A.J. Pierzynski likes this baseball broadcasting stuff
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski is working for Fox as an analyst during the World Series between Texas and St. Louis, which begins Wednesday night. If you Google "A.J. Pierzynski" you find lists for "A.J. Pierzynski fight," and "A.J. Pierzynski jerk" and "A.J. Pierzynski meanest."
Maybe soon, A.J. Pierzynski, excellent broadcaster, will be a popular search term. Pierzynski, an Angels-killer in his day job as Chicago White Sox catcher, made baseball fans notice when he had an insightful discussion during the ALCS about how well Texas catcher (and former Angel) Mike Napoli blocked the plate in the series against Detroit, especially a play at home.
Pierzynski pointed out the way Napoli raised both legs up on that play, in contrast to San Francisco Giants catching star Buster Posey, who had broken a leg early in the season and missed most of this year while blocking the plate on a similar play.
"You take the blow, you roll with it, you get your feet out of the ground. That's the proper way to stay healthy and still get hit hard but you get up and walk away," Pierzynski said.
"He’s a natural," Goren said. "He has an opinion, he's efficient in his explanations. One of the things you like to feel you get from a broadcast is stuff you might not be aware of. And that great play at the plate by Napoli.... A.J. pointed out how Napoli didn’t plant his spikes, he softened up, so he wouldn’t be planted and take the hit and tear something. A.J. has a natural ability and a bit of a sense of humor. Even off the mike, during the postgame, he was saying he was amazed no one else talked about that play. He said [Angels manager] Mike Scioscia should be real proud because he taught Napoli the right way, the proper way, to stay healthy."
Well, Angels fans might also be less proud knowing Scioscia let Napoli go to Texas and play in the World Series.
Pierzynski said that other than being a pro wrestler (we think he was kidding about that), his post-baseball aspirations have been to make himself into a broadcaster. That yearning was nurtured on the not-so-highbrow and now gone "Best Damn Sports Show," which used to be on Fox Sports.
"You ask any athlete in the early 2000s," Pierzynski said, "he wanted to be on the 'Best Damn Sports Show.' They brought me out a couple of weeks, brought me to the studio, it was great. Growing up in this game, in the minor leagues then the major leagues, I was just always talking to people about the game. ... Once I get out of this game I want to stay around. To do that there's coaching, managing, and also TV and radio broadcasting."
-- Diane Pucin
Photo: Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, left, speaks with Detroit Tigers Manager Jim Leyland prior to the start of a game on Sept. 12. Credit: Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press