Sunday is going to be a special day. I will be in the booth with Hawk for the White Sox-Boston game.First of all, it's going to be fun. His family will be there. My family will be there. It also will be a little emotional, and knowing it is Hawk's
Sunday is going to be a special day. I will be in the booth with Hawk for the White Sox-Boston game.
First of all, it's going to be fun. His family will be there. My family will be there. It also will be a little emotional, and knowing it is Hawk's last year, I'm sure we will have some tears flowing. We won't try to hold them back.
I've known Hawk for a long time, and he definitely had a huge stake in me becoming a White Sox in 2005. He also has been a big help to me in my current role as a baseball analyst for Fox.
Whenever Hawk watches a game I'm doing, he says, "Hey, just be yourself. You know what you're talking about. You know how to play baseball." He's said if you're genuine, people will respect you for it. It's worked so far. It's been a good way to go about this job. I'm thankful for his advice.
Fox has been great. They've been nothing but positive. They've done everything to help me out. They're trying to teach me what the ropes are. I'm still involved in baseball, which is great. I get to go on TV and talk baseball for three hours. It's not too bad.
Baseball looks a lot easier from the booth, but I know it's very hard. I always try to remember that.
When I call a game, the best 15 minutes of the day is when we get to talk to the managers. You learn so much. Most of these guys are really good, and they open up to you.
As a player, you don't get to talk to a lot of managers. When you can sit down and talk to them, you're pretty amazed at what they say and what they look for in a game.
Often, I'm like, "Whoa, I didn't think about that." Or I didn't realize what was said behind closed doors. If I had known some of those things when I was playing, I would have been a better player.
I get asked a lot if I ever would want to be a manager or coach. I wouldn't change what I'm doing now. I still get to travel to do games, but I'm home a lot to be with the kids. Now tomorrow, something can change. My son asks me all the time, "Dad, why did you stop playing?" My son misses it probably more than I do, because he got to hang out in the clubhouse. I'm sure he would love for me to get back into the game. Right now, it's not something I'm looking to do. Then again, if a team said, "Hey, we want you to be our big league manager," it would be pretty hard to turn down that job.
Plenty of guys have gone from the booth to being manager. Aaron Boone is doing it this year with the Yankees. Bob Brenly did it with Arizona. I once talked to him about it. He said something I'll always keep in mind: "As much as I love managing, one good thing about being in the booth is win or lose, when I go home, I'm not nearly as upset. I want my team to win, but it's not my job on the line."
One great thing that happened to me is being associated with the White Sox again as a team ambassador. I always consider myself a White Sox. That's where I won a World Series. It's been terrific to meet with the fans and spread some goodwill. With the Sox in a rebuild, you try to keep the fans positive and looking forward to what's coming.
The Sox are definitely going in the right direction, and they've done a great job of lining up prospects. They have 25 prospects, and if four or five of them hit, you've done a great job. You never know what's going to happen, but they have put themselves in position with depth and quality prospects to do it quickly and make it special again.
It's great that people respect what you did on the field. It means more to my kids. I knew what kind of career I had, but they were still relatively young. Now they get to see first-hand how the fans react to me. It's nice to be able to give back to an organization that gave so much to me.
As told to Ed Sherman.
A.J. Pierzynski, a former MLB catcher who won the World Series with the White Sox in 2005, is a baseball analyst for Fox.