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As I’ve stated on this site more than a few times, I’m not a big fan of Mike Piazza. I acknowledge that he is an very talent hitter, not just a great hitting catcher but one of the best right handed hitters of his era. I’ve defended him against the witch hunt against him that kept from being a first ballot Hall of Famer and hope that someday the Mets retire his number 31. After reading Piazza’s autobiography, Long Shot (Simon & Shuster) I still believe he is a hall of famer player and that his 31 should be emblazoned on the Citi Field outfield wall and I’ve reinforced my feeling that Piazza is a self-centered, what’s in it for me kind of guy.
The book itself is a pretty good read and may have been a better read for me if I didn’t read it right after devouring Terry Francona’s book which was outstanding. But I give a lot of credit to Lonnie Wheeler who co-wrote the book with Piazza for putting the pieces of Piazza’s life and career together into this book.
Piazza destroys the myth about his relationship with Tommy Lasorda and how that relationship gave him the career he had. It’s no myth, it’s the etched in stone truth. The other revelation in this book is that Mike’s dad Vince was a typical overbearing Little League stage dad who was all in Mike’s business and the Dodgers baseball business as well. What’s sad about the relationship that Vince Piazza had with Tommy Lasorda and all the meddling both of them did with getting Mike a shot to make the big leagues is it overshadows the hard work and perseverance that Mike put in to get to the big leagues and have the great career he had.
Mike doesn’t seem to get that every time he had a problem with a minor league manager or coach and ran to daddy or his Dutch Uncle Tommy, it left a black mark on his reputation. Again to his credit Piazza let his bat do most of the talking as he rose up the ranks of the Dodger chain. The trip to the top though left Piazza bitter towards the organization as not many of the Dodgers minor league staff thought he was worthy of the prominent spot he had in the origination.
Piazza in some chapters enjoyed his time with the Mets and in some chapters he didn’t. He loved New York City and Mets fans as he was taken aback by the passion of the Mets fan base after playing in front of the laid back LA crowd. But had some differences with ownership and with of all people Mets P.R. man Jay Horowitz, who is beloved by everyone in the Mets org. Same as he blamed Vin Scully for turning Dodgers fans against him. Talk about delusional!
Piazza speaks unabashedly about his deep commitment to his Catholic faith but he also lists all the D-List Hollywood bimbos he bedded during his baseball career. He speaks of the deep friendship he enjoyed with Erick Karos, Todd Zeile John Franco and Al Leiter. But only Franco and Leiter attended his wedding, in fact it was at his wedding that Piazza realized that he burned a lot of bridges with teammates as his wife side of the church was filled with friends and his side was quite sparse.
Of course Piazza goes in to detail about his feud with Roger Clemens and the fact that he never confronted Clemens about his attempt to decapitate him. Piazza talked tough about confronting Clemens but when he had the chance at the 2004 All Star Game when he and Clemens, NL teammates met in private and Piazza had his chance to level Clemens did nothing. In fact Piazza talks about getting even with every pitcher who hit him with a pitch but the only one he went after was Guillermo Mota who mocked him by saying “how come you didn’t go after Clemens like you went after me”?
There is of course the chapter on supplements and what Piazza took and didn’t take which I read fast because I’m tired of reading and talking about PED’s.
As I said, Long Shot is an enjoyable read especially for Mets fans as the best part of the book is Piazza going into detail about the 1999 and 2000 seasons, his relationship with Bobby Valentine and his emotions following the 9/11 attacks and his home run against the Braves in the first game back after the attack.
Not much Mets on field news today as we await the official opening of camp tomorrow with pitchers and catcher ready to check in, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any off field Mets news.
Mike Piazza has written a book with Lonnie Wheeler called Long Shot (Simon & Shuster) which I hope to get my hands on tomorrow. But before the book drops, there have been some excerpts of what to expect in this tome that I can guarantee won’t come close to approaching R.A. Dickey’s book in both substance and style. If the excerpts I read this morning with my bagel and coffee are any example I hope I don’t get whiplash from all the head shaking I’m anticipating while reading Long Shot. You know what? That’s really not fair, I should hold final judgment until I read the complete work but still there are some things I’ve read so far that made me take notice.
Piazza is still haunted by Roger Clemens and the night he took one Clemens fastballs off the side of his head.
Piazza talks about taking karate lessons after the beaning with the premeditated thinking of confronting Clemens if or when he faced him again. That time came just about three months later in Game Two of the World Series when Clemens threw the barrel of a shattered bat at Piazza who did turn and walked toward Clemens but as he said:
“There were complications,” he ( Piazza) recalls. “The least of them was the realization that Clemens was a big guy, and I stood a pretty fair chance of getting my ass kicked in front of Yankee Stadium and the world. That was a legitimate concern.”
