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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WOW IT REALLY IS PORT ST. LONESOME, WHERE IS EVERYONE?

At some point, Omar, Tony B, or J-Man need to grab Jeffey Skill Sets by his little neck and tell him to stop being a lackey for the Used Car Salesman. If it’s not slotting players in the draft, it’s not going over payroll to pay the luxury tax and now it’s this pain in the ass WBC that the Mets have sent 15 players to including Fernando Tatis as a fill in for the Tragically Hip Alex Rodriguez. Enough! Lets do what right for the NY Mets instead of following orders of the Whacky Professor. 

 

WOW our Pro Baseball Central show from this past Wednesday night has struck up major debate in the Mets-Phillies rival as Bill Bear of  Crashburn Alley got our “Irish up” when Joe and I  went on a positions by position comparison of the two NL East front runners. Check out Bill’ site for his mathematical break down of the two teams then listen to the show as Joe and I spit tobacco juice (sorry Bill that some of it got on your shoes)   and tighten the belt on our flannel uniforms and use old school thinking. Just hearing me defend Mariano Rivera is worth listening to. Yeah, that’s right I had to defend a Highlander and I’m pissed that Bill made me do that!

 

I’m not worried about John Maine even with him not feeling comfortable on the mound yesterday. Maine feels it his mechanics that are off and being that it’s early in spring and he’s coming off surgery to his wing as ling as he’s not hurting it’s just a matter of time before he gets his feel back on the mound.   

 

Ryan Church fouled a pitch off his knee. It hurt. He put ice on it. It feels better. In other words, keep moving nothing to see here.

 

Tommy LaSorda says “You pinko, pussy, sons of bitch’s better be rootin’ for the good ol’ U S of A in the WBC or you’re a fuckin traitor” “and buy a fuckin’ shirt or cap too”

 

Who? Santana? Nah, nobody here by that name.

 

I am very very much bummed out that Life On Mars is getting booted off ABC but my mood has brightened  considerably by word that Curb Your Enthusiasm with the cast of SEINFELD making appearances on the show as well is back in production and will return to TV in the fall. Just hearing the shows theme song makes me giddy! (wish I could link it but shhhhhhhhh I’m at work)

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