While all four major team sports—let's humor the hockey people—have their share of jerks, no sport seems to revel in or create a more accommodating climate for dickheads than baseball. Whether it was Ty Cobb beating up cripples, Ted Williams refusing to tip his hat, John Rocker talking urban planning or Barry Bonds being Barry Bonds, baseball—a sport that views the hotfoot and beanball as the height of discourse—loves its asswipes. The crueler the better. Pretend you don't hear a kid asking for an autograph? Cool. Attach a baseball to a string, throw it on the dugout roof, and pull it back just when a kid reaches for it? Better.
Sportswriters, having been fans as kids, are especially susceptible to such malice. A friend who used to work for the AnaheimBulletinhad a typical story: on his first day covering the then-California Angels, he walked up to his boyhood hero, Jim Fregosi, the team's manager, only to have Fregosi ignore him completely for what seemed like hours. Finally, Fregosi turned to my friend and said with typical baseball lan, "What the fuck do you want?"
Why are baseball players such gargantuan douche bags? Who knows? Why do they ask for your address at Radio Shack when you're paying cash for batteries? These things just are. And with the start of the season, you'll have plenty of opportunities to go out to Angel Stadium and see a steady parade of dickheads, numbnuts and dipwads. The beauty of baseball is that you never know who is going to be that evening's jackhole. We suggest checking out these four, who have proved themselves to be reliable performers.
Pierzynski is such a dick that even other ballplayers think he's a dick—making him a dick's dick. After signing with the San Francisco Giants last season, Pierzynski pissed off the team's pitchers, notably Bret Tomko, by refusing to discuss opposing hitters before games. They were then shocked to learn Pierzynski was badmouthing Giants teammates to opposing hitters while he was crouching behind the plate. It caused one Giant to tell the OaklandTribunethat Pierzynski was a "cancer"—making him a cancerous dick—but it wasn't just teammates who hated him.
After taking a shot to the crotch, Pierzynski was attended by trainer Stan Conte, who asked how he felt. "Like this," said Pierzynski, who then kneed Conte in the groin. Pierzynski left the Giants for the White Sox this year, but just to show there were no hard feelings, he gave teammate Joe Borchard a $100 bill for hitting a home run against the Giants. The pitcher who gave up the home run? Bret Tomko.
Suggestedtauntsand/orsigns:"You give cancer a bad name." "I got your groin right here" (while figuratively pointing to your groin).
Jones is that sneaky type of baseball wad: the seemingly nice guy who, when you scratch beneath the I'm-just-trying-to-keep-the-ball-down-in-the-strike-zone surface, reveals himself to be a complete loon. When the DenverPostasked Jones last year how he would feel if a teammate came out as gay, he said, "I wouldn't want a gay guy being around me. It's got nothing to do with me being scared. That's the problem: all these people say he's got all these rights. Yeah, he's got rights or whatever, but he shouldn't walk around proud. It's like he's rubbing it in our face."
Jones, who sports a very thick, very butch mustache, also predicted that pitchers would throw at a gay player's head. When "apologizing" for his comments, the former Gamecock—he attended Jacksonville State—said, "I think my only mistake was that I made my views public."
Suggestedtauntsand/orsigns:"Are you game, Cock?" "If I said you had a beautiful body, would you throw at my head?" "Todd."
Walking along Madison Avenue, the Big Unit, who had demanded a trade to the bright lights of New York—after demanding a trade from Seattle years before—apparently was undone by one dinky beam from the camera of Channel 2's Vinny Everett. Johnson, who goes 6-10, shoved Everett's camera back at him, and then offered this oh-so-typical example of inflated self-worth:
Don't talk back to me? What is he, Randy, your son?
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Suggestedtauntsand/orsigns:"You should be grateful for anyone willing to look at that Pop-Tart you call a face." "Big eunuch."
This born-again Christian has been fined and/or suspended numerous times for on- and off-the-field altercations, including bumping an umpire, spewing profanities and grabbing his crotch, and spitting at a pitcher after hitting a home run. Not only is he versatile, but Everett is international as well—well, he was before he was permanently banned from playing winter ball in Venezuela after he went into the stands to attack a fan. Add to this his views on the world—he doesn't believe dinosaurs ever existed because "nobody ever saw a dinosaur. The Bible doesn't say anything about them"—and you've got yourself a bona fide five-tool tool.
Suggestedtauntsand/orsigns:"Hey, Carl, you're a . . . Oh, God, he's coming over! Quick, honey, take the kids! HONEY, TAKE THE KIDS AND . . . OH, GOD, NO! NOT THE FACE! NOT THE FACE!"
TICKET INFO ON THESE AND OTHER TRIUMPHS OF WILL MAY BE HAD AT WWW.ANGELSBASEBALL.COM.