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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Random Thoughts Post Season Edition

Mets news? What Mets news? This is what happens during the MLB post season as the Commissioner’s office like for it teams not participating in the post season to lay low on news of their own. Sure it looks like the Cleveland Indians get a pass by hiring Terry Francona as their manger and knowing the kinship the Skill Sets have with The Used Car Salesman they have carte blanch as well. But with the Skill Sets looking to re-finance their massive debt of the team via its 65 % share of SNY we will have to wait a while to see if David Wright will be a Met for at least then next 6 years and if R.A. Dickey will receive his Cy Young Award as a NY Met as well.

So until then here are some random observations:

After listening to Sandy Alderson on with Mike Francesa earlier this week, it safe to say that Alderson is looking to add power, power and more power to his lineup. I would love to see him swing a deal with Toronto to add C J.P. Arencibia and CF Colby Rasmus to the Mets. I bet the price wouldn’t be that prohibitive to get both.  You fill two big holes with both players and I bet it wouldn’t take Jon Niese to get them either. Maybe Mejia, Familia and Duda ?

I’m pretty bummed that the two teams I’ve wanted to make it to the World Series, the Oakland A’s and SF Giants are both in big time trouble in a 2-0 hole in both their series.  Got to tip your Mets cap to the Reds for bouncing back after their Ace Johnny Cueto came out of game one with back spasms after one hitter.  Reliever Sam LeCure stepped up big time with a 1.2 relief stint that allowed Matt Laos to get up and warmed up to go 4 solid innings as to not tax the Reds relief corps. This is what I mean about teams like the Mets who accept failure and teams like the Reds that do what it takes to win.

I can’t believe some folks are still talking about the infield fly rule call in the Braves-Cards knockout game. The Braves are using Sam Holbrook’s bad judgment as a crutch for dropping this game. Did Holbrook make the wrong call? No. Did he stretch the interpretation of the infield fly rule? Yes. The infield fly rule is all about the umpire’s judgment and in Holbrooks judgment as bad as it may have been, Cards shortstop Pete Kozma was able to get in position to make a routine play on the fly ball hit by Anderlin Simons. The rule is in place to protect the runner from deception of a fielder dropping a routine fly ball in an attempt to get a double play, as the rule states batter is out, runners advance at their own risk. In the Braves case the runners Dan Uggla on 2nd and David Ross on 1st both advanced at that risk as the ball dropped between Kozma and LF’er Matt Holliday. So the Cardinals got the worst end of the play, not the Braves.  By the way once the infield fly rule is called it doesn’t matter which fielder makes the catch so again it would have been a more favorable outcome for the Cardinals if Matt Holliday made the catch since he was coming in on the ball which would have prevented Uggla from advancing to 3rd base. I love baseball!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This kills me but I have to give the Highlanders and C.C. Sabathia their due this morning. Sabathia put on a clinic on how to pound the ball low in the strike zone.

 

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IT COULD BE WORSE, WE COULD BE RED SOX FANS

First thing I read this morning pissed me off to the point I had to fire off an angry Tweet to the author, Rob Parker of ESPNNY.com. See when you lack the creativity gene, you end up writing shit like this. What the Mets have to do with the current mess on Yawkey Way is more than puzzling, in fact even with all the happy horseshit going on in Flushing, the Mets are in much better shape than the Old Town Team.

Speaking of that piece in the Boston Globe yesterday, the worst part of the story wasn’t that the team disintegrated down the stretch to where the majority of the players flat out quit, the worst part was the ownership taking personal pot shots at Terry Francona and the admitting that they had no idea how bad the situation was with the club. The attacks on Francona were as vile as could be bringing up his marital problems and use of pain killers for his destroyed knees, but to bring up the fact that Francona was concerned about his son and son in law, stationed in Afghanistan as a reason he wasn’t focused on his job, just showed the lack of class that trio possesses.

As angry as I was this morning, when I clicked on Metstradamus to check on todays, Hall of Hate matchup between the #1 seed The Wilpons vs. play in winner Matt Cain, I was greeted by one of the great paragraph’s I’ve seen on any Mets blog in a long, long time:

Oh, come on. I really gotta explain it to you? If I have to explain to you why you should hate Mets owner Fred Wilpon and his son Kim Kardashian, then this is obviously your first visit to any Mets blog, ever. This is the Wilpons’ first appearance on the hate list vote and they debut as a one seed. Honestly, the Wilpons can hang out in the clubhouse eating chicken, drinking beer, and playing MLB The Show on Playstation, and win this vote by a hefty margin.

O-o-o-o-o MY GOD!!!!!! Fred Wilpon and his son Kim Kardashian,O-o-o-o My God!!!!!! My side still hurts from that one,

Great news today on Gary Carter’s health Keep Fighting Kid.

The Cleveland Indians are trying to figure out what to do with centerfielder Grady Sizemore and RHP Fausto Carmona as both have expensive option up coming. Sizemore has been racked with injuries the last three seasons and last week underwent knee surgery, has a club option for $9mil that will not be picked up but the $500K buyout most likely will. I would take a flyer on Sizemore if I were the Mets and sign him to an incentive laden deal along with signing David DeJesus to patrol centerfield for the club. As for Carmona, he’s a Mike Pelfrey clone so that would be a NO!

The Pirates are in the same boat with LHP Paul Maholm who the Bucs owe $9.75M but have $750K buyout. Maholm would look nice in a Mets uni but is the price prohibitive?

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BRAVO OMAR

The best move Omar Minaya made yesterday was standing on the sidelines and doing nothing but take phone calls. Could the Mets use a Jason Bay or Manny Ramirez, (forget Jr. Griffey) of course but Minaya felt the price was too high player wise and he has realized it’s time to let the farmhands grow up to be Mets. I think a lot of fans feel the same way. It’s funny that when a player comes up through the teams farm system the fans seem to be more tolerant of mistakes and of lesser play than they are of guys who sign here for big free agent  money like Carlos Beltran or a money driven trade like Carlos Delgado and Johan Santana. So let Jon Niese, Dan Murphy, Eddie Kunz and the Teen Aged Hitting Machine come up and make their  debut in a pennant race. It may not pay off this year but it could pay huge dividends down the road. Mets management has finally come around to the mind set of build a team that will contend for a few years instead of the one and done approach the Skill Sets have been famous for during the reign. The Phillies and Marlins did nothing to have us take notice so with two months of baseball left let the race begin.

 

I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry Remy yesterday in Hyannis. He was appearing at a restaurant there for a local Cape Cod radio station and I ask him about Manny being traded and he was hoping that Manny would not be delt. I asked about clubhouse reaction to the latest Manny Being Manny episode and Remy felt they have all seen this before so it’s nothing new it’s more management being disrespected than anything that fueld this deal. After Manny said that the Sox didn’t deserve him that set off the front office who felt the team has been around over 100 years and they will still be around another 100 years Manny or no Manny. I think the players were relived as well that Manny is gone even if his bat can not be replaced but his lack of hustle and desire and his disrespect for Terry Francona had become a major issue. 

Go get’em tonight Petey!!!!!!!!!!!!

As much as I love being here on vacation I MISS THE METS!!!!!!! I miss watching and listening to Gary, Keith and Ron and I almost miss Yalloff and Mazzilli (I said ALMOST)

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