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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Neyer: All Mike Piazza wants is your love

Behold!

Mike Piazza’s got a new autobiography in the bookstores, and I spent a week sort of semi-obsessed with it.  I can’t figure out precisely why this particular ex-ballplayer’s memoir got inside my head. But I have a couple of ideas.

One, the book is exceptionally well-written, which isn’t all that surprising, considering Piazza’s co-author was Lonnie Wheeler, who’s written or co-written a number of fine books over the years… And two, Mike Piazza—and I should be very clear that when I write “Mike Piazza,” I’m referring to the character we meet in the book—comes across as something of a case study in narcissism…

Mike Piazza really, really, really gives a damn what everybody thinks about him.

He really wants you to think he was a great hitter. Piazza hit 427 home runs in his career, and he mentions something like a hundred of them. He’s got the record for the most home runs by a catcher. And right after the section where he talks about breaking the old record, he launches into an extended discourse about what a great player he was. Like he’s trying to convince us, yes ... but also as if maybe he’s trying to convince himself.

He really wants us to think he’s not gay, and that beautiful women—Playboy models mostly, and Baywatch actresses—find him incredibly appealing. I wish the otherwise-estimable index listed mentions of “Playmate”, “Baywatch”, and “actress”. But there are a lot of them in there…

I really can’t recommend this book to readers. Again, it’s well-written. But there just isn’t enough material that isn’t Mike Piazza begging for validation…

here’s the one paragraph that best encapsulates Piazza in all his pleading, narcissistic glory:

I’d be less than truthful if I didn’t admit my legacy is something I ponder quite a bit. Mostly, it bewilders me. I honestly don’t know why it is, exactly, that, from start to finish, I’ve been the object of so much controversy, resentment, skepticism, scrutiny, criticism, rumor, and doubt. I’ve thought about it quite a bit. Maybe it’s because my dad was rich. Maybe it’s because Tommy Lasorda looked after me. Maybe it’s because, off the field, I didn’t make much news on my own account and the press figured it had to latch on to something that resembled it. Maybe it’s because I was a jerk from time to time. Whatever the reason, I suppose I might be a little oversensitive about it all, except that I feel I’m defending more than just my reputation. I’m standing up for what I consider to be—deeply wish to be—a fundamentally and triumphantly American story.

That’s some speech. I doubt if those words came straight from Mike Piazza’s lips. Which is one reason I’m reluctant to engage in psychoanalysis (the other is that I’m incredibly unqualified). But the “Mike Piazza” within the pages of this book is a sad, lonely man who seems little closer to adulthood than the brat who blew off Roy Campanella’s funeral 20 years ago.

The District Attorney Posted: March 03, 2013 at 05:10 PM | 71 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, books, dodgers, marlins, mets, mike piazza, padres, rob neyer

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   1. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: March 04, 2013 at 08:42 AM (#4380027)
I agree with this assessment. I just finished the book and went from a Mike Piazza fan to not liking the guy very much. Oh, and he watches Fox News all the time.
   2. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 04, 2013 at 09:06 AM (#4380030)
I can't imagine what it would be like to live a life in which dozens (and now with Twitter, thousands) of people who don't know you from a hole in the ground are publicly criticizing your appearance, actions, motivations and emotions. I'd like to think I'm grounded enough and have enough self esteem to have handle somwething like that now, but I probably wouldn't have been in my early 20's.

The whole furor over Anne Hathaway's Oscar dress, which was bad enough for her to issue a public apology for wearing it, really makes me question our whole society in regards to how we relate to stars.
   3. morineko Posted: March 04, 2013 at 10:21 AM (#4380067)
I found the book incredibly interesting, but I think part of that has to do with the fact I didn't watch baseball for nearly the entirety of Piazza's MLB career--almost all that drama Neyer talks about, I missed and knew nothing about. It's the story of the cultural shift between the 1980s and today in baseball.

