….though when he wasn’t kicking trainers in the nuts, apparently he got along with most of them. From the SF Chronicle’s John Shea and Bruce Jenkins.
A.J. Pierzynski digs the White Sox a lot more than he dug the Giants.
“It’s totally different. It’s fun,” the Chicago catcher said on the eve of the World Series. “It’s enjoyable to come here every day and see these guys and be around them.”
A far different feeling than he had last year in San Francisco. Pierzynski admitted Friday that he was distracted on the field because of what happened off the field. He hit .181 over his final 35 games in 2004.
“Let me ask you,” he said. “When you take the field at home and the stadium’s booing you, and people are saying stuff behind your back, and every day you have to answer questions about it, would it affect you? It wears on you after awhile. I was doing pretty well, and in August or September it caught up to me. I was mentally exhausted having to defend myself every day I walked into the clubhouse.”
The off-field distractions started, he said, before the season. He went to arbitration, and the arbiter ruled in his favor (a $3.5 million salary) rather than the Giants’ ($2.25 million).
“Brian Sabean promised me if I went to arbitration, I wouldn’t be back the next year,” Pierzynski (above) said. “So I knew in January I wouldn’t be back. Makes you an easy target, I know that.”
One month into the season, teammates anonymously criticized Pierzynski in an Oakland Tribune report.
“Contrary to what people believe, I actually got along with a lot of the guys there,” Pierzynski said. “The one guy (he was referring to Brett Tomko, who was quoted in the story), I had a problem with. But other than that, I got along with a lot of guys great. It was a bad time for me because of what happened with (Tomko). The other guy (Matt Herges, who also was quoted) came up to me and apologized, and I respect him a whole lot more for doing that than (Tomko).”
In a recent interview on a national talk show, Pierzynski spoke of escaping from “Aloucatraz.” Asked Friday about his former manager, Felipe Alou, he said, “I didn’t have a problem with Felipe. He just never said anything. He was in his own little world.”
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, Pierzynski said, is a “total polar opposite. Ozzie’s in here every day and easy to talk to. He rags on you when you do something stupid, and you can rag on him. It’s a good relationship with all the players. He tells you where you stand. That’s the biggest thing. You don’t want someone who tells the media. Tell me to my face, and we’ll work on it.”