Maybe in the book Piazza goes into more detail and at least using getting tossed out a World Series game and possible suspension of another game in the series as reason for not charge at Clemens because turning tail fearing an ass kicking is mighty weak.
It seems not only was Piazza intimidated by big powerful pitchers he also got smacked around by ex-girlfriends as well:
One of his best-known girlfriends was Debbe Dunning, the actress who played the “Tool Time” girl on the hit comedy “Home Improvement.” One Halloween night when Dunning came over with a pumpkin and her dog, Piazza decided to break off the relationship.
There was screaming and crying and then the Tool Time girl waffled my ass,” he recalled. “I hadn’t taken a punch like that in a long time.”
Piazza speaks about taking androstenedione and of course everyone’s skirts go up in the air when they hear this. This morning on WFAN, Richard Neer was all up in arms over this revelation and in his ranting over this proclamation by Piazza failed to remember (I could see him falling asleep listening to his own voice) that Andro was both legal to use in MLB and was sold over the counter at health and nutrition stores like GNC. This never occurred to Neer who acted like he was Bobby Goren cracking a Major Case.
Piazza also fesses up to taking amphetamines which puts him a class with over three-quarters of those enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Piazza also states that he needed to grab some Vioxx on those days when the grind of squatting behind the plate was taking its toll. Vioxx,, a powerful anti-inflammatory has since been banned in the U.S. due to the bad side effects from the drug, the most harsh being death.
The excerpt goes on about the stories of Piazza’s sexuality and his rough relationship with Latin teammates, which will be more strained after the read his quotes about “Latin’s should learn English and not be as pampered as they are by MLB teams” and the “Latin Mafia” that had it in for him. Safe to say a managerial or coaching spot in pro baseball is not in the cards for Piazza.
Again I shouldn’t pass judgment on the book until I read it, I just pray it’s better than this book which may be the worst written book of all time
Every day I sit down to write a post about the Mets and every day I just stare at the screen, which is as blank as my mind. At the end of another disappointing Mets season, I felt this was going to be the off seasons of off seasons, heads rolling down Roosevelt Avenue and more of a purge of the losers personality that has permeated the Mets clubhouse the last few seasons but so far, other than David Wright committing to the club for the rest of his natural baseball life and R.A. Dickey getting exported to Canada, this Mets off season has been more a fart in the wind than a lion’s roar in the jungle.
I can see how and why many Mets fans are totally pissed off and feel the team is tanking the 2013 season and I guess I am too but for some reason I’ve comes to terms that this Mets team as put together right now will not be very good as I am buying in to the plan set forth by the baseball operations unit of the team. There is a plan in place and it’s to get younger and not be reliant on building the team via free agency. The Mets are the only team that hasn’t signed a ML free agent. Some fans are annoyed by this but me? I’m totally fine with it. I advocated the pursuit of Cody Ross, Shane Victorino and AJ Pierzynski but being that the supply of talent in the free agent market hasn’t met the demand those three players received more money and years than I ever thought they would.
No one can disagree that the outfielders on the Mets 40 man roster are less than major league caliber and I’m sure no one knows than better than Sandy Alderson and I’m sure Alderson will make some type of move to add at least one quality major league fly shagger before opening day. So while we wait for that move to be made, we can while away the time venting our outrage when we find out Mike Piazza has not been voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame due to the ineptness of the Baseball Writers Association of McCarthyism.
Another distraction has been my monitoring of the other teams I root for. Last night was as bad of a night I’ve had as a fan since Adam Wainright broke off that nasty curve to Carlos Beltran. I wasn’t confident that Notre Dame was going to beat Alabama but never did I think they would tank like they did. There’s not much more to say about the game other than it was an embarrassment but one thing I will address is the amount of Catholic bashing that I saw in my Twitter timeline last night. It’s one thing to attack ND as an institution but when you use the hashtag #CatholicsSuck that’s just shows what kind of person you are and most likely it’s not just Catholics you hate but figure it’s the one group you can vent your hatred about without repercussion.
I’ve never met Mike Piazza. People I know have met him and have had dealings with him and have told me some not so nice stories about him. When Piazza did not show or even send a video thank you as other members of that team did (Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Roger McDowell and Davey Johnson) at the SNY taping of the naming of the 50th anniversary all-time team, I asked around why the man named as the greatest catcher in Mets history wasn’t there, all I got was a lot of looking down on the ground and a some well…..ummmmmm…….aaaa…….’s as a response. I’ve never been a big Mike Piazza fan and for me it was from conversations with folks who dealt with him and just my sense that he was more of a “me” player, perfect example was his stubbornness to not take ground balls at first base until he broke the all-time record for home runs by a catcher. Even with all that bias I have against Piazza, I still think he’s a first ballot hall of famer and to tell you the honest truth I’m SHOCKED at all the negativity he has gotten from the voters in the Baseball Writers Association of America and it looks like what myself and every other Mets fan thought was a lead pipe cinch-Piazza going in as a first ballot HOF’er-isn’t going to happen.
