Maybe Rougie Odor just had his dates a little mixed up when he unleashed a vicious right cross to Jose Bautista’s face the other day. I’m sure he was just trying to honor the 10th anniversary of Michael Barrett doing what pretty much everyone else who’s encountered A.J. Pierzynski has wanted to do at one time or another. Then again, plenty of people have felt pretty much the same way about Barrett too.
I’m seeing a lot of people out on social media expressing amazement over the fact that this little incident is already a decade in the past, but I’m sitting here thinking, “It’s only been 10 years?” So much has happened since then, it feels to me as if it went down in 1996. The Sox were the reigning world champs but had a relatively disappointing season (90 wins but a 3rd-place finish) and the Cubs ended up 30 games under .500 and in 6th place in the NL Central. It was not a great year for baseball in Chicago. I had pretty much scrubbed that season from my mind.
When Barrett took umbrage with the opposing catcher slapping home plate with a bit more gusto than he felt was appropriate, he got in Pierzynski’s face. And then Barrett punched that face. Can you imagine if Twitter had been around then? It would have been a toxic landfill of the most vile and idiotic takes of all time. And that’s just Mike North. I can’t even imagine what the rest of us would have said.
I vaguely remember thinking it was pretty funny at the time, because I didn’t like Pierzynski and sort of felt like he had it coming. But another part of me was like, “Dude, did you really have to cold-cock the guy for that?” And then my concern for the matter washed away as I prepared for impending fatherhood and the attendant responsibilities therein.
Now I just look at the pictures of the punch and think, “Huh, yeah, I kinda remember that. Whatever.” And then I move along. So I guess it’s weird that I’m even writing about it all, though it does stand out as one of those events that sort of has the ring of a where-were-you-when moment. Even though I don’t recall in the slightest where I was when.
I guess this is what happens when it’s Friday afternoon and your team has a West Coast game that doesn’t start for several hours. Now that makes me want to punch something.