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The Orioles pursuit of A.J. Burnett in 2005: “no way we sign a guy with nipple rings”

Jan 30, 2014, 7:01 AM EDT

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Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun talks about the Orioles’ potential pursuit of free agent pitcher A.J. Burnett. In the process, he tells an amusing story about the last time the O’s had a chance to get Burnett. It was in 2005, when the Marlins were shopping him before he hit the free agent market. The O’s had a chance to get him and Mike Lowell for a package of prospects that, in hindsight, were no great shakes.

That didn’t happen, of course, as the O’s front office thought that, if Burnett wanted to pitch in Baltimore they could sign him that winter. That didn’t happen either, because he went to Toronto. But Conolly tells us that the O’s front office at that time wasn’t likely to go after Burnett anyway. Why?

. . .sources said Burnett, with his tattoos and body piercings, did not project the image that the Orioles wanted in one of their marquee players. Or, as one club official said to me at the time — and I think he was at least half-joking — “no way we sign a guy with nipple rings.”

Instead, the 2006 Orioles went to battle with respectable citizens in their rotation like Rodrigo Lopez, Kris Benson and Daniel Cabrera and allowed 899 runs. But at least there were no nipple rings involved.

Well, probably not. I’ve never seen Jeff Conine or Sam Perlozzo with their shirts off.

  1. watermelon1 - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:15 AM

    Well… That’s nice. Glad everyone knows now.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:51 AM


  2. Francisco (FC) - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:27 AM

    File this under “The More You Know”

  3. themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:29 AM

    So what? Nipple rings aren’t the ‘right way’ to pierce oneself? All these subtleties. I’m having trouble keeping up. Unwritten rules are really hard to keep track of. Can the league petition Brian McCann or some other expert in baseball decorum to spell all this stuff out? He needs to shoot a public service video so we know who to hate on. This way we know the rules, their un-writteniness is preserved and I can stop piercing myself the wrong way.

  4. nbjays - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    OMG! Did Brian Cashman and the clean-cut Yankees know they were signing a player with nipple rings? The mind boggles.

    • paperlions - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:46 AM

      Whenever someone uses the phrase “the mind boggles” (which I LOVE), I always get the image of the little domed thing from the game boggle, with a brain bouncing around inside…it usually gives me a slight headache and makes me a little dizzy, it’s worth it.

      • gibbyfan - Jan 30, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        Used to love that game –boggle- had totally forgotten about……..thanks for the reminder–have to check to see if there’s an internet version

    • tfbuckfutter - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:41 AM

      Of course they did.

      Mustaches. Nipple rings. Jason Giambi’s biker persona.

      I bet Steinbrenner had a huge collection of Tom of Finland’s work.

  5. joeflaccosunibrow - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:36 AM

    So what you’re saying is that we’ve lowered our standards?

    What’s next?

    Legalizing Marijuana?

    Oh wait…

  6. proudlycanadian - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:56 AM

    Kris Benson may have been a respectable citizen, but Anna had an interesting history.

    • American of African Descent - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      That’s why the Mets traded her to Baltimore.

      • ptfu - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:27 PM

        A player to be named later?

  7. sleepyirv - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:01 AM

    An organization must have a code.

    • Alex K - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:40 AM


    • fanofevilempire - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:55 AM

      a code about nipple rings, do the O’s play without Jerseys?

      • nbjays - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:13 PM

        Shirts and skins during Spring Training?

    • scruffmagee - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      It’s all in the game yo, all in the game

  8. rbj1 - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:41 AM

    OK, as someone who was very frustrated when AJ pitched in pinstripes, I had no idea he had nipple rings. And it’s something I wish I didn’t know.

    • proudlycanadian - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:50 AM

      He can be a very frustrating pitcher. He can dominate for a few innings, then have a terrible inning followed by a couple more excellent innings. Still, he is the best free agent pitcher out there. I would welcome him back in Toronto on a 1 year contract.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:12 AM

        only part I disagree with you on that is the 1 year deal, go for a 3 year deal!! Yea bring him back!!

      • stlouis1baseball - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:12 PM

        You would take AJ Burnett over Bronson Arroyo?

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:25 PM


    • blzr409 - Jan 30, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      He actually doesn’t, but apparently he did at one point during his time with the Marlins. Someone brought it up during a Q&A while he was with the Pirates and he said something like “The first time I attempted a head first slide I realized they were a huge mistake.”

      • nbjays - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:14 PM

        WTF is a pitcher doing sliding head (and hands) first?

  9. Jason @ IIATMS - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    Stylin’ and profilin’, that’s the Orioles way.

    Or “pending physical” is a euphamism for “wait, Peter Angelos squashed the deal”

  10. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    Now we know what showed up in Balfour’s physical…

    • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      AJ Burnett was hanging from his nipples?

  11. tcostant - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    At least for a moment I got to remember the 2006 verison of Ana Benson, saw some reality show that her in it last year. And the mighty have fallen.

  12. historiophiliac - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    I did not need to know that. Waaaaay too much information.

  13. southpaw2k - Jan 30, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    Now I wanna know if Grant Balfour has nipple rings….

  14. pbastille - Jan 30, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    I’m guessing those nipple rings will still be a problem. They’ve been known to get infected.

  15. tysonpunchinguterus - Jan 30, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    Oddly enough, they require all players to get a Prince Albert.

  16. jrocknstuff - Jan 30, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    No, we can only have guys on the roster that respect the game of baseball, like Palmeiro and Tejada. Maybe Ponson and his multiple DUI’s! All good, but nipple rings? OH HELL NO

  17. yahmule - Jan 30, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    They had Sidney Ponson, for Pete’s sake.

  18. foreverchipper10 - Jan 30, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    And this is why A.J. always slides feet first.

  19. yordo - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Who sucks on his nipples? What’s the point in having them?

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