Also, Neyer, like a lot of Americans, is confusing wealth and class: the Piazzas had wealth, sure, but they're never going to make it into a certain social class. All the being in the right place at the right time isn't going to fix it.
   4. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 04, 2013 at 10:43 AM (#4380079)
I always liked Piazza but I was disappointed he didn't actually appear in Teen Wolf.
   5. Delorians Posted: March 04, 2013 at 10:44 AM (#4380080)
Neyer: All Mike Piazza wants is your love

Just don't mention anything to Mark Knudson.
   6. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 04, 2013 at 10:56 AM (#4380090)
I've only read the excerpt, but was Piazza actually the subject of more controversy or criticism than other star ballplayers, particularly other star ballplayers in LA and NY? I think most people came down on his side in the Clemens saga, but perhaps that was just my biased view as a Mets fan.
   7. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 04, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4380103)
I’m standing up for what I consider to be—deeply wish to be—a fundamentally and triumphantly American story.
This sounds like lot of people I know and work with. They were born to wealth and had opportunities available to them that most people didn't. They've worked hard and become successful but seem to feel both a little guilty that they started off on second base and a little annoyed that their success isn't celebrated as that of someone who truly came up from nothing. Piazza seems to be feeling both in spades.
   8. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 04, 2013 at 11:36 AM (#4380121)
I think most people came down on his side in the Clemens saga, but perhaps that was just my biased view as a Mets fan.


It seemed to me that almost everyone came down on his side.
   9. Guapo Posted: March 04, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4380127)
Was there a controversy involving Piazza blowing off Roy Campanella's funeral? I don't remember that and couldn't find anything in the google news archives. At the time Piazza was a rookie with about 3 months of ML experience, so hard to believe his absence would have been that notable.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: March 04, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4380131)
think most people came down on his side in the Clemens saga, but perhaps that was just my biased view as a Mets fan.


It seemed to me that almost everyone came down on his side.

While it's possible to chalk the whole thing up as a bunch of nothing, if you're going to take a side, it's damn near impossible to come down on Clemens' side unless you're some kind of psychopath.

Guy hits other guy in the head with fastball.

In very next meeting, guy who hit guy in the head throws broken bat in general direciton of guy he previously beaned.

The End.

   11. Nasty Nate Posted: March 04, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4380134)
I've only read the excerpt, but was Piazza actually the subject of more controversy or criticism than other star ballplayers, particularly other star ballplayers in LA and NY?


I don't think he was; that's why the reviewer calls him narcissistic.
   12. PreservedFish Posted: March 04, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4380136)
The only thing that bothers me in the excerpt is the bit about his life being importantly representative of the American success story. Otherwise Piazza is admitting that he cares about his reputation and is candid about how much the gossip and doubt bothers him. Is that being narcissistic or self-aware?
   13. Depressoteric Posted: March 04, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4380144)
Yeah, I'm in the same boat as PreservedFish's #12 here. If being self aware and caring a lot about what other people think about you is now something we're declaring "borderline narcissism" then you've just pathologized something like 50% of humanity.
   14. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 04, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4380149)
While it's possible to chalk the whole thing up as a bunch of nothing, if you're going to take a side, it's damn near impossible to come down on Clemens' side unless you're some kind of psychopath.


By the way, I can't actually recall a single person, anywhere, defending Clemens.

Other than me, of course.

Who knows because we're not in his head, but I can see him being so amp'd up by the situation -- World Series and the Piazza issue -- that when the bat piece comes flying at him, he initially thinks it's the ball and by the time he picks it up he realizes it's the bat and just kind of aggressively chucks it off the field. No reason for Piazza to be running down the line on a foul ball and Clemens did not wing it in the air at him, but rather threw it into the ground. Clemens then seems a bit out of it and -- this would be an odd reaction for someone who threw a bat at someone -- isn't ready for a fight, isn't looking for a fight, isn't expecting a fight. Has turned the other way and is asking for another ball, even tells Piazza that he thought it was the ball... That reaction doesn't really square with someone who intended to peg someone else with a bat.

Guy hits other guy in the head with fastball.

In very next meeting, guy who hit guy in the head throws broken bat in general direciton of guy he previously beaned.

The End.


The problem is that the bat coming at Clemens there was a million to one. You act as if bats come flying at pitchers every inning, and this time Clemens picked it up and tried to bean Piazza with it.

And again, there was no reason for Piazza to be halfway down the line, and the reaction by Clemens _after_ he threw it was bizarre.

I'm not saying Clemens couldn't have seen Piazza there and in the heat of the moment purposely threw the bat at him, but the certainty with which other people can read Clemens's mind and tell you exactly what he was thinking in a bizarre situation is laughable.
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: March 04, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4380155)
The problem is that the bat coming at Clemens there was a million to one. You act as if bats come flying at pitchers every inning, and this time Clemens picked it up and tried to bean Piazza with it.

