Today Major League Baseball fined or suspended 27 players for not fighting with Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
An investigation after the Cubs' Michael Barrett struck Pierzynski May 20th revealed that Pierzynski is an "obnoxious dolt," a "lousy, self-centered teammate," and a "tool." As Major League Baseball vice president of discipline Bob Watson stated in an interview, "Generally we're against fights or brawls on the field. But in the case of Pierzynski, we felt it was in the best interests of baseball to make an exception."
Twenty-seven players were suspended, including Anaheim Angels catcher Josh Paul, and many of Pierzynski's current and former teammates with the Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants, and Chicago White Sox.
For instance, pitcher Brett Tomko was fined an undisclosed amount and suspended for 10 games because of his involvement in 33 separate instances of not fighting with Pierzynski. As Watson stated, "Pierzynski refused to meet with Tomko before games, and made fun of Tomko in front of the opposing teams' batters. Tomko had many opportunities to give A.J. the beating he so richly deserved."
"At least he could have drawn a painting of Pierzynski being impaled by a unicorn or something."
Tomko's agent said that the Dodger pitcher was likely to appeal, but sources in Major League baseball said a reduction of any fine or suspension was extremely unlikely given the gravity of the offenses. "While in the heat of the moment it may have seemed to Tomko, or Torii Hunter, or Jim Thome, that Pierzynski should be endured for the good of the team, Major League Baseball cannot condone such acts."
Giants slugger Barry Bonds was a target of the investigation, but said that he did not knowingly fail to fight with Pierzynski. A statement on BarryBonds.com claimed "I was told by my trainers not to interact with that guy, but I didn't know it was A.J. I thought it was Jeff Kent visiting in the clubhouse."
When asked by reporters how he could mistake Pierzynski for Kent, Bonds said that the question was not "baseball-related" and therefore he would not answer it.