Saturday, April 29, 2006

Pierzynski Chronicles: The Next Chapter in a Series of Unfortunate Events

Since the Pierzynski trade will probably go down as the worst trade ever by Brian Sabean (though if you bemoan this trade then you must give him credit for acquiring Jeff Kent, Robb Nen and Jason Schmidt for essentially just one good, but aging and sharply declining, star player and a cast of lesser prospects), Giants fans have a love/hate (mainly hate) dynamic regarding A.J. Pierzynski.

Where I stand is that I loved the trade when it was made: All-Star catcher who hit well and played good defense for a nice reliever who had a mental breakdown during the playoffs, a very good prospect who was injured for like 2-3 straight years for a number of reasons, and a good prospect who was coming off a down year. Unfortunately his time here went so badly that he got called a cancer by an anonymous weasel, er, pitcher (subsequently identified as Brett Tomko - way to build team spirit there!) but he really added to our offense, especially since he is a left-handed hitter and our team was top heavy with right handed hitters better off platooning plus he generated most of his offensive value not via the homerun, which our lovely park is kryptonite to left-handed hitters.

And obviously, the subsequent recasting of the nice reliever as a deadly closer, the miraculous healing of the very good prospect such that he is rated ahead of Matt Cain on many prospect lists, and the continued good work of the last prospect just made things a bit more worse for Giants fans (OK, a gi-normously worse).

So, as I wander down the twi-light path to the intersection of woulda, coulda, shoulda and wish it could be otherwise, I thought it would be sado-masochistic, er, interesting to chronicle some of the stories that make Giants fan wonder, "What the hell was Brian Sabean thinking when he made the trade?!?"

First Installment: Nut Job

The first great tale to come out about Pierzynski soon after the Giants jettisoned his ass out of here for nothing (zero, zilch, nada, doughnut hole, ought) was the one about his reaction to a question by Nick Conte, the Giants head trainer - which I'll just say here that it was a knee-jerk reaction: the jerk (A.J.) kneed Conte in the family jewels after Pierzynski took a ball into his balls (can't remember if it was a foul tip or not - the baseball, that is). This, of course, Pierzynski denied by stating that if something like that really happened, it would have been all over the news, but what I found interesting is that Conte never bothered to rebut that story either or to back up Pierzynski in any way, so even if the story wasn't true, Pierzynski must have really pissed off Conte enough with his behavior that Conte would allow Pierzynski to twist in the wind with this on his head.

Next Chapter: Stoolpigeon Tattletale

Well, maybe it is not exactly the next chapter - I don't obsessively go looking for stories of Pierzynski gone bad - but I recently read another good story about Pierzynski's bad boy ways, which again, I wouldn't be surprised if someone will repeat Tomko's anonymous phrase once more: "cancer". After the owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, who is now obviously mad with power after the Chicago White Sox won the World Series for the first time (yes, he hit like a devil and threw like the wind in the playoffs), like almost forever, ordered A.J. Pierzynski and another player to get haircuts (do owners still really do such caveman tactics?), he snitched on other violators of this edict, Freddy Garcia and Neal Cotts, which resulted in the GM posting on the clubhouse blackboard, "Freddy and Neal, A.J. threw you under the bus - you two must also get a haircut. KW" KW must be loving that big contract he just gave A.J. this past off-season, Reinsdorf too.

This was all marvelously chronicled in the San Francisco Chronicle in their Sunday, April 23, 2006 edition of their Sporting Green (which was once printed on green paper, hence the name; they also have the pink section as well which carries their entertainment news). And the story above about the kneejerk incident was also from the Chronicle, retold from my memory (mainly because it was so memorable), not sure exactly when it was published other than it was written in the offseason after A.J. was released, I think in Spring Training, and I think it was Bruce Jenkins who relayed this wondrous happy-happy, bring a tear to your eye, story.

Like I wrote, I am not actively looking for these incidents but I have a feeling this could become a tale of two nuts, er, one nut that will turn into a series of unfortunate incidents chronicled here, forthwith, for your dining (or otherwise: vomitorium?) pleasure.

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