Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

A.J. vs. San Francisco

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ANAHEIM, Calif. – White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski sat down and talked with the Chicago beat writers on Thursday about his return to San Francisco for this weekend’s three-game series.
What you need to know is Pierzynski’s one-year there was a miserable one, and that will be detailed in the main story. Here’s what didn’t get in, however.

When did you know it wasn’t a good fit?

“The first time I met with the owner (Peter Magowan) and the general manager (Brian Sabean). We’re having a meeting, and the owner asked me if I knew how to play first base. I looked at him and said, ‘I played in the minor leagues.’ He said, ‘we like our players to be able to play more than one position, so you probably will get a lot of games at first base. That’s when I knew it was probably not going to work out there.”

What still ticks you off the most?

“Just a lot of the stories that came out weren’t true, more than anything. The story where I supposedly kicked the trainer in the nuts. I think if I would have done that in Scottsdale Stadium in front of 15,000 people, it would have come out before I was gone.
“The story about me playing cards and not going over the hitters is not true. I told them I’d be there in two minutes, and I came over there two minutes later.
“The story about me telling hitters what (pitches) were coming. Anyone who knows me or sees me at all knows I’m not ever going to do that. I’m the last (person) to ever do that. So just the fact no one wants to hear the real stories. They just want to hear about (stories) because it makes for better newspapers, it makes for better radio, better TV. There’s dissension.
“The other thing is that we had a good year when I was there.. We won 91 games and statistically, I had a good year. It just wasn’t meant to be and I knew that from the start.”

Did you ask for a trade?

“No, No. I never asked for a trade. You are where you are. And I was on a pretty good team. We were doing pretty well. You don’t want to leave a good team because who knows where you’re going to end up.”

Any satisfaction you won a ring immediately and their GM has run that that organization into the ground since you left – besides the Aaron Rowand signing of course?

“You get satisfaction from the fact that I won a World Series. Leaving there and coming here the next year, coming out of there where they said I didn’t know how to handle pitchers and to see the way our pitchers pitched the next year, especially in the playoffs was satisfying.
“I was in the World Series and I see Ned Colletti, their assistant GM (now with LA Dodgers) in the mall. He looks at me in Houston and said, ‘don’t blow it like we did.’ I said, ‘don’t worry, we won’t.’ That was kind of satisfying to see the look on his face. One of those things where it worked out great for me. It worked out great for the Twins. They made a great move to get rid of me and get the guys they got. It worked out perfect for everyone.’’

Well, almost everyone. Nice job, Sabean.

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AJ just needs to shut them up like he did in Anaheim with key hits.Fortunately AJ & Carlos are at least showing other sox how to hit.The others seem to be in a deep slumber. Carlos just has to learn to field his position. Swisher,Cabrera,Thome,Crede,Konerko & Uribe have under achieved big time. Dye looks like he may be waking up ,but has only 15 r.b.i.'s . Not good for a guy batting 5th or whatever position the Oz has put him in.

A.J. is a jackass and will always be one.

A.J. plays with intensity and he's hard-nosed. And fearless. And a good field general, even though he can't throw out most baserunners. Don't you want those qualities in a teammate - especially in a catcher? I am trying to think of another catcher I'd rather have than A.J., and the only name I can think of is Pudge.

What a great time for A.J. to be rolling into San Francisco - he went either 2 or 3 for 5 last night and is hitting better than almost every other WS player except Carlos.

Yes - he gets booed by Twins fans (the Angels fans don't like him either), and I hope he thinks of it as a badge of honor. I've seen him during BP with fans, and he's great with the kids. He's a good guy.

As a Giants fan, I hate Pierzynski. Not because he didn't know how to handle pitchers but because of his questionable character and because he was a jerk. When stories like this keep popping up about a guy, at least some of them have to be true. Somebody isn't sitting around and making this stuff up. He was not fan friendly, overly cocky and not a nice guy. He didn't hustle AT ALL and gave had a me first approach to the game which I cannot stand (for the record, I couldn't stand when Barry was doing it either, so don't come at me with that). What is wrong with the Giants asking him to play a little first base? Oh, and for the record, he played NO first base that season. While Pierzynski is a jerk, Sabean is still to blame for that mess. Still, we have every right to hate the guy. It is great for him to dispute all of these stories, but they are coming from somewhere. Where there is smoke, there is fire. Sox fans can have fun with him until he becomes disgruntled with his situation and starts causing problems. I will boo Pierzynski until my dying breath.

I think all the jealous little boys who have to live vicariously through REAL baseball players because they're losers and can't do it themselves, should keep their fat mouths shut! Am I a Sox fan? Sure, but I'm also a Twins fan, and a Yankees fan...I'm a BASEBALL fan!!! Let's just let the players do their job and enjoy the game as it unfolds, however that may be. It's a game, not a soap opera....DROP THE DRAMA, LADIES!!!! Oh and...PLAY BALL!!!!!

Cut AJ some slack! He's a nice Polish guy who went to a good Catholic high school in Orlando Florida!

AJ is the type of player each team would love to have & if opponents dislike him so what!He always seems to be in the middle of something that causes a game difference. Heard by many he is a jerk.Never met the guy so can't comment on that. One thing I do know AJ has come up with many key hits for sox ,Those game changing plays he's involved in come from a player who plays smart & hustles.Angel fans out here still cry about the playoffs of 05. Even thou AJ didn't do anything wrong but play smart & hustle. Sox clearly the better team in 05 regardless. Angel fans fail to say sox swept them in Anaheim.I love it when AJ gets booed. Because usually AJ performs better then!All can I say is scoreboard baby Sox won in 05 & hopefully in 08 we can get on a run to a repeat!

It's obvious that S.F. Giants fans are not very bright.
AJ has a World Series ring and was a smart heads up catcher and thinker for the 2005 White Sox. How many Giants have been to the playoffs let alone the World Series? How many have the ring?

A.J. is a very good catcher. He is intense, he gets under the skin of other team players, he knows the game very well and he is great with kids at the ballpark. I have watched him with the crowds at the Cell and a few out of town games and he has a good time with opposing fans and especially kids. I was at Safeco for all three games and he was great with the fans.

OH!, he has a RING. Think of all those catchers for the North Side under achivers who were icons to all those fans, who don't have jobs. (they can go to games during the afternoons) They have a one hundred years of futility and at the end of the season it will be the begining of another 100 years of futility.

So, Thanks A.J for handling the pitchers and keeping everyone awake.

"When stories like this keep popping up about a guy, at least some of them have to be true."

They keep popping up? Not in Chicago they don't. They didn't in Minnesota either. People in LA don't like him, but that's because of his part in beating that team in the playoffs in '05. The stories are all from San Francisco, so maybe you should ask yourself why that is. Ozzie Guillen, in case you have been in a cave the past few years, isn't one to suffer in silence when a player acts out (ask Orlando Cabrera). He has said nothing but good things about AJ, so I'll take his word over the word of some whiners on the West Coast.

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