A.J. Pierzynski is baseball’s meanest player

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Sports Illustrated polls major leaguers about a number of things throughout the year. Or else it polls them once and then releases the results in drips and drabs throughout the year.  Today’s drip/drab:  “Baseball’s Meanest Players.”

Problem: it doesn’t really list a criteria.  Which matters here, because “meanest” could be the most personally unpleasant. It could also have some mix of hard-nosed competitiveness to it, which is at least in part admirable.  Of course, since they have A.J. Pierzynski number one — and since he’s often talked about like he’s a grade-A jerk — I tend to think it leans more toward the former

Anyway, here’s the post.  Sadly, it is a slide show.  For those of you with the good sense to stay away from web slides shows, I’ll tell you that Chase Utley is number two, followed by Milton Bradley, Carlos Zambrano and Vicente Padilla.

OK, wait a minute. Now I’m certain that it’s just a list of jerks, because those last three are universally despised.  Which makes me wonder how Utley makes that list, because you rarely hear him talked about in the same way those other guys are.

A-Rod, Chris Carpenter and … wait for it … Albert Pujols come next.  I apologize Brewers fans. Seems that you’re not the only ones on the planet who think Pujols is a jerk.  Two-hundred and fifteen major league baseball players agree.  Of course, don’t get too smug because he’s followed on the list by Nyjer Morgan. And yes, there are Red Sox, another Yankee and another Brewer in the top 15.

No Braves of course. Everyone loves Braves.

Dodgers to retire Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34 this summer

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers will retire the No. 34 jersey of pitcher Fernando Valenzuela during a three-day celebration this summer.

Valenzuela was part of two World Series champion teams, winning the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards. He was a six-time All-Star during his 11 seasons in Los Angeles from 1980-90.

He will be honored from Aug. 11-13 when the Dodgers host Colorado.

Valenzuela will join Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam, Don Sutton, Walter Alston, Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson and Don Drysdale with retired numbers.

“To be a part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” Valenzuela said. “But also for the fans, the support they’ve given me as a player and working for the Dodgers, this is also for them.”