A.J. Stands for “A Jokester,” It Turns Out

Sure, the Yankees invested $82.5 million in a pitcher who’s spent a good deal of time on the disabled list. But we also landed a guy who throws dirty, filthy, nasty, vile, vulgar, obscene, maggoty (help me, I’m running out of adjectives) stuff.
What’s more, he’ll be joining a rotation that will consist of


and either
(Who says we aren’t willing to go younger?)
The New York Yankees. Nothing but All-Stars. Please don’t hate us because we’re bountiful. We realize that money can’t buy a championship, trust me. It’s just that it makes things more entertaining during the off-season.
Back to A.J., our new prize. Did I mention that he threw a no-hitter against the Padres when he was a Marlin? That he led the NL in shutouts (5) in ’02? That he led the AL in strikeouts (231) last year? That he’s 5-0 lifetime against the Red Sox?
Well, here’s something you might not have known: A.J. Burnett is a jokester. He enjoys playing pranks on his teammates, as shown here with Doc Halladay.
So we’re not only getting a pitcher with dirty, filthy, nasty (blah blah) stuff. We’re getting a guy who’ll liven things up at the new Yankee Stadium.
Here’s a look at A.J.’s past antics. He’ll be worth every penny if he throws a pie at or dumps water on Joe Girardi.


  1. levelboss

    i don’t see AJ dumping Gatorade on CC..
    maybe on Johnny Damon or Nick Swisher though

    gotta spell out that rotation again..

    just sick

  2. Kylie

    Thank God we’re not playing the Yankees this year. I still can’t believe how badly we were embarrassed last year because somebody decided playing the Red Sox and Yankees at home would be a good idea. Sure it was–for the attendance. We were embarrassed in front of a larger crowd than normal–I was at two of those Yankee games where A-Rod signed three whole autographs.
    I never thought championships could be purchased, but I guess we’ll find out next October.
    Kylie — http://kylie.mlblogs.com

  3. Kylie

    Oh yeah, and unlike Leche, Jeter, and Andy, who are all adorable, this latest Yankee is not cute not terribly attractive ugly.

  4. The Iceman

    Hmmmm, let’s see now.
    Tampa’s got; James Shields, Scott Kazmir, Matt Garza, David Price.
    Boston’s got; Daisuke Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield.
    (Damn) Yankees got; C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Chien-Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain.
    and the Jays’ got Halladay, and…….that’s about it.
    Oh well, good for the Yankees…A.J. is a great addition. Let’s just hope he doesn’t hurt that arm of his slamming a shaving cream pie into A-Rod’s face after a game winner!!

  5. alexcoast2coastbball

    I still would have preffered signing Ben Sheets, but now that we’ve actually signed Burnett… i just can’t risk having two injury prone pitchers on the same staff. Sign Andy to that 1 year deal and our rotation sure looks dandy! we have a very energetic pitching staff this year too! AJ, CC, Joba… 3 out of 5 aint bad!
    -Alex H

  6. Jane Heller

    On paper, the rotation does look sick, levelboss. I just hope injuries don’t bite us and that everyone stays healthy – always a concern but especially so with AJ.

    Don’t feel bad, Kylie. The Yankees have been embarrassed plenty of times, and it stinks. What was really humiliating was when the teams we were supposed to beat – Pirates, Royals, O’s – would make us look like Little Leaguers. That’s when you know you’re not winning a championship. And yeah, the latest Yankee won’t be on the cover of People’s sexiest man alive issue. 🙂

    Iceman, your Jays have the one pitcher everybody would kill for. It may not be consolation when you look at other rotations, but it’s true. Halladay is the best there is, and if the Jays can build a young staff around him you’ll be in the mix, no question. And yeah, let’s hope AJ doesn’t strain himself throwing those pies. Nothing would surprise me after Pavano.

    I agree, Alex. Just sign Andy already. I wouldn’t mind a veteran presence on the staff at all.

    I know you wanted Burnett for the Braves, hardball, and it was looking good for awhile there. What can I say. Here’s what I don’t understand about the Braves though, so maybe you can enlighten me. If the Yankees have all this revenue from their cable TV station, the YES Network, why don’t the Braves have the same? TBS has been televising your games nationally for years, right? Doesn’t that bring in big dollars to ownership or do I have the wrong info? The other thing people forget is that the Yankees play in the largest city in the country. They fill their park with over 4 million fans a season. Can’t blame them for putting profits back into the team and wanting to keep the seats filled at the same time.

  7. welikeroywelikeroy

    On paper, that rotation looks a lot better. The A.L. East will be crazy this year! Burnett is a great talent, and a fun pitcher to watch on the mound. I liked having him in Toronto a lot. The Jays have to cutback and other aspects of our system to be successful. Hopefully Dustin McGowan can have a full season, healthy to replace Burnett. He has similar stuff to Burnett (i.e. 96 mph fastball, no as good of a curve, less control, better at holding runners). You will notice that Burnett cannot hold runners on base well at all, and struggles pitching out of the stretch. That assumes that he even lets a speedy runner on base the whole game, which he has tendancy not to do.

