Pierzynski: In love with pro wrestling
White Sox catcher has entered the ring on multiple occasions
Growing up, I loved professional wrestling. It was great entertainment with guys like Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant. It was just becoming national and even international back then. It was becoming huge. I always watched it, and I've always liked it, so I've had a lot of fun getting to know some of the wrestlers -- and even getting into the ring a few times -- in recent years.
As a kid, I never dreamed I would get the opportunity to be inside a pro wrestling ring. But by having the opportunity to see wrestling up close -- actually getting in there and trying to do what they do -- I've gained a true appreciation for their ability as performers. They are truly amazing.
Of course, lots of people say wrestling is fake or whatnot, but I'd challenge anybody to get into the ring and attempt to do what those guys do night in and night out. Most people could never handle it.
When I first got into the ring, it was with the Total Nonstop Action (TNA) wrestling organization. I was more nervous for that than anything I've ever done in baseball. I didn't want to do something that I wasn't supposed to, and I didn't want to hurt somebody by doing something wrong. Those guys make a living in the ring, and I didn't want to screw anything up for them.
But it worked out OK. They're really great at what they do. It was an awesome experience, and I would love to do it again.
As a kid, wrestling was all about the good guys or the "faces," as they are called in the wresting business. It sort of changed over the years to where they were pushing "heels," or bad guys, more. The times I've been in the ring I've done both roles. It's a lot more fun to be the heel. You can really do or say anything. You get a good reaction from the crowd. I like to be able to say and do anything I want.
Getting the chance to be part of the entire production is unique and exciting. Being backstage allowed me to see how they go about their business and prepare -- how they get ready to perform. Let me clear a few myths, too: The ring isn't soft or padded. The ropes are hard and the steel chairs are steel chairs. They hurt. Bottom line, I have the utmost respect for the performers.
Another thing that amazes me is their schedule. They have no offseason, and they have no home games. They are at it year-round, and the travel is crazy. They go around the country and around the world. The fan base they have is incredible, and those guys are awesome. I've developed relationships in wrestling that will last a lifetime.
Veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski made his professional wrestling debut as a manager at the TNA show "Turning Point 2005" in December of that year. When he is not part of the pro wrestling scene, Pierzynski guides the White Sox pitching staff from behind the plate. He won a World Series title with Chicago in 2005, and he holds the AL record for consecutive errorless chances with 962.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.