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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Guys who get under our skin

aj.A.J. Pierzynski? You just made the list, buddy. We all have a list that isn't necessarily written down, but tucked away in our heads of people in sports who get underneath our skin. Maybe they're a braggart, maybe they're a punk, maybe they constantly have lapses in judgment. Whatever. The point is, they bug us. The list is ever-changing, but here is the current list of people who are under our skin.

A.J. Pierzynski
His former manager, Ozzie Guillen, once said, "If you play against A.J., you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less.'' See, the White Sox catcher even rubs teammates the wrong way. Last week, his dangerous spikes-high slide on mild-mannered and all-around good guy Ben Zobrist was uncalled for and easily could've broken Zobrist's ankle. And this isn’t the first time Pierzynski has been involved in some sort of shenanigan or another. In fact, it seems like he's always in the middle of controversy.

perez.Chris Perez
The Indians closer is having a heck of a season, but he comes off like a knucklehead. Already this season, he ripped into the lack of support in Cleveland and then he was fined by Major League Baseball for an inappropriate tweet about the Royals. Seriously, the Royals? Who picks on the Royals? And, wait, does Perez realize he pitches for the Indians? Anyway, this week, Perez struck out Kansas City's Jarrod Dyson and then gave the old John Cena "You can’t see me'' hand wave in front of his face. Dyson had a pretty good line: "I guess he felt good striking me out. It's not like he struck out Albert Pujols.'' And Perez? It's not like you’re Mariano Rivera.

Tiger Woods
Here's my beef these days with Tiger: Last month, he skipped a pre-tournament news conference and, instead, released a taped question-and-answer session with questions submitted by fans and personally selected by Woods. How arrogant. Let's face it, the questions were not exactly hard-hitting. He continues to swear on the course, throw clubs and generally act most of the time like he would rather be doing anything than being a pro golfer. Who's advising this guy?

Bobby Valentine
Now it feels like I'm piling on Bobby V because I called the Red Sox manager a "weasel'' last week. Upon second thought, maybe that was too harsh. He's more like uh ... actually, I did have it right the first time. He's a weasel. Funny that when he was a broadcaster, he was sooooo boring. Now he pops off, including criticizing his own players (see: Youkilis, Kevin). I never thought I'd see a day when I was sticking up for Youkilis. Rays manager Joe Maddon had it right. Valentine calling for Tampa Bay's Luke Scott to be hit with a pitch could eventually get a Red Sox player hurt.

laviolette.Peter Laviolette
Every time I see the Flyers coach, he looks like a guy who just bit into a bad apple. He didn't like it when Lightning coach Guy Boucher installed a system to beat his team, as if that's not Boucher’s job. He had a dust-up with Stars captain Steve Ott when he used the Stars hallway to the locker room. Then he exchanged words with Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in the Byslma incident until I realized that Laviolette is always yelling, whining and griping about something. He appears to be the common denominator here.

Metta World Peace
Just when we were all ready to give World Peace a break and say, "You know, maybe he isn't a bad guy after all,'' he goes out and elbows Oklahoma City's James Harden in the head. He ended up getting a seven-game suspension and goes back onto the list of people who get under our skin.

Kevin Garnett
There are times recently when the 36-year-old Celtics power forward has turned back the clock and played his best basketball in years. But he talks a little too much smack and is a borderline dirty player. Classic example of a player you'd love on your team, but dislike on the other team.

Jim Harbaugh
The 49ers coach is a little too intense and a little too full of himself. Plus, it was kind of ridiculous that he is now scolding people, claiming the 49ers never "pursued'' Peyton Manning, but simply "evaluated'' the quarterback situation. Come on. What do you take us for?

ump.Major League Baseball umpires
They have one of the hardest, most thankless jobs in sports and they take a lot of abuse from fans, players and managers. Many are top-notch. But doesn't it seem like too many are becoming more incompetent and more arrogant at the same time? That's not a good combination. The latest is Laz Diaz, who was such a baby about catching some grief from Yankees catcher Russell Martin over balls and strikes that, according to Martin, he refused to let Martin throw the ball back to the pitcher when a new ball was put in play. Martin used a derogatory expletive to describe Diaz. We can't use that word here, but we agree with Martin.

[Last modified: Friday, June 1, 2012 3:00pm]


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