And again, there was no reason for Piazza to be halfway down the line, and the reaction by Clemens _after_ he threw it was bizarre.

I'm not saying Clemens couldn't have seen Piazza there and in the heat of the moment purposely threw the bat at him, but the certainty with which other people can read Clemens's mind and tell you exactly what he was thinking in a bizarre situation is laughable.


I'm not saying anything about Clemens' actions. I was merely pointing out that if you're going to take a side in the matter of Clemens v. Piazza, there's no justification to come down as pro-Clemens/anti-Piazza. You can be neutral on the matter or pro-Piazza, but you can't be pro-Clemens because Piazza never did anything. He had a ball hit him in the head and a bat shard thrown in his general direction. That's the extent of his involvement.

I suppose you could be upset at him for being halfway down the line when he had no reason to be, but that's kind of a bizarre thing to criticize a guy for.
   16. Moeball Posted: March 04, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4380163)
One, the book is exceptionally well-written


Maybe, but not very well researched. Mr. Piazza, when you decide to put into print that Vin Scully threw you under the bus in an interview back in 1998, it might behoove you to actually look up said interview online and watch it again - like thousands of people have done after the book came out. Scully was his usual professional self in the very interview Piazza was referencing and in no way even remotely threw Piazza under any bus. Now that many people have obviously pointed this out to Piazza he is backpedaling on the Scully comments, but it never should have come to this. Piazza's comments never should have made it into the book in the first place and probably wouldn't have, if Piazza had bothered to learn how to use a computer. This is the internet age, Mike - as Casey Stengel used to say, "You could look it up".

Also, Neyer, like a lot of Americans, is confusing wealth and class: the Piazzas had wealth, sure, but they're never going to make it into a certain social class. All the being in the right place at the right time isn't going to fix it.


This is hilarious. Someone still thinks "class" matters. This is a throwback to an attitude of a time that is no longer with us, thank goodness. "Class" is about being "born into" a certain social strata, and 100% of the people who ever believed in that BS believe that it was "God's will" or some idiotic such thing that they "deserve" to be "better" than others. I've got news for you - it wasn't true in the year 585, it wasn't true in 1585, it wasn't true in 1985, it isn't true now, and it will NEVER be true. It's BS, and the public at large doesn't buy the BS any more. Furthermore, all the organizations based on this attitude - that only "the right people" can belong to - are dinosaurs that are gradually dying out - deservedly so. Welcome to the 21st century.
   17. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 04, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4380165)
I'm pro-Clemens because the word on the street is that Piazza is a sad, lonely brat who blew off Roy Campanella’s funeral 20 years ago.
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: March 04, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4380168)
I'm pro-Clemens because the word on the street is that Piazza is a sad, lonely brat who blew off Roy Campanella’s funeral 20 years ago.


And with Roger having been a pallbearer, the contrast is really stark.

   19. bookbook Posted: March 04, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4380170)
Money, fame, and spectacular success never feel like enough. That is the quintessentially American story.
(I attended a lecture once where the speaker talks about meeting Robert Redford, who spent their whole conversation complaining that he wasn't Paul Newman)
   20. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 04, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4380171)
What was the Scully controversy?
   21. SoSH U at work Posted: March 04, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4380173)
What was the Scully controversy?


Mike thought Vin was a big meanie.
   22. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 04, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4380178)
I'm not saying anything about Clemens' actions. I was merely pointing out that if you're going to take a side in the matter of Clemens v. Piazza, there's no justification to come down as pro-Clemens/anti-Piazza. You can be neutral on the matter or pro-Piazza, but you can't be pro-Clemens because Piazza never did anything.


Sure he did. He acted like a jackass and concluded that Clemens had hit him on purpose. He approached Clemens aggressively on the field. He refused to take Clemens's call after the game. Perhaps he was justified in that, perhaps not.

He had a ball hit him in the head and a bat shard thrown in his general direction. That's the extent of his involvement.


No. He helped escalate the situation on the field, and then fanned the flames off the field by refusing to take Clemens's call and going along with the media hype about a non-issue.

