Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Adios, Mike

You're not going to believe this, but I like Mike Piazza. Now you'll notice that I didn't post a picture of him as a Met (I have my limits) and hope that he goes into the Hall as a Dodger (50-50 at best) but I respect the fact that he turned the Mets around and loaded up ye ol' bandwagon.

Oh true, I lost respect for the way he handled himself through the Roger Clemens stuff of 2000. When Clemens clanked him on the crown that year, Piazza acted like a spoiled victim. Instead of taking Roger's clubhouse call to talk about it, Piazza called him out in a press conference. He came off as whiny to me.

But man, he could freakin' hit. And he bombed the Yankees. And I don't ignore the post-9/11 home run that he hit against the Braves.

He was otherwise a man's man. OK, a bit of a metrosexual, but it's all good. Hell, he even inspired Belle and Sebastian's song, "Piazza New York Catcher" with this lyric:
San Francisco’s calling us, the Giants and Mets will play
Piazza, New York catcher, are you straight or are you gay?
The truth was that Piazza was not gay, and married a former "Baywatch" babe.

He seemed like a guy, to me, that was worth hanging out with. One who was great with the fans. A really solid guy, and a great ballplayer. The Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Padres, and A's were all better with you, and I think the Yankees would have been intriguing.

Shockingly, my hat's off to you, Mike. Even if it doesn't have the interlocking NY that you wore on it.

At the end of "Mike and the Mad Dog" on WFAN, Mike Francesa let colleague Sal Licata, a huge Mets fan, pick one highlight to end the show with. What did he choose? The no-brainer (the post-9/11 bomb)? A home run off the Yankees? A fogotten game-winner? NO! He picks a shot off John Smoltz in the 1999 NLCS that tied a game that the Mets would lose. Once again, total ass-hattery from Mets fans!

That would be like me saying my favorite Alfonso Soriano moment is when he homered off Curt Schilling in Game Seven of the 2001 World Series. How the bleep did that turn out?


So I'll leave you with my favorite Piazza moment. Since MLB has gotten rather weenie-ish with regard to posting audio and video, I'll write the words down. Sing along!
(Joe Buck) Piazza gets into one to center! Back is Bernie Williams...a threepeat!
Maybe you would prefer John Sterling's version, which included the all-important words:
Ballgame over! World Series over! Yankees win...
You know the rest.

Good times, good times.

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