White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has a phrase that sums up his catcher’s relationship with others: “If A.J. is not on your team, you hate him. If A.J. is on your team, you hate him less.” While it’s not obvious whether or not the patrons of the Tucson, Ariz., Olive Garden were Sox fans, after Monday’s tirade accompanied his soup, salad and breadsticks lunch, the restaurant-goers certainly do hate Pierzynski.
“I could tell he was going to be trouble the moment he walked in,” said Megan Harmel, a 17-year old waitress for the Italian eatery. “He had this fake, wrestling championship belt flung over his shoulder and demanded a table for eight, even though he was alone. I tried to get him to sit at a smaller table, but he kept insisting ‘A.J.’s entourage is on their way.'”
Once seated, Pierzynski continued to cause a scene.
“Every time he took a bite out of a breadstick he would punch himself in the jaw, screaming ‘A.J.’s tough. Don’t mess with A.J.,'” said Dottie McNeal, a retiree who meets her bridge club at the restaurant weekly. “He seemed like a bit of a smart aleck.”
Pierzynski eventually had to be escorted out of the restaurant after he kneed a busboy in the groin for failing promptly to refresh his water.