Yes, a non-issue. Piazza had had success off of Clemens. Big whoop. Then Clemens went up and in on him and it hit him in the head. Big whoop. There's no evidence Clemens was throwing at him. I watched Clemens pitch in maybe 100 games. When Clemens wanted to hit someone it was clear: he threw right at their waist. Clemens did not hit people in the head because they had success off of him. Please show me evidence of that general pattern on his part. Clemens would back people off the plate, sure. He would never intentionally bean them in the head. The entire "controversy" heading into the World Series was media-generated, mostly because they thought the Subway Series was a big deal, and Piazza bought in.
   23. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: March 04, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4380182)
"Class" is about being "born into" a certain social strata, and 100% of the people who ever believed in that BS believe that it was "God's will" or some idiotic such thing


Well, there obviously still is (and was) such a thing as class as distinct from wealth in America. Go read the Great Gatsby, or see the kind of culture in which college professors (relatively poor) and truck drivers (relatively rich) live. Try to get yourself into a Manhattan co-op based on wealth alone.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: March 04, 2013 at 01:08 PM (#4380184)
By the way, I can't actually recall a single person, anywhere, defending Clemens.

Other than me, of course.


I'm fairly certain I came down on the side of the equation that said "Ehh, it was nothing, probably not intentional, you Mets fans are reading way too much into it" side of the equation.


   25. PreservedFish Posted: March 04, 2013 at 01:12 PM (#4380189)
I think there are not many communities in America in which there is an important distinction between class and wealth. I grew up in the Manhattan private school world, so I met and knew some "old money" people, but even in that world it seemed like a thing that only a minority of people cared about.
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: March 04, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4380192)
Yes, a non-issue. Piazza had had success off of Clemens. Big whoop. Then Clemens went up and in on him and it hit him in the head. Big whoop.


Getting hit in the head is something that tends to bother guys, regardless of intent.

Piazza had a few angry words on the field, but went no further. And he didn't take Roger's phone call. If you want the textbook definition of "big whoop," there it is.

You're free to defend Clemens' actions as insifignificant, and you can even do so without being a total moron. But you can't make a credible case against Piazza without coming off as a lunatic Roger fanboy. Sorry, it's not possible.
   27. KT's Pot Arb Posted: March 04, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4380231)
All Mike Piazza wants is your love


So he is gay?
   28. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller Posted: March 04, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4380242)
Putting aside the question of whether we should even be talking about class as distinct from economic class in 2013, didn't Piazza grow up extremely wealthy? I mean, it's not like he's Kevin Mitchell or learned to catch using a ribcage for a chest protector a la Tracy Jordan
   29. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: March 04, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4380284)
BY THE WAY, talk about burying the lead. From Page 268:

On one baseball website, the fashion was to post gay jokes under my same. They called it Piazza-posting.


Does he mean you guys?
   30. Greg K Posted: March 04, 2013 at 03:21 PM (#4380322)
At the risk of offending any British folk here (or Americans for that matter), I've always thought race seemed like a popular prism through which to view American history and society. Not saying it is the best way, or necessarily an accurate way, but for some people (Ken Burns springs to mind) race is the central theme of American history.

I'm discovering that class can play a very similar role in English culture/history. There are a lot more visible (and perhaps more imporantly audible) class distinctions here, and it plays a larger role in how people interact. I mean, class exists in North America. My mother's family comes from an academic background, while my dad's are rural working class. The two family gatherings are very different affairs that call for fairly different behaviour. But class divisions are somehow much more evident in the UK.

I'm not sure what Canada's dominant theme revolves around...Quebec separatism/distinct society business? Regionalist Rivalry? Its inferiority complex regarding America?
   31. Greg K Posted: March 04, 2013 at 03:26 PM (#4380328)
Adding to my poorly thought out post...

Has anyone seen the American version of Shameless? I've only seen the British show, so much of it is bound up in distinctly British ideas about class that I'd be curious how it would translate. Not that I don't think it can. The two Offices are a pretty interesting study in how a show can adapt to a new cultural context and manage to be different and yet still a good show.
   32. Swedish Chef Posted: March 04, 2013 at 03:38 PM (#4380342)
But class divisions are somehow much more evident in the UK.

I think it has become more about the money in the UK too the last thirty-forty years or so. But class in the UK used to be about a whole lot other markers than money, the best a millionaire from the working classes could hope for was to get his children accepted in high society. The flip side is that being poor wasn't a disqualifier from being part of the upper classes.
   33. mendozaline Posted: March 04, 2013 at 03:49 PM (#4380357)
Piazza was a great hitter but is the biggest PU$$Y in baseball history.

