Ain't that a kick to the groin...
I guess the cancer was just there from the beginning. I mean, I understand that it was probably a pretty stupid question on Conte's part - anytime a guy is gnashed on his gnuts of course it !?!#^~"&*!@! - but that's a (pun intended) pretty low blow on A.J.'s part. Given that knowledge, I'm glad that Pierzynski is gone and glad that he wasn't signed to a long term contract.
What I want to know now is why the hell the Giants traded for him if he was so twisted? This couldn't have been the first time he's pulled anything like this with a co-worker. There must have been some stories circulating. I suppose they could have known but still decided that it was worth a calculated risk when none of the pitchers traded had even two years of good performance and were traded for an All-Star lefty-hitting, relatively strong defensive catcher. I supported the A.J. trade, even with Nathan's incandescent season, and Liriano's potentially breaking out any season now (once he can go through a season uninjured), but now I see that I was just plain wrong.
It is stuff like this that shows how wrong fans can be about a situation because they are outside of the sphere of professional sports. I've always tried to assume that the team knows a lot more about the situation than we fans but that we can still analyze the situation based on the facts in hand. Unfortunately, it appears that the Giants were either also outside of that sphere as well or just plain decided to ignore the signs.
I suppose teams can and have won with players who are just, for lack of a better phrase, plain "ornery" - see Ty Cobb and Pete Rose - but I believe you are playing with fire when you do that (hence why I didn't want to pursue Milton Bradley or Raul Mondesi) and unfortunately the Giants got burned. That could explain their signing Vizquel and Matheny as they are considered upstanding guys (not that Benitez and Alou are bad, just not as well known as Vizquel and Matheny for that). In particular Matheny since he is A.J.'s replacement.
I have seen in baseball that what goes around, comes around. Players usually take the law into their own hands and try to mete justice to perpetrators like Pierzynski. Hopefully, he's a bit more humble after being dumped by the Giants and "only" getting $2.25M. However, he's probably going to get dropped again next off-season by the White Sox because I'll bet that he didn't learn anything from this situation and will try to gouge the White Sox in arbitration, resulting in them letting him go again.
That's because there's always another team (See Milton Bradley - Dodgers or Steve Howe's and Darryl Strawberry's numerous chances) willing to give him another chance and thus he has no real reason to be cooperative. Then he'll probably end up with the Pirates or some loser team playing for $1M in 2006 and hoping that free agency will bring him more money. Consistent near-.300 hitters will always command some attention, especially from the catcher's position.