The Biggest Pests in Major League Baseball — Clue: NOT MIDGES
First of all, you may wonder what constitutes a “pest”, particularly when we’re not talking about actual arachnids and other insects, right? Glad you asked. After reading this, you will know what (and who) a pest is, and understand it when you see/hear someone use the term with regards to specific players.
PEST (pest) noun, def.: A player (specifically in baseball) who seems to always make otherworldly plays in the field on defense; plays that are above their standard play and ability, a player who hits thousand-hopper, seeing-eye base hits (balls that bounce literally 4-5+ times, but seemingly 1,000 times) while getting between infielders. Also, this player seems to manage to break up no-hit bids by pitchers — often bunting for base hits (which is one of the unwritten rules of baseball) — hitting gap shots to left or right-center field, or even home runs; guys who go entire seasons without hitting one, and do so at the most inopportune time for your team.
With that understanding, here are my “Top” 10 Pests in MLB:
1. Coco Crisp, CF, Oakland Athletics.
He’s been a thorn in the side of everyone in the AL East, AL Central AND AL West for the better part of the past decade, and has stolen home run after home run, gotten base hit after base hit. Yet, if you look at his career as a whole, season-by-season by the numbers, it annoys you to the nth degree when he proves his “pesthood” once again. (See: 2012 ALDS Games 3 & 4, Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics).
2. Erick Aybar, SS, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Aybar is the classic guy who you appreciate (at least defensively) if he’s on your team, and otherwise flat out hate him. He spits in the face of many unwritten baseball conventions; including repeatedly attempting to bunt for base hits late in no-hitter and/or perfect game bids.
3. Elvis Andrus, SS, Texas Rangers.
With his stupid (and proven to be worthless in three straight years) “antler” or “claw” or whatever it is — and doing some of what the aforementioned players do, there is a reason he’s 3rd on this list.
4. Robert Andino, INF/Utility, Baltimore Orioles.
This guy can’t even start on a team full of “B” and “C” players. Somehow he pops up in the 8th inning of games and somehow steals rally-continuing base hits (See: 2012 ALDS Game 2, New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles).
5. Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston Red Sox.
Don’t care about his career numbers. The guy is a living, breathing, real-life Ooompa Loompa at 5’5″, was balding well before age 30 (Hence the label, “PEDSROIDA”) and somehow not only hits 20 HR, nearly knocks in 100 RBI, but gets hits that annoy the last bit of fiber out of AL East fans who face the Boston Red Sox.
6. Macier Izturis, 2B, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Izturis can go an entire season and not hit a HR.
Then hit one that alters the outcome of a game that your team MUST HAVE.
7. Desmond Jennings, LF, Tampa Bay Rays.
I just can’t stand the guy, period.
8. Pedro Ciriaco, INF, Boston Red Sox.
The Yankees cannot get him out to save their lives.
9. Rajai Davis, LF, Toronto Blue Jays.
The guy could be 0-15, and somehow goes 3-4 and hits your team’s ace as if he was a 4th starter on a high school team. It infuriates you to the point where you want to break furniture.
Then there’s this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aRSn6TsZU4
10. AJ Pierzynski, C, Chicago White Sox.
The guy is a good player. One of the better catchers in baseball, to be honest. But if your team has faced Pierzynski on any of the teams he’s been on, and your pitcher needed an out — somehow he seems to come out of nowhere. And even has the nerve to try and steal bases.
But some of us rejoiced when this happened:
Jose Valverde, RP, Detroit Tigers.
He may not be a position player, and, as a closer, doesn’t necessarily fit the mold. But there are fewer guys who make fans of opposing teams homicidal than Valverde and his actions
Fernando Rodney, RP, Tampa Bay Rays.
The bow-and-arrow celebration may have a sentimental rationale behind it (according to Rodney), but the guy has been as schizo as a closer can be. He nearly crushed the hopes and dreams of two AL East teams this year with his out-of-nowhere pitching performance in 2012.
Ian Kinsler, 2B, Texas Rangers.
Again with the antler/claw. A poser attempting to appear to be on the level of Robinson Cano and Brandon Phillips.
Sean Rodriguez, Utility, Tampa Bay Rays.
He’s right up there with Izturis and Aybar, just doesn’t play every day.
Elliott Johnson, 2B/3B, Tampa Bay Rays.
SAME WITH HIM.
Tampa Bay Rays as a Whole.
FOR THE HELL OF IT. Who disagrees?