He gets pluncked in the head by Clemens.
He's upset and refuses to speak with him after Clemens calls the clubhouse to speak with you probably to apologize and tell you the ball got away.

Piazza then faces Clemens in the World Series and gets his bat shattered by Clemens, who proceeds to throw said broken bat in Piazza's way. The fact that he just stood there and whinned like a little girl was pretty pathetic. So what if they would have thrown you out of the game. You may have given you team the spark they needed.

You then admit in a book you were taking karate lessons in case you ran up against Clemens against. I'm pretty sure you played him again the next year in an interleague game.
   34. JJ1986 Posted: March 04, 2013 at 03:55 PM (#4380369)
I'm pretty sure you played him again the next year in an interleague game.


Nope.
   35. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 04, 2013 at 04:06 PM (#4380384)
At the risk of offending any British folk here (or Americans for that matter), I've always thought race seemed like a popular prism through which to view American history and society. Not saying it is the best way, or necessarily an accurate way, but for some people (Ken Burns springs to mind) race is the central theme of American history.

I'm discovering that class can play a very similar role in English culture/history. There are a lot more visible (and perhaps more imporantly audible) class distinctions here, and it plays a larger role in how people interact. I mean, class exists in North America. My mother's family comes from an academic background, while my dad's are rural working class. The two family gatherings are very different affairs that call for fairly different behaviour. But class divisions are somehow much more evident in the UK.


I think that's 100% spot on.
   36. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 04, 2013 at 04:14 PM (#4380400)
If being self aware and caring a lot about what other people think about you is now something we're declaring "borderline narcissism" then you've just pathologized something like 50% of humanity.


Indeed. Moreover, I've observed a lot more narcissism (amateur diagnosis, of course) amongst the "I don't give a f*** what people think, I do what I WANT" crowd.
   37. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 04, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4380408)
You then admit in a book you were taking karate lessons in case you ran up against Clemens against.


This is like practicing really hard to call a girl up and ask her out after you failed to take the earlier opportunity, but you're ultimately so afraid you never do it.

Piazza admitted in the book that part of him was afraid Clemens would kick his ass.
   38. Greg K Posted: March 04, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4380413)
Tywin: You spend too much time worrying what other people think of you.

Jaime: I could care less what people think of me.

Tywin: That's what you want people to think of you.

[editorial comment: apparently the Kingslayer hasn't been reading our grammar threads]
   39. Greg K Posted: March 04, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4380419)

This is like practicing really hard to call a girl up and ask her out after you failed to take the earlier opportunity, but you're ultimately so afraid you never do it.

What a pathetic waste of time. I always knew I'd be ultimately too scared to do it so I spent my time doing valuable things like sorting baseball cards rather than practicing talking to girls.
   40. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: March 04, 2013 at 04:30 PM (#4380427)
This is like practicing really hard to call a girl up and ask her out after you failed to take the earlier opportunity, but you're ultimately so afraid you never do it.

Piazza admitted in the book that part of him was afraid Clemens would kick his ass.


This is the bizarre part, for most competitive athletes admitting something like that would be harder than anything else on the list - admitting it takes more courage than actually fighting Clemens would have taken...
   41. Zach Posted: March 04, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4380432)
I've always thought race seemed like a popular prism through which to view American history and society. Not saying it is the best way, or necessarily an accurate way, but for some people (Ken Burns springs to mind) race is the central theme of American history.

Some people try to do this, but I don't think it ultimately works. Slavery was, of course, one of the largest and most controversial institutions in American history, and segregation/civil rights were as well. But I don't think there were any Americans who would have argued that slavery was the point, the goal, the thing that they actually wanted to get out of the American experience. It was an ugly means to an end.

In contrast, there are lots of people who came to America for the purpose of religious expression, for example. Lots of towns got founded by religious orders or were consciously designed with religious principles in mind. There were many, many people who saw freedom of religion as their primary goal, and there have been four or five revival movements that more or less shaped public life for a generation or so. You could make similar arguments with respect to economic prosperity or the expansion into unsettled lands.
   42. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: March 04, 2013 at 04:53 PM (#4380447)
Oh, and he watches Fox News all the time.

