Finally, some shade for A.J. Pierzynski, long-reputed to be the most-hated player in Major League Baseball: It's A-Rod's turn now.
Even though he's sitting out the 2014 season because of his Biogenesis suspension, slugger Alex Rodriguez has eclipsed Pierzynski as the least-liked guy in MLB. At least that's Pierzynski's view, judging by an interview with columnist Dan Shaughnessy in the Boston Globe:
According to a 2012 Men’s Journal poll, Pierzynski is the Most Hated Player in Baseball.
“I just laugh at it,’’ he said. “I think it’s cool. I’ve won it a bunch of years in a row. They just change the title around. They change a couple of words.’’
True. In various other polls, Pierzynski has been cited as “Player You Would Most Like To See Beaned” and “Meanest Player’’ in baseball.
“I think I’ve won it before so it’s just an easy answer,’’ he added. “But I think A-Rod took over for me this year.’’
Is there a trophy that comes with the coveted “most hated” distinction — something that gets passed along from year to year like the Stanley Cup?
“No,’’ said Pierzynski. “You just get awkward questions by media people every day.’’
Awkward, my Aunt Fannie. Pierzynski has loved the attention, he's sought it, he's cultivated his image to reflect it. He even plays into it on the baseball field. If he could bring a folding chair onto the field and whack somebody with it, like a pro wrestler, he would. He's a professional irritant, as Shaughnessy notes Tom Verducci having said. Pierzynski is an adult Dennis the Menace, but with a mean streak.
And yet, it does ring true that A-Rod is more hated now. Heck, the some of his colleagues practically expressed how much they wanted to beat him up after Rodriguez sued the players union. Remember when Michael Barrett actually did punch Pierzynski in the face? He was living many an opponent's and fan's dream. Still, with A-Rod being sidelined for the season, Pierzynski still might be the most hated active player in the majors. He's still got that going for him, which is nice.
Overall, Shaughnessy's column is entertaining. He compares Pierzynski to Danny Ainge, which really is sort of perfect — even though everything doesn't have to do with Boston, you know? But it's also dead-on. He's the guy you least want to lose to.
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