Flop Sweat: As Cardinals Are Pushed To The Brink, Giants Find New Villain In A.J. Pierzynski
Rick Chandler 04:26 pm, October 16th, 2014
For the record, the Giants didn't need additional reasons to hate A.J. Pierzynski. The Cardinals' reserve catcher is more despised in the Bay Area than people who don't recycle ... than the Los Angeles Dodgers ... than Crazy Crab. This glorious flop you see above has reminded people why he's not their cup of tea, and as they say, it's on. Every good story needs an antagonist, and the Giants have found theirs once again -- which seemingly is what they need when they face the Cardinals in the playoffs.
As you know, Pierzynski stepped in for Yadier Molina when the Cards' starter suffered an oblique injury in Game 2. What followed was the Pierzynski Hate & Loathing Festival in San Francisco, Oct. 14-15-16, 2014. (Limited tickets still available). SF hates Pierzynski with the heat of four hundred suns, and the origin of this is simple. After hitting .300 or above in four of the six seasons he played for the Minnesota Twins, in 2004 Pierzynski was dealt to the Giants for for three pitchers: Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser. It turned out to be one of the worst trades in the history of the Giants franchise, not only in a competitive sense, but because Pierzynski turned out to be a head case.
More than one Giants' teammate that season called him "a clubhouse cancer." When not making controversial comments or upbraiding his peers, he spent most of his time in front of his locker staring at his phone -- sometimes during games.
Much of the hatred for Pierzynski comes from stories of his bad behavior that he claims are just that — stories. Fans before the game regaled each other with the tales:
"Remember the time he kicked the trainer in the crotch?" (This one seems to be purely fiction, as Pierzynski and former Giants trainer Stan Conte have both denied it.)
"How about the time he told the ump to give him a new ball — one he could see?" (That one’s true. It got him ejected from a game.)
"Or what about how he used to flip off Giants fans when he played for the team?" (The jury’s out on that one.)
What's more important is that the Giants may use him for motivation. In the 2012 playoffs it was Matt Holliday that all Giants fans loved to hate. His hard slide (some say dirty) into Marco Scutaro at second base in Game 2 sparked San Francisco to victory, evening the series a 1-all. St. Louis would go on to take a 3-1 series lead before SF came back to win three straight and move to the World Series. Giants fan loathing for Holliday filled the air, and the airwaves, and they still boo him two years later.
Now we see this: Pierzynski appearing to flop like he got hit with the backswing during this Gregor Blanco at-bat in Game 4. Pierzynski got a healthy round of boos when he was introduced before the game -- God only knows how fans at AT&T Park will react during tonight's Game 5 pregame:
Game time: 5:07 p.m. (PST). TV: Fox Sports 1. Radio:ESPN Radio. Internet: FoxSportsGo.
LeBron would be proud.
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