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A.J. Pierzynski is baseball’s meanest player

Sep 14, 2011, 4:00 PM EDT


Sports Illustrated polls major leaguers about a number of things throughout the year. Or else it polls them once and then releases the results in drips and drabs throughout the year.  Today’s drip/drab:  “Baseball’s Meanest Players.”

Problem: it doesn’t really list a criteria.  Which matters here, because “meanest” could be the most personally unpleasant. It could also have some mix of hard-nosed competitiveness to it, which is at least in part admirable.  Of course, since they have A.J. Pierzynski number one — and since he’s often talked about like he’s a grade-A jerk — I tend to think it leans more toward the former

Anyway, here’s the post.  Sadly, it is a slide show.  For those of you with the good sense to stay away from web slides shows, I’ll tell you that Chase Utley is number two, followed by Milton Bradley, Carlos Zambrano and Vicente Padilla.

OK, wait a minute. Now I’m certain that it’s just a list of jerks, because those last three are universally despised.  Which makes me wonder how Utley makes that list, because you rarely hear him talked about in the same way those other guys are.

A-Rod, Chris Carpenter and … wait for it … Albert Pujols come next.  I apologize Brewers fans. Seems that you’re not the only ones on the planet who think Pujols is a jerk.  Two-hundred and fifteen major league baseball players agree.  Of course, don’t get too smug because he’s followed on the list by Nyjer Morgan. And yes, there are Red Sox, another Yankee and another Brewer in the top 15.

No Braves of course. Everyone loves Braves.

  1. jackkoho - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    I know I’m going to get a ton of thumbs down for this, and I’m a white sox fan, I admit, but I never understood why everyone hated AJ so much. It all seemed to stem from him taking first base on that dropped third strike in the WS. Which was just a smart play IMO.

    • kopy - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:15 PM

      He’s incredibly competitive. He’s “that guy” from your gym class that tried so hard that it made the activity not fun anymore. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with trying too hard in MLB, but that’s the personality he has. As a Twins fan it’s easy to see the contrast (I liked him when he was here), but when he’s not on your side, he’s a pain in the ass.

      • sknut - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:18 PM

        I couldn’t agree more as a Twins fan and looking at the current collection he would be a welcome personality for that very reason.

        Call me naive but I had no idea Utley was that mean or had that reputation among his peers.

    • adenzeno - Sep 14, 2011 at 6:50 PM

      The time he kneed a SF reporter in the balls after the reporter asked him a question might qualify him for this award…

    • dlevalley - Sep 14, 2011 at 6:51 PM

      He kneed the Giant’s trainer in the crotch in the middle of the game.

      Also, when he was with the Giants, he refused to prep with pitchers before games… it got to the point where he would get in fights with Righetti, and he wouldn’t even speak to some of the pitchers. Brett Tomko (I’m pretty sure it was him, I could be mistaken) even came out at the end of the year and said that A.J. wouldn’t even speak to most the pitchers after the all-star break.

      I know a lot of people (Giants fans) were pissed at him because of what Sabean gave up (Nathan and Liriano) but there was a story every few weeks or so that season about how big a prick he was.

      And that was a team that pretty easily put up with Bonds.

  2. The Baseball Idiot - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    I’m surprised Tony LaRussa and Joe West didn’t make the list.

    I know they’re not players, who can resist calling them names even when they aren’t really part of the discussion?

  3. cur68 - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    No Blue Jays. That’s what matters.

    Tex @ # 15? WTF?

    • aleskel - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:32 PM

      I’m not too surprised, really. Tex complains to umps about ball/strike calls he doesn’t like a lot. He also jaws at baserunners who do something he doesn’t like (running to first inside the baseline, for example)

      • cur68 - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:38 PM

        Which describes the behavior of 90% of ballplayers at the plate and 90% of those who play 1st I bet. You sure this isn’t some Yankee hating going on?

  4. mercyflush - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    So… Chase Utley is ranked *ahead* of Milton Bradley?

    I’m thinking there’s something invalid in this poll. Will Chase sacrifice his body to break up a double play, or truck a catcher on a play at the plate? Absolutely. Will he run to the stands and try to get into a physical altercation with a fan, or take a baseball bat and destroy a gatorade cooler? Um, no.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:17 PM

      It is pretty clear to be that the players are just jealous of the super awesomeness that is Chase Utley. It is the only conceivable explanation, no?

      • Utley's Hair - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:58 PM

        Mike Pelfrey joined forces with the Dwarves to stuff the ballot box

  5. paperlions - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    ARod is “mean”? He’s closer to the mean than being mean.

    Narcissistic, vain, fake, etc., sure….but….mean? I don’t see it.

    • cur68 - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:21 PM

      Wait for it, wait for it….

    • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:29 PM

      Leave A-Rod alone!!!

      • bigdicktater - Sep 14, 2011 at 8:30 PM

        …..and there it is.

  6. frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    Guillermo Mota didn’t make the list? Strange.

    And AJ & Utley must be grade A a**holes with all his peers to keep Bradley out of the top spot…

  7. Gobias Industries - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    Mike Cameron’s flight attendant demands a recount.

  8. baseballisboring - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    Hm, I’m not sure if this is really supposed to be “meanest player” or “least likable player” or something to that effect. Only a few guys on this list have reputations as being bad guys, the rest basically are emotional types who might throw a bat or a helmet, but have no real reputation for being “mean”. Not that I know any of them personally but…my friend’s sister worked for the Red Sox and told me Youk was the nicest guy in the locker room, and Pedroia was the real doucher of the bunch.

    • baseballisboring - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:41 PM

      If I had to guess, I would think the reporter posed this questin differently when he or she asked it, then changed it to “meanest” player to try to kick up shit, cause really…Utley, Pujols, Teixeira? How did no one realize they were bad guys before? You just don’t read about it.

  9. somekat - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Chase Utley, and he was by far, the nicest professional athlete I’ve ever meant (the line of work I’m in, I run in them rather regularly), so I’m not sure what is going on with this list.

    Ryan Madsen on the other hand………….

    • fearlessleader - Sep 14, 2011 at 7:49 PM

      Ryan Madson and I ended up on the same cruise ship a couple years back, and he was absolutely charming. After our initial meeting, he made a point of smiling and waving to me across crowded rooms for the duration of the trip, when he had absolutely nothing to gain or prove by doing so. That’s no comment on what he might be like on the field or in the clubhouse, of course, but he earned himself a fan in me.

      Chase Utley’s childhood babysitter is a friend, too, and I need to ask her what she has to say about all this. Personally, I’m just ticked to see Pujols on the list. This is the guy who spent 15 minutes comforting a fan with Down Syndrome when his dad fell onto the field and injured himself. Tough and rigid, maybe; mean—nope, not when it really matters.

  10. sfbookreviews - Sep 14, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    In other shocking news, the sun is really, really hot.

  11. eagles512 - Sep 14, 2011 at 10:19 PM

    Utley plays hard but is a class guy so my guess is this poll was a complete waste.

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