Much like Alex Rodriguez, A.J. Pierzynski is making the jump from part-time MLB analyst during the postseason to a full-time position with Fox Sports for the upcoming 2017 season. The now-retired major league catcher will provide color commentary for game broadcasts, in addition to studio analysis for FS1’s MLB Whiparound show.
Pierzynski was first hired by Fox as an analyst for the 2011 postseason and was a pleasant surprise, especially to baseball fans accustomed to Pierzynski being one of the most unlikable players in the sport. He was engaging and funny, providing insight to hitters’ thought processes against certain pitchers and under postseason pressure, and actually adding something to Fox’s pre- and post-game telecasts. The network obviously liked Pierzynski’s work, bringing him back for the 2012, 2013 and 2015 MLB postseasons.
The Fox MLB studio crew is a bit crowded with A-Rod, Frank Thomas, Pete Rose and new addition Nick Swisher. So Pierzynski will also be doing game analysis for his full-time workload. He’ll be in the booth for FS1’s season opener on Wednesday, April 5 as the Tampa Bay Rays host the New York Yankees. Kenny Albert will call the play-by-play, while Ken Rosenthal is the game reporter.
“We love having A.J. on the FOX Sports team,” said Fox Sports president of production and executive producer John Entz in an official statement. “He’s confident in his opinions and insight and he doesn’t hold back or shy away from topics he feels strongly about. Fans want an honest approach to what’s happening on the field, in the locker room and away from the game, and A.J. gives you just that, and has a lot of fun doing it.”
Naturally, Pierzynski joining Fox Sports full-time means he’s called it a career on the field. The catcher spent the last two seasons with the Atlanta Braves, compiling a .269 average and .686 OPS. In 19 MLB seasons, Pierzynski batted .280 with a .719 OPS, 188 home runs and 909 RBI. During his career, he played with the Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals, making two All-Star appearances and earning a Silver Slugger award. He won a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
Just in case you thought we’d get through a whole post on A.J. Pierzynski without mentioning his fight with Michael Barrett after a home-plate collision in 2006, here’s the video of that altercation for you to enjoy. Hopefully, he doesn’t get in any scraps with his fellow Fox Sports MLB studio analysts.