The Westbury, New York Chili's announced Thursday that it had released former Twins catcher and 17-year MLB veteran A.J. Pierzynski from his job as kitchen manager.
"It just wasn't working out with A.J. It was time for us to part ways," said Tony Willman, the restaurant's general manager.
Pierzynski had allegedly been brought into the Chili's to provide leadership to a kitchen staff that had been messing up orders, showing up late and being disrespectful to servers, bar staff and even patrons.
According to multiple sources within the restaurant, Pierzynski only exacerbated the existing issues, and had become such a negative influence that co-workers approached Willman to address the problem. The common theme expressed was the catcher's seeming indifference toward the job and his constant references to his fellow employees as "choads."
"I should have seen this coming," admitted Willman. "He didn't need the money, obviously, and when he took the job, he kept making this gesture while I told him about our code of conduct." Willman then demonstrated a hand gesture commonly associated with male masturbation. "I honestly thought it was a thing he did when he was calling a game. Like 'sounds good, boss, let's go!' I guess that's not what he meant."
One example of Pierzynski's job performance was mentioned by multiple former co-workers, who revealed the two-time All-Star's propensity to spend a significant amount of time running a cockfighting ring in the restaurant's cooler. They said Pierzynski could often be found counting bills and watching two birds locked in bloodsport, mere inches from the Texas Cheese Fries. That incident paved the way for at least one complaint to management from a sous chef.
"I told A.J., there's no way this can be legal or safe," said the chef, who asked to remain anonymous. "A.J. said, 'What are you, a narc? Look at all this space and air conditioning, narc.' He pointed out a narrow footpath through the gore and feathers so we could get to the Loaded Potato Skins, then told me to, 'quit your bellyaching, whistledick.'"
It became obvious to those in this Long Island branch of the fast casual dining behemoth that this might be an oil-and-water situation. Pierzynski's personality wasn't conducive to the Chili's way of doing things, saying what he wanted when he wanted without much regard for the greater good. From the kitchen, he would yell across the restaurant that he was "going to take a ginormous dumper," or ridicule patrons who he deemed "wieners." It made many cringe. This wasn't the Chili's way, the one that had turned a single Dallas restaurant into a global brand.
While rumors of his behavior had circulated since he was hired, Chili's employees were trying to put on a good face in regard to Pierzynski's presence all the way up until he was laid off. But after his dismissal, the time had come to take stock of what was an experience unlike something many long-time employees had ever dealt with.
"On his last day, he walked through the restaurant giving everyone the bird and told everyone to enjoy the special sauce on the Bacon Ranch Quesadillas," said Britta Nguyen, a veteran server. "He then specified that the special sauce was his ejaculate, and that we were all jagoffs. Then he got in his Hummer and peeled out of the parking lot.
"He did this literally every day, so I didn't know he'd been let go until Tony pulled me aside and said so."