  8. Jane Heller

    Jeremy, I forgot about McGowan in my comment to Iceman. You’re right. He’s another good young pitcher on the Jays, along with Litsch. Regarding AJ not holding runners on, it seems to be a common problem with power pitchers. Clemens wasn’t great at it either. And Wang, a sinkerballer, has trouble pitching out of the stretch too. Not sure what that’s about. Thanks for the scouting report.

    Who knows, Paul. The Joba Debate has gone back and forth several times. I think he’ll start the season in the rotation and move to the pen late in the season. I always said he should be the heir apparent to Mo, but everybody shoots me down.

  9. The Iceman

    McGowan will be a great pitcher… in 2010 (oh oh I sound like Cito). Coming back from shoulder surgery may cause a little delay in his return to form. In all seriousness (is that a word?) though, I think the Jays can compete this year with the big boys in the east. Thats why we play the games right?

  10. Jane Heller

    Don’t listen to Cito, Iceman! He’s a downer! Of course, the Jays can compete. We were neck in neck with you guys last year for (gulp) third place.

  11. hardballblog

    Jane, yes the Braves were nationally televised on TBS for years. They however were sold to I believe Liberty Mutual and are no longer on TBS. Either way, Ted Turner was kind of cheap. He is worth billions of dollars yet the Braves only had an 80-100MM payroll. It also looks like Turner is going to buy back the Braves. Even so, I still believe there should be a salary cap. I think it creates a fair playing field so the game is based around scouting and developing instead of buying players. The NFL has it down well. My favorite team the Pittsburgh Steelers is the 2nd if not richest team in the NFL, but I still support it. Small markets need to have a fair chance despite the occasional miracle like the Marlins and Rays.

  12. Jane Heller

    Thanks for explaining the Braves/TBS connection, hardball. So Ted’s buying the team back? He must be bored raising buffalo! I take your point about a salary cap. But I can’t picture the Players Association going along with one. Not in this lifetime.

  13. juliasrants

    I wish the Yankees luck. But as you said Jane – money can’t always buy a championship. Our 2004 team – a self-named bunch of idiots & cowboys – proved that. The Red Sox-Yankee matchups are never dull. But does this mean that the games might go even longer, what will all the pie throwing & Gatorade dumping? We’ll have to lobby to have the games start earlier. It will be interesting to see the standings come next September.


  14. hardballblog

    Yea, I read an article not too long ago that said he wanted to buy them back and just needed to get a few things in order to allow him too. I don’t mind since I would get to see them on TV again (I live in PA), as long as he doesn’t cut salary. I just think that some of the smaller market teams like Kansas City, Florida, Tampa Bay, Washington, and Oakland could use some help. The game is becoming a money thing and not a scouting and developing thing. You can only scout and develop so much before you need to bring in a free agent for help, and they can’t do that most of the time.

  15. Jane Heller

    I love that the Yankees-Red Sox games are marathons, Julia. The longer the better. As you say, they’re never dull, even the blowouts.

    I hope Turner does buy back the Braves, hardball. Speaking of never dull, that man creates drama wherever he goes. Have you read his new autobiography?

  16. hseely@twcny.rr.com


    How much did Angelina pay to adopt that kid?

    I heard she got him for six years at $120 million. The price skyrocketed after Madonna got into it.

    el duque

  17. Jane Heller

    No, duque. You must have read that on Yahoo Sports. They’re not as reliable as Ken Davidoff or Pete Abe, who say Angelina’s deal for Maddox was five years at $82.5 million. The Braves are disappointed but are reported to be going after Maddox’s brother Pax.

  18. rabruzzese

    I read an article about him as a teammate recently. It seems like he’s a really great club house guy who likes to help out younger players. That could potentially be great for the guys like Hughes and Kennedy. If, a big if, he stays healthy he could be a big pickup. Of course he could be twice as bad as Pavano.

    Robert Abruzzese

  19. Jane Heller

    Hey, if Burnett is a good club house guy, so much the better, Rob. I just hope Hughes and Kennedy are #1 still with the club and #2 in the big leagues. Would be nice to see them succeed.

    Ted’s “memoirs” are on the bestseller list now, hardball. I saw him on “60 Minutes” and he’s quite a character as you know. Let me know how you like his book if you read it.

  20. jimmy27nyy


    A starting pitching rotation that includes: Joba; Wang; CC; and, A.J, is no joke … I don’t think there will be too many batters in baseball [especially, the American League], who will be “laughing” when they have to play the Yankees in the next few years !!! … Now, hopefully, the “Bronx Bombers” will improve their “hitting” … Have I mentioned the names, Mark Teixeira and Bobby Abreu enough times, already, that “maybe” Hank Steinbrenner would get the message ??? … Hank, stop thinking about Manny, and “sign” Tex and Abreu, so the middle of the Yankees lineup will be: (3) Abreu; (4) A-Rod; (5) Teixeira !!! … Go Yankees !!! … Take care, Jane !!! … Jimmy [27NYY] http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/

  21. Jane Heller

    Jimmy, if Hank hasn’t heard you by now, he’s just not reading our blogs!!!! But I definitely hear you and I agree that we need a #3 and/or #5 hitter to protect A-Rod in the lineup. Tex is looking doubtful and I have no interest in Manny, but I’d be all for bringing Abreu back.

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