A.J. Pierzynski shares clubhouse vibe on new show ‘Foul Territory’

The former White Sox catcher co-hosts a daily show that airs at noon on most digital platforms. In just its third month of production, the show has caught players’ attention.

SHARE A.J. Pierzynski shares clubhouse vibe on new show ‘Foul Territory’
A.J. Pierzynski, with co-host Scott Braun, appears Monday through Thursday on “Four Territory” before leaving Friday to call a game Saturday for Fox Sports.

A.J. Pierzynski, with co-host Scott Braun, appears Monday through Thursday on “Four Territory” before leaving Friday to call a game Saturday for Fox Sports.

Provided

If you ever have wanted to experience a major-league baseball clubhouse but don’t have the credentials, there is a way. You can hear all the great stories and salty language without subjecting yourself to any unpleasant locker-room odors. You don’t even have to leave your house.

Former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski co-hosts “Foul Territory,” a daily show that airs at noon on most digital platforms, including Apple Podcasts and YouTube. In just its third month of production, the show has caught the attention of players, and they’re pounding on Pierzynski’s door to join.

That’s not completely metaphorical, either. The show’s studio is at Pierzynski’s home in Orlando, Florida.

“The biggest problem we thought we’d have was getting guests,” Pierzynski said. “But because people are allowed to be themselves, we’re having a hard time getting them all on.”

Pierzynski, who appears Monday through Thursday with former MLB Network host Scott Braun, has been joined remotely by luminaries such as Max Scherzer, Aaron Boone, Scott Boras and Joe West. Sox pitcher Lance Lynn has joined twice. Former Sox broadcaster “Hawk” Harrelson stopped by in person.

Rotating co-hosts include former major-leaguers Lorenzo Cain, Adam Jones, Todd Frazier, Jason Kipnis and Erik Kratz. MLB insider Ken Rosenthal contributes and hosts his own show, “Fair Territory.” Behind it all is CEO/executive producer Marc Weiner, who was a prominent producer at ESPN and MLB Network.

“Talking to players about what they felt was missing in the game was a consistent, authentic home for baseball talk and conversation with former players and current players,” Braun said. “Nowadays, the way to do that is freeform, independent, which is important, and reaching audiences across the platforms that they like to go to as opposed to being available in one place.”

The show has a professional look without a pretentious feel. The co-hosts appear in T-shirts, Pierzynski with his hat backward. Braun and Pierzynski are in Orlando while others join remotely from their homes. The point of the show is to make viewers feel like they’re in a clubhouse. That can make for foul language, which earned “Foul Territory” an “E” marking on Apple Podcasts for explicit content.

“We’re just trying to talk like normal people talk, normal players talk,” Pierzynski said. “If you’re in the clubhouse, bad words are said. And you go in the real world, bad words are said. Do I try not to say those bad words? Of course, I do. But when you’re having a conversation with your buddies, we’ve all had the clubhouse-talk thing. That’s a real thing.”

In the last year, Braun gauged the interest of recently retired players, including Pierzynski, in joining the venture.

“We got zero no’s,” he said. “Anyone we spoke to was like, ‘This is freaking awesome. This is needed. I’m in.’

“You could always tell as a player A.J. would be a star in media. And he has been, especially with his work with Fox. This is his daily opinion talk show that I think he’s always wanted. His voice needs to be more prominent in the game because he’s smart as hell. He’s still very involved and friendly with so many current players because he’s in the clubhouses every week for Fox. He was an obvious fit.”

“I was all for it,” Pierzynski said. “There’s no place like this now for the players because MLB Network is MLB, which kind of controls everything.”

Pierzynski joined Twitter in February and already has more than 12,000 followers. He interacts with fans there and on the show, which takes questions for the panel.

The show already has been a source of controversy. In the episode March 28, Harrelson claimed, “I didn’t retire, I got retired.” Harrelson called his last Sox game in 2018.

Pierzynski tried to lower Harrelson’s rhetoric, saying, “It happens to all of us at some point.”

“My biggest thing was, I didn’t want Hawk to say something too bad,” Pierzynski said. “He said what he said; OK, that’s it. We don’t need to keep going. To me, it was just Hawk being Hawk. That’s what he does, he gives his honest opinion. Hawk is a legend, he’s in the Hall of Fame. I just didn’t want him to say something so outlandish that he makes an enemy of the White Sox.”

But the show will continue to be based on honest opinions, no matter how salty they are.

“That’s what people want to hear,” Pierzynski said. “They want to hear honest opinions by people on the ground, and that’s the hardest thing to get out of most players because a lot of times they don’t feel comfortable talking. The whole goal is, because we’re ex-players, we’re more on their level and we’re able to talk about this how we would really talk about it if we were sitting in a clubhouse together.”

Remote patrol

  • The creators of the documentary “Last Comiskey” are hosting a screening for charity at 11 a.m. May 13 at The Promontory. Former White Sox Donn Pall and Wayne Edwards and former Comiskey Park organist Nancy Faust will take questions afterward. Tickets are $25, which will be donated to the Pediatric Epilepsy Surgery Alliance. Go to promontorychicago.com to purchase.
  • The White Sox-Reds game Friday will air exclusively on Apple TV+. Alex Faust, analyst Ryan Spilborghs and reporter Tricia Whitaker will have the call. Pregame coverage begins at 5 p.m.
  • NBC will air a record 7.5 hours of coverage of the Kentucky Derby beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday. Coverage includes nine races. Former Blackhawks TV analyst Eddie Olczyk returns as a handicapper.
  • The eighth season of George Ofman’s podcast, “Tell Me A Story I Don’t Know,” begins Tuesday with a two-part interview with Ozzie Guillen.
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