Pierzynski is the guy that all players love to hate, unless you are on his team. He is the hard-nosed, arrogant, and boisterous starting catcher for the Sox who always finds himself amid controversy. Whether it is purposely sliding in spikes-up on the base paths, trash-talking during games, or getting punched in the face by opposing players, Pierzynski has built quite the reputation for himself.
Major Leaguers every year vote for the most hated player in the Majors, and A.J. is always near the top of the list. This year was no different when on June 13th he won the award. But A.J. doesn’t care what people think of him, he continues to play the game the same way, and continually voices his opinions to the media. After the All-Star lineup was announced yesterday, Pierzynski was left off the roster even though he leads all catchers in the AL in homers, RBI’s, and is second behind Joe Mauer in batting average. Mike Napoli of the Rangers was voted to start the game and the AL Manager Ron Washington picked Mauer and Baltimore’s Matt Wieters as the back-ups.
When asked after the roster was released if Ron Washington had any regrets he said that he felt bad about leaving Pierzynski off the roster. In response to Washington’s comments, Pierzynski said to reporters that “If Washington felt that bad he would have put me on the team. He had an opportunity to and he didn’t do it. Obviously, he can feel as bad as he wants, but he didn’t feel that bad.” Then Pierzynski went on to bad mouth the starting catcher Napoli saying that he wasn’t that good of a hitter batting .230 and wasn’t deserving of making the team.
A.J. does have a point that he should be on the All-Star game, especially while looking at the numbers. Napoli got voted in by the fans, and Washington was forced to take Mauer on the team because the Twins did not have a representative in the game. That left the last catcher’s spot open between Wieters and Pierzynski, and A.J.’s numbers are better in every conceivable offensive category. Baltimore already had their representative in outfielder Adam Jones, so Pierzynski really deserved the spot over Wieters. One has to think that A.J.’s unlikability kept him off the roster because his personal batting and fielding stats are better than the Baltimore catcher, who no one has ever heard of. He is more deserving of the All-Star game, but it is a popularity contest unfortunately and Pierzynski will never win that game.