MLB’s All-Annoying All-Stars
C: AJ Pierzynski
Sometimes, you just can’t find a guy to hate. And other times, AJ Pierzynski makes it real easy. An overall punk, he’s had multiple run ins with opposing players over the year, including his most infamous exchange—Michael Barrett. Whether you are angry at Pierzynski for trying to sell an umpire that something that didn’t happen actually did, or because he put ridiculous looking bleach-blonde highlights in his hair or because your team gave up Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser to get him, Pierzynski is universally unappealing.
1B: Kevin Youkilis
There’s a rumor going around that no one has ever thrown a called third strike to Kevin Youkilis—the umpire has always made a mistake and called a ball a strike. I can understand frustration over inconsistent umpiring, but repeated temper-tantrums are simply unacceptable from a grown man. Plus, I can’t tell if that’s his actual batting stance or if Terry Francona just sends him up to the plate whenever he notices Youkilis has to pee.
2B: Dustin Pedroia
Anyone that refers to their own offensive production as a “laser show” and then promptly posts a .240/.351/.332 line is pretty full of themselves. Dustin Pedroia isn’t a bad player and most of the times he’s pretty good. But I hate the way that people talk about how it’s as if he’s overcome such huge odds to make the Red Sox. He was a damn good college player and a very high draft selection. It’s not as if he went undrafted and sent in an audition tape to Theo Epstein himself. Also, Fenway Park drastically increases the perception of his ability. He has a career OPS+ of 112 at home and 88 on the road. The presence of the Green Monster allows him to turn routine flyballs into doubles and singles. 114 of his 176 career doubles have come at home (65%).
SS: Yunel Escobar
Ridiculous blonde highlights aside, Escobar was a whiny punk in his time in Atlanta and I assume he’s continued his unflattering ways north of the border. I’m also unsure as to why he feels the need to leap high in the air before each at bat, but it seems to me to be an unnecessary injury risk and a way to make a pitcher want to drill you right between the shoulder blades.
3B: Chone Figgins
He’s fast and black and has somehow turned that, along with no marketable skills into a luxurious free agent contract. For his career he’s been a below-average offensive player and hasn’t ever posted an OPS north of .825. His pulls faces and throws tantrums and yet his teams continue to bat him atop of batting orders. A man that willingly chooses to have people call him “Chipper” takes second place.
OF: Milton Bradley
Another unanimous decision to be included on the all-annoying team. Bradley’s me-first style of play has seen him shuttled from team to team to team for his entire career. In 12 seasons Bradley has played on eight different teams and hasn’t lasted longer than 3 seasons with any of them. He’s perpetually angry and has some distorted vision that everyone everywhere is out to get him.
OF: Shane Victorino
When you hear that his nickname is the Flyin’ Hawaiian, Victorino sounds like a fun dude to be around and to watch. But on the field he’s more of dirtbag than the rosin bag on the mound. In addition to the cheap groin shot pictured here, Victorino’s been known as a player who will do all the wrong little things to rub teams the wrong way. Here he is breaking up a double play in a less than honorable way. He hides his guilt well because he’s always smiling or slapping someone playfully on the rump, but under that jovial islander exterior lies a cold-hearted competitor who will stop at nothing to gain a slight tactical advantage.
OF: Luke Scott
Luke Scott can sure run into a fastball from time to time but as we’ve seen time and time again throughout baseball history, athletic ability does not correlate well with superhuman intelligence. Or even average-human intelligence. There’s a time and place for Luke Scott’s political views and those never include anyone other than Mr. Scott himself.
SP: Josh Beckett
Perhaps one of baseball’s most enigmatic pitchers, his go-to move when things don’t go his way is generally to hit the next batter or two.
SP: Carl Pavano
Blisters, buttocks injuries and car crashes with supermodels for a guy that’s not even really any good. Plus, he grew that abomination of a mustache that looks like it belongs much more on To Catch A Predator than it does on any 1970s news anchor.
SP: Brad Penny
Third consecutive starter on this list that spent a considerable amount of time with the Florida Marlins. Perhaps it’s the crappy stadium, the disloyal fanbase or the overwhelming Hispanic population, but something in South Florida breeds discontentment amongst its hurlers. Along with Pavano, Brad Penny proves that you don’t need to be much more than a giant tool to be romantically linked to Alyssa Milano.
SP: Dallas Braden
I thought about throwing a hissy fit because Braden was on this list because after all, it is MY list but then I realized that that is exactly why he’s here. He’s like that terrible 2-year old that suddenly believes everything is “MINE!” You can spank the child but really, he’s still just annoying, but now he’s crying too.
SP: Carlos Zambrano
After five consecutive walks and a bases-loaded double, your team is up by 5 runs before recording an out. But the only thing the announcers can talk about and the only highlights from the game will be Big Z beating the crap out of a water cooler, breaking a bat over his knee and attempting to strangle six or seven teammates.
RP: Jonathan Papelbon
Jonathan Papelbon is nothing if not cocky. When he and Mariano Rivera were selected to represent the American League at the 2008 All Star Game at Yankee Stadium, he suggested to the media that should a save opportunity arise, that he be given the call. Well, after the AL tied the game at 2 in the seventh inning, Papelbon got the call and promptly gave up the go-ahead run the very next inning. He’s commanded more and more money despite fading performances and can regularly be found pouting and screaming in the dugout should he fail at his job.
RP: Jose Valverde
Winning a major league baseball game is a pretty big deal, I get it. I’ve never done nor will I ever, but sheesh — Jose Valverde celebrates every out of his ninth innings as if he’s won the freaking World Series. Hopping around, pointing to the sky and hollering at the top of his lungs, all because he closed out a 6-3 game against the Kansas City Royals. I mean good grief man, how would you feel if Yuniesky Betancourt beat out a bunt single off you and then stopped the game and asked to keep the ball as a souvenir?
RP: Francisco Rodriguez
Another closer fond of the excessive celebrations, “K-Rod” holds the single-season save record and the single-season rage record. 62 saves in 2008 landed him a sizable contract with the Mets, but an assault on his father-in-law at Citi Field landed him in jail and cost him over $100,000 in forfeited wages. Sounds like just the guy you’d want to bring home to dad…too soon?
Manager: Tony La Russa
Every once and a while I’ll be watching a Cardinals game and hear the commentators praising La Russa’s unorthodox style of managing. The pitcher is batting cleanup, his second baseman is playing left-field and he just went through four reliefs pitchers to face four batters in the sixth inning. And he’s somehow still winning. All that jazz and he’s a habitual drunk driver.
Announcers: Hawk Harrelson
Spending even a part of a half-inning listening to Harrelson and his crew makes you want to PUT HIM ON THE BOARD … the waterboard. He is an unabashed homer who distinctly and openly hates opposing teams and their fans. Harrelson is also a blow-hard individual from Chicago that is grating on the ears and spends a considerable amount of time loving on certain people while pooh-poohing on anyone that doesn’t think exactly the same way—has anyone ever seen Hawk Harrelson and Oprah in the same place at the same time?
Owner: Hank Steinbrenner
Another blow-hard who has rightfully been reigned in the past year or so by his much more well-behaved brother Hal. Hank certainly inherited his father’s flair for the dramatic and often over-the-top baseball sense. Certainly he cares, but in my opinion owners should be neither seen nor heard. True it’s their team but they’re most likely an MLB owner because of the sound investment returns rather than their overwhelming baseball operations knowledge. The McCourts in Los Angeles have to be up there now because off their all-too-public and all-too-messy divorce. The Brewers Mark Attanasio and the Marlins Jeff Loria are also good candidates here because of their constant whining and their frugal nature, respectively.