What Does the “A.J.” Stand For? Raise Your Hand.

I’m talking about A.J. Burnett, obviously.
Did you read the MLB story today that said: “Every American League East team except Tampa Bay, plus the Braves and Phillies, is considering making an offer for Burnett?”
Yikes. Sounds like the A.J. Sweepstakes are on, and whoever signs him will also get one of these.
So who will get him? And what do we really know about him, other than that he has filthy stuff? Jays fans are familiar with him, naturally, as are Marlins fans. But we who worship the pinstripes may be a bit hazy on his background.
For instance, what does “A.J.” stand for? “Alex Jeter?” Nope. His full name is Allan James Burnett, and he’s from North Little Rock, Arkansas.
His early career was with the aforementioned Marlins, for whom he threw a no-hitter in 2001. Lots of celebrating that night. Good, good times. (Never mind that he walked nine in the game.)
But then came 2003, when A.J. heard the worst three words a pitcher can hear: Tommy John Surgery.
He recovered, but was shut down in 2004 with an elbow injury. Shades of Carl Pavano?
In September of 2005, he suffered yet another injury – to his mind.
He flipped out after a bad game and ranted to a room full of reporters: “I’m sick of it, man! It’s depressing around here!” The next day he was instructed by the Marlins’ management to pack his bags and move on.
He landed with the Jays, where his 2006 season began with another injury. A piece of scar tissue – remnants from his Tommy John surgery – broke off inside his pitching arm.
He was on the disabled list again that year with arm soreness. Two more stints on the DL followed in ’07. And in ’08 he was out b/c he tore off his fingernail after getting it caught in a closing car door. I hate when that happens. He should have just grabbed some of this.
Life got a whole lot better for A.J. as 2008 went along. He ended up having a great season and bonded completely and forever with the Jays’ true ace.

I bet Halliday will be sad to see him go if the Jays don’t re-sign him. Here’s what Doc will miss about A.J.:
That Aztec tattoo on his right leg…..
That snarling look on the mound….
Which is eerily reminiscent of this man…..
And the blaring sounds of his favorite group, System of a Down.
If it’s the Yankees who win the A.J. Sweepstakes (and the toaster), I wonder how they’ll deal with his heavy metal proclivity. As far as I know, only “Enter Sandman” is allowed at the Stadium.
The outcome of the sweepstakes is unclear as of this writing. All that’s certain is that Mr. Burnett and his family are taking it easy down in Miramar, Florida, secure in the knowledge that they’re about to get way richer.


  1. Greg

    The first thought that always crosses my mind is that AJ Burnett is the pitching version of JD Drew. Great stuff, always hurt (except when they are in a contract / opt out of contract year.) They are both GREAT when they are in there, but getting the in there is the problem.

    Red Sox Ramblings: http://thevendahhh.mlblogs.com

  2. Jane Heller

    It always amazes me how players excel in their contract years, Greg. Never fails. So you think the Red Sox are really interested in Burnett or just kicking the tires? Seems you already have a good rotation.

  3. Jane Heller

    Not bad, Jeff. Juvenile is a given. But I’m not sure if he’s arrogant. For all I know, he helps little old ladies across the street.

  4. bostonredsoxgirl46

    Interesting… Allen James. I didn’t know that, or that he was from Arkansas for that matter… or that he has an Aztec tattoo on his leg. He’s a great pitcher, I remember I went to a Marlins game once, when he was pitching, and he recorded something ridiculous like 13 strikeouts.

  5. Jane Heller

    He’s been ridiculous against the Yankees, Elizabeth. Really tough on our hitters. If we get him at least we won’t have to face him.

  6. hseely@twcny.rr.com


    Perhaps some questions are not meant to be answered.

    In this era of federal wiretaps, we should be careful about delving so deeply into a human being’s tortured psyche. AJ may have, as a youngster, been traumatized by neighborhood bullies or circus clowns.

    I say simply this:

    AJ stands for AJ, as CC stands for CC.

    As long as they pitch for us, we must respect this central tenet of privacy, despite the responsibilities of chasing the truth that come with blogging.

    El duque

  7. Jane Heller

    I’m a fan of “Enter Sandman,” alex, but not heavy metal in general. I’m more of a Led Zep girl. If Robert Plant could pitch, I’d want him as the Yankees’ ace.

    El Duquester, you’re so right. I must contain myself from seeking the truth wherever it lies and be content with whatever appears on It Is High.

  8. neal07

    Oh, my god, seriously? AJ Burnett’s favorite band is System, the greatest ever assembled? I’m listening to them as we speak. They’re not quite heavy metal, most agree, but rather a genre of their own. They blend metal, softer rock, grassroots on occasion, and punk. So the metal classification may not be totally accurate. I know so much about that band it’s almost creepy. But wow, I had no idea AJ like SOAD. My wanting-him level just spiked.

  9. Jane Heller

    Neal, it just goes to show how clueless I am. I had never heard of SOAD before doing that post on Burnett. But I’m glad I could bring the news to you that you and AJ are soul mates in the music department!

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