The anti-Piazza block of scribes claims that due to nothing more than a case of back acne, Piazza is guilty of being a juicer. There’s absolutely no proof of a positive drug test nor was Piazza’s name mentioned in the Mitchell Report that links Piazza to usage of PED’s. For every voter who casts a ballot minus Piazza’ name on it, 1,000 Tweets of “You’re an asshole” hit Twitter. I’ve tried to figure out why these baseball writers would embarrass themselves by not only leaving Piazza off their ballot but be so public about it. My conclusion is it’s not about the steroids it’s that the writers just don’t like Mike.
Think about it, baseball writers and players have feuded for years. Ted Williams hated the Boston scribes and vice-versa. When Williams was inducted in 1966, 27 voters left the Splendid Splinter off their ballot. Look how long it took Eddie Murray and Jim Rice to be enshrined. Murray and Rice hated the press and made their life difficult so when the time came, the writers turned the tables on them with some out and out hate. How about Albert Belle? Take a look at the 10 seasons Belle but together and argue that he is not worthy of a plaque in Cooperstown. Do you know what percentage of votes Belle received? In 2006, his first season on the ballot, Belle got 7.7 % of the votes. In 2007 he garnered 3.5 % of the vote which in turn made him ineligible to be on any future ballot. A player who finished his career prematurely due to injury with a line of .295/.369/.564 and 381 HR 1239 RBI gets just two years on the ballot and goes from 7.7 % of the vote to a messily 3.5% ? Now that’s hate. I know Belle was a prick with ears to everyone he encountered in the game but it goes to show that when the members of the BBWAA can get revenge they go on an all-out assault, which in my very convoluted way brings me back to Mike Piazza.
I don’t recall Piazza having any real animosity with the media except for when the NY Post questioned his sexuality. Piazza was never a great quote machine (neither is the sainted Jeets) and I’ve never heard of any “feud” between Piazza and the media so this could just be something in my own mind that fuels the feeling the press is out to get Piazza. Other than that or a positive drug test how could you not vote for Mike Piazza for the baseball Hall of Fame?
As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, every year we cast our Hall of Fame ballot to compare our results with those of the Baseball Writers Association of America. I’m pretty sure my ballot is a lot different from many in the BBWAA who enjoy going on witch hunts rather doing real honest to goodness research on the candidates. Without further ado here is the ballot I just cast:
Only someone seeking attention would NOT cast a vote for Piazza, and this is coming from someone who is not overly found of the former Mets catcher. But I won’t let that cloud my view that Piazza was not only the best hitting catcher of his era but he was one of the best right handed hitters as well. The majority of BBWAA members who vow not to vote for Piazza because the suspect he was a PED user, even though they have no proof whatsoever except for their short attention minds, the same short attention minds that feel playing Words with Friends in a big league press box is more fun than actually watching the game they are being paid to cover, are just making ass’ of themselves. Piazza is a without a doubt first ballot Hall of Famer.
Again no proof of being a juicer but the voters of the BBWAA get their rocks off snubbing him on the ballot. His lifetime slashes of .297/.408/.540/.948 is certainly Hall worthy and when you add in the power (449 HR), speed (202 SB and only 78 CS) and defense, Bagwell was the total package as a ballplayer.
The other half of the Astros Killer B’s his 3,060 hits makes him an automatic
All of the main streamers hate Bonds and will hold off voting for him due to PED’s even without proof (remember Bonds was guilty of perjury the only charge the government could get to stick and made sure the tax payers of California paid a lot of money that could have went to building schools or hospitals to convict Bonds) but they voted him the MVP 7 times including 4 times during the Era of Taint.
I’ve come from not giving a shit about who took PED’s to today where I feel the game is much better and more enjoyable than it was during the Steroid Era. I still don’t feel the players who took PED’s were cheaters since my definition of a cheater is someone who breaks the rules and at the time there were no rules in MLB or in the CBA that said use of PED’s by players were against the rules. Players have taken narcotics and stimulants since the beginning of baseball time to get an advantage same as when players corked bats or went for Lasik surgery to better their eye sight, every athlete looks for an edge. Add in that the Steroid Era followed the cancelling of the second half of the 1994 season along with playoffs and World Series due to labor strife, the game needed something to bring back disgruntled paying customers and I’m still not convinced it wasn’t a juiced ball as much as juiced players . Even before the Era of Taint, Clemens was a Hall of Famer and with 354 Wins, 4,672 K and 7 Cy Young Awards, even though I hate ya’ Roger I gotta respect ya!
One of the most exciting and better players of his era Raines was right there with Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the cog that ran the Montreal Expos of the 1980’s. Raines stole an amazing 808 bases and was caught just 146 times in his 23 year career and was an on base machine.
Trammell could always find a way to get on base or hit you a Home Run or steal a base while playing a stellar shortstop.
Hey Bill Madden I saw Jack Morris play and he was damn good. If Morris were a Highlander for most of his career, Madden would have pleaded with his fellow BBWAA members to get him Hall of Fame enshrinement.
Win A Copy of The New York Mets 50 Greatest Players DVD from A & E Home Entertainment/ MLB Productions
Today we are giving away two (2) copies of the New York Mets 50 Greatest Players DVD courtesy of A & E Home Entertainment/MLB Productions. The DVD is set in a documentary style highlighting the 50 best players in the history of the NY Mets.
As I said I have two copies of the DVD to give away so, the first two people to tweet me at @kranepool with the correct answer to this question will be declared today’s winners:
How many games did Mike Piazza play as a member of the New York Mets ?
First two correct answers win the New York Mets 50 Greatest Players DVD courtesy of A & E Home entertainment/MLB Productions.
I’m heading out to Citi Field today but before I enter the ballpark I will stop at the Seaver entrance for a moment of quite thought and reflection of the worst day in the history of the NY Mets, June 15th 1977 the day Tom Seaver was shipped off to Cincinnati by the Incubus , M. Donald Grant and changed the fortunes of the Mets franchise. 35 years have passed and I still get a pain in my gut over this awful event.
On a much brighter note, today is also the anniversary of Keith Hernandez joining the Mets from the St Louis Cardinals and the 10th anniversary of the Mets-Highlanders and the first hook up of Piazza-Clemens since the infamous 2000 World Series bat tossing incident. Mets fans waited in anticipation for pitcher Shawn Estes’ drilling of Clemens as he stepped to the plate, but to our disappointment Estes gave a half ass attempt and threw behind Clemens ample ass and not his chin, oh well, maybe a jury in D.C. will gives us vindication.
For this and other events that happened on this day check out Chris Jaffe’s column at The Hardball Times.
Murray Chass is an ass. Today, Meshuga Murray is back on the” Mike Piazza is a juicer bandwagon”. Piazza is coming out with a book in February and Chass thinks Piazza is waiting for the results of the Hall of Fame vote to release his tome. For this Chass is on the war path, campaigning for HOF voters to bypass Piazza on their ballot. If Meshuga Murray has the goods on Piazza then why not let the world know? Maybe he’s saving it for a book?
I have a correction for the Tuesday appearances by former Mets Art Shamsky and Ed Charles. The Glider will be at the Citi Bank branch at 485 1st Ave in Manhattan (just off E 27 St) and Shamsky will be at the Citi Bank branch in Middle Village at 78-09 Metropolitan Ave. Both players will be signing autographs and taking pictures with fans from 12 Noon to 1:30 PM.
Isn’t it crazy how things work, for the next three days we have to root for the Highlanders as they head to D.C. to take on the Nationals. What can you say, that’s baseball Suzyn!
This Ike Davis Bobblehead was given out at MCU Park and is one my favorties
The New York Mets have released their schedule of bobblehead giveaways and each one is a must have if you are like me a serious bobblehead collector.
On Sunday April 22nd at 1:10PM vs. the SF Giants will be Tom Seaver Bobblehead Day
Saturday May 26th at 1:10PM vs. the SD Padres will be Rusty Staub Bobblehead Day
Sunday June 17th at 1:100PM vs. the Cincinnati Reds will be Keith Hernandez Bobblehead Day
Saturday July 21st at 1:10PM vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers will be Edgardo Alfonzo Bobblehead Day
Saturday August 25 at 1:10PM vs. Houston Astros will be Mike Piazza Bobblehead Day
An impressive list of bobblehead honorees even with the omission of Ed Kranepool Bobblehead day.
TicketsThe Mets are looking great this year and The Eddie Kranepool Society keeps you up to date on the good bad and the ugly. If you are looking for Mets Tickets, you must visit Coast To Coast Tickets for all your ticket needs. CTC carries MLB Tickets as well as some of the best priced Concert Tickets on the web and don't forget they also carry Yankees Tickets.
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