So who would you say is the meanest player in baseball today? How about the nicest?
Those are questions that Sports Illustrated recently asked a group of MLB players — although for some reason, they asked 290 players about the nicest and only 215 about the meanest. Or perhaps they asked the same group but fewer were willing to name mean guys out of fear for their lives? Nevertheless, the results are in and some Cardinals rank in the top 15 on each list — including one who’s on both.
The guy who’s both naughty and nice? Albert Pujols.
He’s No. 8 on the Mean Boys list and No. 7 of the Nice Guys, so strictly middle-of-the-pack on each. Still, that “mean” ranking surprises me a bit — especially considering he’s just ahead of Nyjer Morgan.
Really, MLB players? The guy who started this last season (to say nothing of the long list of transgressions we could list for this season) is only the ninth meanest guy in baseball — and two Cardinals are even worse?
Oh, yes, that other naughty Cardinal, checking in at No. 7 — Chris Carpenter. Not a big surprise, I suppose, even though he seems more intense than really mean. Right? Well, okay, he’s occasionally cranky about things too, especially when it comes to Nyjer Morgan, but is that the same as mean? To MLB players, yes.
The meanest of the mean was A.J. Pierzynski, followed by Chase Utley (really?), Milton Bradley (no kidding), Carlos Zambrano (only No. 4?), Vicente Padilla and Alex Rodriguez. Following Carp, Albert and the obnoxious T-Plush are Kevin Youkilis, Josh Beckett, Kyle Farnsworth, Prince Fielder, Jason Kendall and Mark Teixeira. If you want to see pictures, find the entire SI list here.
Albert isn’t the only one on both lists — so is Teixeira. He’s No. 12 of the Nice Guys, a list not surprisingly topped by Jim Thome. And Tex has Yankee company: Curtis Granderson is fifth is Derek Jeter sixth.
There’s another Cardinal present also — and, surprisingly it’s not Lance Berkman. No, it’s Matt Holliday rounding out the list at No. 15. Which is good. Matty might need some cheering up, given the latest in his list of odd injuries this season — inflammation in the tendon on his right middle finger, which happened while he was swinging a bat in the on-deck circle Tuesday night. Of course. After appendicitis, a moth in the ear, straining his back while working out and everything else as nicely summarized by Bernie Miklasz, should anything come as a surprise?
Following Thome on the Nice List are Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon (really, or am I just biased because of 2004?) and Joe Mauer. Following the Yankees and Albert are Orlando Hudson at No. 8, Torii Hunter, Carlos Pena and Brian McCann. Between Tex and Matty Ho are Jason Giambi and Michael Young. Pictures and all can be found here.
Finally, speaking of pictures and being naughty and nice, this was posted last night on Twitter from Cardinals media relations director Brian Bartow.
Not quite rookie hazing like other teams do, as another tweet said it was players with three years of experience and under. And while a picture is definitely worth 1,000 words, we’d love a little more explanation of this — like the turtleneck caper at the beginning of the season, was this too the work of Lance Berkman? Still, there is high entertainment value just from the picture itself. Some of those guys seem to be enjoying themselves a little too much … right, Kyle McClellan, Jon Jay and Tyler Greene?
And let’s hope The Shredder left those players alone.
(Miranda and I tried to identify everyone but ran into trouble with a couple. Back row, from left, Jaime Garcia, Kyle McClellan, Fernando Salas, Brandon Dickson, David Freese, Maikel Cleto, by process of elimination Mitchell Boggs, Jason Motte and we think Marc Rzepczynski. Front row: Tony Cruz, Eduardo Sanchez, Adron Chambers, Jon Jay, Shane Robinson, Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene.)
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.
You have Sanchez and Salas switched. Sanchez is in the back next to KMac and Salas is in front next to Tony Cruz. The guy in the sunglasses can’t be Scrabble because that guy has hair and Scrabble’s head is shaved; I think it is Boggs instead. The guy in the purple next to Cleto is either Scrabble or Allen Craig which means someone is missing.
Thank you — I was the one who reversed Sanchez and Salas, and Miranda was correct. We debated on the purple guy. Having just read a blurb about Boggs not pitching since Sept. 3 with the headline “invisible man,” it’s probably him who’s not in the picture!