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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FOR JETS FANS, BASEBALL SEASON CAN’T GET HERE SOON ENOUGH

First let me offer my sympathies to those of you who root for the NY Jets as I can’t even imagine what that Mets/Jets daily double fandom is like. Last night myself and Kendrick Thomas co-hosted NY Football Blogs Live on Blog Talk Radio where we broke down the Jets-Dolphins game and looked at the road ahead for the Jets and a preview of tonight’s Giants-Vikings neutral site matchup at Ford Field. My rant against Brett Farve is worth a listen.

By the way, as bad as Jets strength and condition coach Sal Alosi’ un-sportsman like move, tripping Nolan  Carroll as he went down the side line on a punt return was, the cries for Alosi to be fired is comical. The NFL allows players who are convicted of DUI’s and vehicular homicide to thrive in the league but a coach doing something stupid should be burned at the stake.  If MLB operated like the NFL, The Used Car Salesman would be America’s number one villain. Maybe the NY Daily News Eye-Sore Team will stop wasting newsprint on the steroid witch hunt and do some real investigative reporting on the NFL.  Yeah, fat chance.

The Apple gets there Hudgens crossed, one Hudgens is a hitting coach the other gets hit on. By the way that picture of Reyes with the sign is fucking hilarious and the pic of the lovely Vanessa is museum quality.

Sandy Alderson has another thing in common with Mets fans, he won’t go out of his way to watch Oliver Perez pitch. I know there is a lot of talk about using OP as a LOOGY and there may be some merit in that move but Perez and Castillo represent the FAIL of the Minaya administration. Perez not accepting a minor league assignment to work out his pitching problems and Castillo after having a game winning hit last summer and acting like he just had a wisdom tooth pulled is exactly that kind of mindset that has to be eradicated in the Mets clubhouse . I’m on board with the patient Alderson approach but some things just can’t let simmer. Both Perez and Castillo need to be released.  

Johnny Cueto for Jose Reyes? I’d make that deal in a heartbeat if I were the Mets before Walt Jocketty sobers up.

Chris Jaffe has a terrific article up on The Hardball Times chronicling baseball mangers with the largest breaks in service form managerial jobs. He has a write up on Mets manager Terry Collins in the article.

“Hey Davis you suck” “Earn your money Baron”, LA Clipper fans heckling their point guard Baron Davis? Nope. It’s Clippers owner Donald Sterling sitting at courtside at the Staple Center berating his point guard during a game. I can’t get on Sterling too much, if I owned the Mets I’d probably act the same way.

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DRIVE BY POSTING

Last week at this time, it was Armageddon outside my house with rain and wind. Today, the sun is shining and the temperature’s soring to the mid-70’s today so this will be a real quickie post as  I’m going out to play, I may even break out the shorts, but before I head out a few items:

Looks like Mike Jacobs is the in line for the 25th spot on the roster as he not only will give Daniel Murphy a run at first base bit he is valuable and an emergency catcher. Jacobs has no problem stepping in if asked to catch, in fact he has order a catchers mitt and is working down in the bullpen to hone his skills. Carlos Delgado was a catcher at one time but he made it known under no circumstances would he go behind the plate.  One more reason why I’m glad Delgado’s gone.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports has a must read column on the shakedown artists at the World Anti-Doping Association who keep trying to embarrass MLB to the point it sends more cash it’s way for the witch hunt of chasing athletes for PED use.  I know the Congress and the President  have a lot on their plate these days but someone needs to reign in the FBI agents wasting money and man power chasing down Barry Bonds, Roger  Clemens and other athletes about their use of PED’s.  You want to say Bonds and Clemens are assholes ? You get no argument from me but if you’re going to start putting people in jail for that then Glen Beck needs to be on Death Row.

Jenry Mejia pitched yesterday and is slated to go again today. Not a good sign if you ask me. Looks like Manuel is pushing for Mejia to join the Mets bullpen when the right move would be to let him start in Buffalo. Also John Maine goes today against the Cardinals, time to step up Johnny.

The Nationals have sent Jesus Strasbug  to their minor league camp.  Look for Jesus to be resurrected sometime in May, as it will buy the Nats an extra year of control over the Savior.

Johan Santana BELIEVES!!!!! Someone has to I guess.

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RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY……………

With the witch hunt by guys like John Harper and the Legion of Ignoramuses A/K/A the callers to WFAN talking out their ass about Jose Reyes’ Thyroid (how is this for a man bites dog story, Joe Benigino and Evan Roberts are now the best and informative hosts on the station since they had an actual Endocrinologist on their show to talk about thyroids unlike the Hot Air Balloon that’s on from 1-6 whose show is as dated as the old Lawrence Welk shows that run on WLIW. I wish I had a tape of Francesa trying to figure out how Twitter works, did you see that Mikey? that was the 21st Century passing you by) and all the other righteous assholes dogging Mark McGwire  I thought about this song and how great would it have been if McGwire would have preformed it before Congress

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