'He belongs in a higher league'

Updated: April 22, 2004, 11:23 AM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
SAN FRANCISCO -- A.J. Pierzynski, whose last name resembles the bottom line of an eye chart, was taking a physical exam in spring training when he encountered an obstacle he couldn't overcome.

The bottom line of an eye chart.

"They have a line where the letters are about this big," Pierzynski said, holding his thumb and index finger a smidge apart. "I couldn't read it, so I asked the doctor, 'Can anybody read that line?' And he tells me, 'Yeah, Barry can.' "

Pierzynski, traded from Minnesota to San Francisco in November, was shocked to discover that an apartment rental in his new city is extravagant even for a catcher with a $3.5 million salary. But it didn't compare to his amazement over a discovery in the home clubhouse, when he realized that Barry Bonds is a better player in person than on television.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer