Book Review: Long Shot by Mike Piazza with Lonnie Wheeler

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.

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I’m Still Mad R.A. Dickey Is Not Starting The All Star Game And I’m Not To Affraid To Say It

I got myself in a bit of a Twitter pissing match today over the news that R.A. Dickey was not picked by Tony LaRussa to start the All Star Game tomorrow night. I, like the majority of Mets fans, are totally piss off that Dickey is not starting the game. I made it known on Twitter how pissed I am and how wrong it is that Dickley will not be on the bump for the bottom of the first inning tomorrow night.

I’m not a fan of Tony LaRussa who I’ve always felt is a self-important prick and his decision to start Matt Cain over Dickey just solidified that opinion of the so called genius. I have many reasons why I feel so strongly about Dickey starting the game tomorrow night, he’s earned it with a tremendous first half, his story is one of the most compelling in sports and is a lesson in perseverance and verifying that hard work pays off and he plays for the NY Mets.

Part of the nastiness of my Twit fit was being called out for getting too emotional about Dickey not getting the start and then I was hit with the always clever “who gives a shit who starts the game” I do. I care for the reasons I mention and the fact that he is a NY Met, the baseball team I live and die with. I don’t give a rats ass about any other player who was snubed by not being named to the team or the fact that Matt Cain has pitched well this season, all I care about is a guy writing one of the best rags to riches story is not in the spotlight because of a retired manager who had to have his final “look at me moment” didn’t do the right thing by giving the All Star Game,  a game most baseball fans have grown tired of, a reason to tune in to see the best that the American League has to offer try to hit that mysterious of pitches, the knuckleball and not just any knuckleball but an Angry Knuckleball.

The same folks who took me to task about my “emotional outburst” over Dickey not getting the start are folks I’ve had a bit of trouble understanding most recently.   I’ve tried to explain that the word fan comes from fanatic and when it comes to the teams I root for especially the NY Mets I am proud to say I’m a fanatic, and when I feel the Mets or a Mets player is unjustly treated I react and I’ll never apologize for that.

What’s makes the, I don’t want to say attack as that’s a bit strong but the nasty tone of the tweets is one of the tweeters who claims to be a big NY Rangers fan but felt it would be a shame if Martin Broduer left the NJ Devils. I tweeted back” fuck Marty Broduer, the Devils and Newark NJ”. I mean if you are a true Blue Rangers fan why would you give a rat’s ass if Broduer left Newark for say Toronto or Montreal? Fuck ‘em. Henrik Lundqvist is better any way.

This would be like saying it would be a shame if Jimmy Rollins went to an American League team, are you fucking kidding?

R.A. Dickey is too classy to rip the Genius for not starting him and he doesn’t have to , as R.A. has enough Mets fanatics to handle this injustice for him.

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THERE’S A PLACE CALLED HOPE AND IT’S IN QUEENS

First things first, my condolences to Dan Werthen  and his family for the loss of his brother, and prayers and good thought to Angel Pagan and his family as his daughter undergoes eye surgery.

Unlike this time last year, this playing out the schedule is not as depressing as last season. Mostly due to the young players who have shown promise and the win last night was an example of that. I loved how Keith Hernandez reacted to Gary Cohen’ query to whether the Mets should but on the suicide squeeze with Ruben Tejada at bat. Mex’ voice went up a couple of octaves when he answered “Why? Let him swing the bat” Hernandez then tried as delicately as he could to hint that these games men nothing but the fact that you can see what guys like Tejada and the other young’ens can do in a big spot. Tejada did swing the bat to the tune of a game winning double and for a guy who struggled at the plate it was a great reward for his perseverance.

The TV guys were also a bit critical of Jerry Manuel for lifting Big Pelf in the 8th with one out and one on and the score 2-1. It’s nice that Manuel is still managing like these games mean something but moves like that seem to me selfish on Manuel part, like he’s trying to prove a point that he can still manage even though he knows that Sunday is his last game as Mets manager. I would have loved to see Big Pelf work out of that situation.

As I opened with last night on my THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN RADIO SHOW, I watched the first hour of Ken Burns’ sequel to great BASEBALL nine part series, The Tenth Inning and found it disappointing. I would have loved to see more on the Montreal Expos, it would have been nice to get more in depth on the situation that led to the Expos leaving Montreal for DC.  The other gripe I have with the program is the timing of airing it the last week of baseball’s regular season.  The perfect time to schedule this program would be in February or March when we need to get our baseball fix.  I think that’s the reason I couldn’t get into the show last night as I kept wanting to checkout what the Mets, Highlanders, Rays and Reds were doing.

I have a bad feeling about Carlos Beltran’ right knee now that he was removed from last night’s game. Beltran is scheduled to go for an MRI this morning and hopefully he is on the same page with management on this doctor’s trip.

Today’s first game of the Mets-Brewski’s double dip is sponsored by Rosita’s Brazilian Hot Wax, today’s  matchup is Bush vs. Dickey,

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I CAN’T WAIT TO HEAR OMAR BUMBLE AND STUMBLE OVER THIS ONE

 

 

I think we are all beyond the point of being shocked when another player is stamped defective but in the case of Johan Santana the question is who in the organization knew his elbow was hurting and when did they know it?

 

Jerry Manuel claims that since the All Star break Santana had an issue with the elbow, if this is true, this makes the organization more inept than we ever imagined. As much as we fans give the team doctors and training staff holy hell for the injuries maybe our wrath is misguide and this is just another case of the front office being clueless once again ?

 

Did Santana go to Dan Werthen or Manuel and tell either one that his elbow was not right? Let’s say he did. Now wouldn’t they then go to Omar and tell him we have a problem and in turn wouldn’t Minaya send Santana straight to the doctor for an examination? At that point wouldn’t an MRI be ordered to see what was causing the discomfort in the elbow? This problem didn‘t happen yesterday or last week it seems the Mets have allowed Santana to pitch with a bum wing. Again who is in charge here?

 

We can all joke and laugh about who’s next to get hurt and sit and lament about us poor little Mets fans suffering through a lousy season but in all seriousness this organization is a total embarrassment from the owner to the GM to the coaches manager and players.

 

My biggest fear is not who will be injured next but it’s that the Mets are becoming the Pittsburgh Pirates.

 

Adding to my confused state is one Billy Wagner. What the fuck does this guy want? He has been praised here and every where on his hard work and perseverance at coming back from surgery to get back to the big leagues. The Mets tired to help him and themselves by placing him on waivers and letting him go to a contending team. Now he’s making all kinds of demands and looking to pitch close to his Virginia home. Well, where does he want to go? DC? Baltimore? Atlanta? Miami? Not one of those teams will pay him the kind of money he wants in the off season. It seems this will work in the Mets favor. As long as the offer him arbitration they either get a very good set up man or two more draft picks. Since Wagner is more worried about getting 400 saves than pitching in a post season it seems he will turn down arbitration sign with the Marlins and the Mets get two draft picks. Advantage Mets.

 

I don’t know what’s sadder that Santana is not starting tonight or that the best the Mets can come up with to take his spot is Nelly Figs?

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WORSE THAN THE SWINE FLU, THE PHILLIES ARE COMING TO TOWN

 

 

 

 

Maybe it’s that phenomena of the Mets playing down to the competition as they come off a 2-4 abbreviated road trip against the Bucs and Nats the suck and suck more teams of baseball and now the biggest three weeks of the Mets 2009 season starts tomorrow here in the Greatest City on the Planet against the Phucking Phillies in the biggest series of the season.

 

To start off this series I sat with an enemy correspondent , Bill Bear of Crashburn Alley who has been a guest on PRO BASEBALL CENTRAL and a guy I like to e mail back and forth during the season as I like to be an annoying ball breaker but even though Bill has a major character flaw being a Phucking Phillies fan he’s a good guy and is always great when he comes on PBC and I like his in depth stat work on Crashburn Alley so click here to read the Q & A I did with Bill .

 

Over at Jorge Says No they have a very good interview with Wally Backman who is now managing in the Northern League for the Joilet Jackhamers. Backman of course would love to get a shot at a big league managerial job and the hard work as a player and perseverance as a manager at the most obscure outposts of baseball only make his resolve stronger. Maybe some day he will be back in Flushing where his work ethic and passion for the game would be a boost for the organization and the fans.

 

Doug Branch at Mets Merized Online is getting drawn and quartered for a post that suggests that the Mets might look at being sellers and if they do maybe Carlos Beltran would be the guy to trade. Well if you read the comments Branch is called out for not only suggesting that the Mets become sellers but think about trading Beltran. I won’t speak for Branch but as for myself I’ll say I don’t want the Mets to be sellers and I don’t want to deal off Beltran but as I wrote in a post over the weekend maybe it’s time for the front office and ownership to take stock in what it is the team and what this franchise is looking to accomplish. The reason I think like this is that as much as I think Omar Minaya has done a pretty good job he could do much better and I never feel like there is a plan in place or a course of action for this team. Sure Omar went out and retooled the bullpen to the point it’s one of the best in baseball but he never addressed the need for a left fielder with power and seems to be more enthralled with finding players left on the side of the curb than being creative in making a deal for bona fide major league talent.

 

It is good though to see the Mets fan exuding passion like the commentators are doing on that site and of course here. Too bad that ownership is to inept to realize what a great fan base they have.

 

 

The Mets Police checked out the cuisine at Highlander Stadium and found it to be overpriced and bland just like its tenants.

 

After watching my kid’s soccer games yesterday I had to make a trip to the mall to buy a sports jacket (one that didn’t have METS or an NY on it but a sports jacket that adult men wear. The two that I own are way too big and my son is graduating from grammar school this Friday and I need to dress up like a grown up so hence the sports jacket. I guess it’s a shame that a soon to be 51 year old man owns just two pair of slacks but 12 pairs of jeans, and has more than 200 t-shirts and maybe three dress shirts, one pair of shoes but  2 pair of Cons’ 3 pair of running shoes, 2 pair of basketball shoes, and 2 pair of baseball cleats and the only neck ties I have are hand me downs from my brothers. I’d be more than happy to live everyday in shorts, a t shirt, flip flops and my Mets cap) when I returned home I relaxed by watching the Padres-D’Backs game that went to 18 innings. I picked the game up in the 10th inning and when it ended in the 18th I realized the D’Backs bullpen did not give up a hit from the 10th to the 18th inning an extra inning no hitter! The D’Backs blew a 6-0 lead and the Padres had shortstop Josh Wilson pitch the 18th and he almost got out of jam with two on and 0-2 count on Mark Reynolds before Reynolds put one just over the right field wall. Wilson by the way was a D’Back just a month ago before he was claimed by the Padres. Even stranger was of the 27,000 plus who were in attendance for the beginning of the game morphed into empty seats by the 18th inning.

 

I’ll leave you with this from Henry Aaron on the release of Tom Glavine and the apology from John Schuerholz:

 

“I wouldn’t have said anything if I were John Schuerholz. I think that was a mistake, because it was a no-win situation in his case, as much as [Schuerholz] tried to patch up the differences,” Aaron said. Then he laughed, adding, “This is the first time I’ve ever been on management’s side. I mean, Glavine got paid very well through the years to play here, and there’s never a good way to handle these situations. But if you’re the Braves, you’ve got to throw those kids out there and let them pitch. If you’re Glavine, you have to be gracious enough to step aside.”

 

Why don’t the Glavines of any sport do so? “The hardest thing for anybody — especially athletes — is to wake up in the morning and realize everything has stopped for them,” Aaron said. “The cheering. The booing. The traveling. All the things that you used to be doing are no longer there, and it’s hard for you to realize that, along with the idea of losing all of the money that I made. It’s just not there any more.

 

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