With last week’s announcement that Alex Rodriguez is suing everybody on the planet and thus launching himself to the forefront of sports history’s greatest villains, it became time to take a glance at baseball’s other great active villains and rank them in order and maybe (definitely) plaster evil mustaches on their faces.
Getty ImagesJoseph Gareri
10. Grant Balfour
The man behind the mob of fans in O.co Coliseum which calls themselves 'Balfour Rage.' The ex-A's closer, who reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with the Rays on Jan. 23, sprints out of the bullpen to heavy metal music and confronts batters when they look at him the wrong way (see 2013 ALDS). His aggressive nature and frequent screaming lands him on this list.
Getty ImagesStephen Dunn
9. Jonathan Papelbon
The Phillies closer is known for his foibles, but most notably he speaks out, sometimes at the expense of his team or teammates. In 2013 alone he voiced his distress over his team’s lack of leadership, his team’s lack of fundamentals after he blew a save and the 'absolute joke' of Yasiel Puig being considered for the NL All-Star team. Papelbon’s propensity for being opinionated and speaking out lands him on this list.
Getty ImagesDrew Hallowell
8. Bryce Harper
This young phenom gets the nod for people’s perception of his attitude. The Nationals outfielder is thought to be arrogant and disrespectful (he once blew a kiss to a pitcher after creaming a home run) but also the kind of talent anyone would love to have on their team. The reckless abandon and overconfidence he plays every game with makes him a polarizing player.
Getty ImagesMike Ehrmann
7. Brian Wilson
The dude needs no help in the evil facial hair department. Also, he went from the San Francisco Giants to the L.A. Dodgers .... the ultimate heel turn.
6. Josh Hamilton
The Angels outfielder is a high-risk high-reward player who lands on this list because of his inconsistency and massive salary. Since winning the AL MVP in 2010 – a season in which he hit .359 – his batting average has dropped every year all the way down to his .250 in 2013. Coincidentally, his annual salary has an inverse relationship with his dipping average. All that and the fact that he said his former team (Texas Rangers) is not situated in a 'true baseball town.'
Getty ImagesJeff Gross
5. Ian Kennedy
Throwing at the opposing players' heads – on purpose – twice in two innings is enough to get you on this list. That’s exactly what Kennedy did in a game against the Dodgers last season. The opposing players were Yasiel Puig and Zack Greinke and what ensued was a brawl. Kennedy routinely finishes amongst the league leaders in HBP (a statistical category that tallies the amount of times the pitcher plunks a batter) and he led all of MLB in 2012 with 14 victims.
Getty ImagesNorm Hall
4. Yasiel Puig
The Dodgers rookie outfielder erupted onto the baseball scene in midseason and consistently turned in one miraculous play for every bone-headed play he produced. His exuberance and pizazz coupled with his still-developing knowledge of the game caused fans (outside of LA) to perceive him as another young player with little respect for the integrity of the game – even Ian Kennedy was quoted saying Puig 'plays with a lot of arrogance.' His offseason dealings with the highway patrol have only fueled that fire.
Getty ImagesJustin Edmonds
3. A.J. Pierzynski
He’s an intense player and one who routinely tops lists such as: player you’d most like to see beaned, baseball’s meanest player, baseball’s most hated player, etc. … He runs across the pitcher’s mound after being thrown out at first. He celebrates after he makes a big play. He talks too much (according to his mother, 'His teachers used to say, ‘Oh my god, I hear him in my sleep.' '). He throws things and gets loud boos at many of America’s ballparks. But more than anything else, he embraces the role saying 'everyone wants a villain.' Oh, and he rocked frosted tips for way longer than is acceptable.
Getty ImagesLisa Blumenfeld
2. Ryan Braun
He won the NL MVP over Matt Kemp in 2011 and less than one month later tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Braun won an appeal of his 50-game suspension due to the mishandling of his test sample. Though after being linked to the anti-aging clinic Biogenesis - which outed many players including Alex Rodriguez - Braun accepted a suspension for 65 games and eventually apologized. Players then lined up to chastise Braun including Kemp and his LA teammate Skip Schumaker who stated 'watching him talk right now makes me sick.'
Getty ImagesMike McGinnis
1. Alex Rodriguez
PEDs, biggest contract in baseball history, 3 MVPs, centaur painting of himself, more PEDs, high-profile relationships, attempting to swat a ball out of a first baseman’s glove, suing of everybody ...