On Wednesday night, I received a text message from a friend saying White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski had failed a drug test and would soon be suspended 50 games for PED use. His source was a former co-worker who currently works at a media outlet in Chicago, someone I also used to work with. He told me not to say anything to anyone, so naturally I told everyone: I texted my dad, told a few friends, even dropped it in the SB Nation chatroom. No one should ever tell me anything. If A.J. Pierzynski really was going to be suspended for steroids use, I wanted everyone to think I actually had "sources", or something.
I have no sources, and A.J. Pierzynski will not suspended for steroids. This is a good thing, because the Sox are in a pennant race and Pierzynski is one of their most potent hitters. That 50-game suspension would have been devastating to the team's postseason chances. This is a also a sad thing, because even though I love A.J., I sort of believed the rumor.
Pierzynski has hit 24 homers and counting this season for the White Sox. He is 35 years old. Over the last two seasons combined, he hit just 17 homers. A season like the one Pierzynski is having doesn't pass the sniff test, not after we've all been conditioned to baseball's steroids witch hunt over the last decade. My friends have joked all season that Pierzynski was juicing. As pathetic as it is, a rampant Internet rumor like this one was probably inevitable.
So now the question becomes: how do we possibly explain Pierzynski's stellar campaign? Steroids would have made sense. Steroids would have been a reasonable explanation. Instead, we're left with nothing. Just another one of those bizarre developments annually birthed by baseball's intrinsic weirdness. This is the most oddball sport around, and sometimes things like this just happen.
Sometimes A.J. Pierzynski has a career year at 35 to help force the White Sox into the playoff race. It still doesn't pass the sniff test, but so few things things in this strange game ever do.