Catcher A.J. Pierzynski’s family flew in from Florida knowing Sunday very well could be his last game as a White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
“There’s definitely a chance it could be,” said Pierzynski, 35, who will be a free agent after the season. “You know, it’s kind of bittersweet. On the one hand, obviously we would like to be in a better position than where we are at. But hopefully we’ll find a way to win these last four games and come back and have a couple more home games.”
Before Sunday’s game against the Rays, which the Sox entered trailing the first place Detroit Tigers by two games in the AL Central, Pierzynski said he hasn’t thought about the possibility all that much because the Sox have been wrapped up in a pennant chase.
“Obviously you see the end of the season because of the number of games, but as far as thinking about next year, where I’m going to be or what I’m going to do, it hasn’t really crept in because I haven’t, mentally, I just haven’t been able to check out with what we’ve been doing here this year,” he said. “That’s been a good thing because coming into it everyone thought we’d be so far out of it that by the time August came around, we would be auditioning guys for next year. It hasn’t been the case. We’ve hung in there and hopefully we can find a way to turn this thing around and finish it off.”
Pierzynski, signed before the White Sox World Series championship season in 2005, has been down this road before, most recently before the 2011 season when he thought he was going to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pierzynski has been saying this year that he wants to return.
“Like I said earlier in the season, I packed my house up once, I packed it up for a second time,” he said. “It’s becoming old hat now. But I would love to come back and finish my career here, but at the same time I know how baseball works. I know the way things work and we’ll see. Maybe we can work something out. If not, I’ll always look back fondly on my time here and appreciate it. I love the city of Chicago. I love the fans here. I love the people here. I love the organization and you’ll never hear me say anything bad about them.”
The Sox wore the red 1972 red pinstripes for the last time on Sunday, one last 40-year tribute to the Bill Melton/Dick Allen team.
“The only thing I can complain about is we have to wear these stupid red uniforms,” Pierzynski said with a smirk. “I wish I could boycott it and make us just wear our normal ones, bring back the sleeveless ones we had like in ’05. It’s definitely crossed my mind. My family flew in for the game today just because there’s definitely a real possibility this will be my last game here as part of the White Sox.
“But at the same time, everything comes to an end at a certain time. Like I said, I hope it’s not the end, but if it is, I’ll look back fondly and with great memories and hold my head high because I know I gave everything I could to the White Sox organization for eight years. I hope people remember that. That’s it.
“I’m very grateful for [a lengthy eight-year tenure with one team]. Very thankful for that. [General manager] Kenny [Williams] kind of took a flier on me in the ’05 season and we went on to win the World Series and I’ve been here ever since. It’s been great. It’s been a great run. Hopefully it will continue.”