up 22 percent. That didn't change much at all in June, and Castrovince take a little deeper look into what's causing the surprising spike. It's definitely worth a read.
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