Burn the heretic! BURN HIM!!!
   43. The Good Face Posted: March 04, 2013 at 04:54 PM (#4380451)
This is the bizarre part, for most competitive athletes admitting something like that would be harder than anything else on the list - admitting it takes more courage than actually fighting Clemens would have taken...


Yeah, that struck a note with me as well. Of course, Clemens was a BIG guy, and had a reputation for being aggressive and intense; I don't think it's a huge loss of face for a ballplayer outside the McGwire/Bonds/Bagwell weight class to balk at tussling with Clemens and admit it in public.
   44. The_Ex Posted: March 04, 2013 at 05:42 PM (#4380500)
At the time Clemens looked, and acted, like he was on something. He probably took an extra batch of greenies that day. You tussle with a normal person, you don't tussle with someone hepped up on something.
   45. The District Attorney Posted: March 04, 2013 at 05:50 PM (#4380505)
On one baseball website, the fashion was to post gay jokes under my same. They called it Piazza-posting.
That is seriously in Mike Piazza's autobiography? If so, wow, not a shining moment in BTF history.
   46. spike Posted: March 04, 2013 at 05:57 PM (#4380507)
I can't imagine what it would be like to live a life in which dozens (and now with Twitter, thousands) of people who don't know you from a hole in the ground are publicly criticizing your appearance, actions, motivations and emotions

Not that I disagree generally, but when you publish a book about them, aren't you asking for a public discussion of actions, motivations and emotions?
   47. Good cripple hitter Posted: March 04, 2013 at 06:03 PM (#4380510)

That is seriously in Mike Piazza's autobiography? If so, wow, not a shining moment in BTF history


I just googled it and yeah, it is. In the very next paragraph he complains about the "are you straight or are you gay?" line in the song "Piazza, New York Catcher". I'm not joking.
   48. PreservedFish Posted: March 04, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4380521)
That is seriously in Mike Piazza's autobiography? If so, wow, not a shining moment in BTF history


This deserves its own thread.
   49. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 04, 2013 at 07:03 PM (#4380542)
I can't imagine what it would be like to live a life in which dozens (and now with Twitter, thousands) of people who don't know you from a hole in the ground are publicly criticizing your appearance, actions, motivations and emotions.


You skipped the recent rights thread here?
   50. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: March 04, 2013 at 08:02 PM (#4380567)
Tywin: You spend too much time worrying what other people think of you.

Jaime: I could care less what people think of me.

Tywin: That's what you want people to think of you.

from Travesties: (Henry Carr recalling James Joyce)

"an essentially private man, who wished his total indifference to public acclaim be universally recognized"
   51. bobm Posted: March 04, 2013 at 08:23 PM (#4380576)
the fashion was to post gay jokes


Interesting choice of words.
   52. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: March 04, 2013 at 08:31 PM (#4380580)
But the “Mike Piazza” within the pages of this book is a sad, lonely man who seems little closer to adulthood than the brat who blew off Roy Campanella’s funeral 20 years ago.

The saddest book I ever read. It always makes me cry.
   53. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: March 04, 2013 at 08:46 PM (#4380583)
Mike Piazza really, really, really gives a damn what everybody thinks about him.


My ears are burning.
   54. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: March 04, 2013 at 09:01 PM (#4380587)
BY THE WAY, talk about burying the lead. From Page 268:

On one baseball website, the fashion was to post gay jokes under my same name. They called it Piazza-posting.



Fixed. Yes, it really is in there.
   55. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: March 04, 2013 at 09:06 PM (#4380589)
BY THE WAY, talk about burying the lead. From Page 268:

On one baseball website, the fashion was to post gay jokes under my same name. They called it Piazza-posting.



Fixed. Yes, it really is in there.


And I half expected the first post of this thread to be Admiral Akbar warning me that it's a trap.
   56. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: March 04, 2013 at 09:11 PM (#4380591)
On one baseball website, the fashion was to post gay jokes under my same name. They called it Piazza-posting.


I thought it was a same=homo pun.
   57. spike Posted: March 04, 2013 at 09:31 PM (#4380600)
I recall the Rear Admiral Piazza thing pre-registration, of course, but I am struggling to recall the frequency of posting gay jokes, other than the "that's what (S)HE said!" type, not that those are any less offensive, I suppose. I'm not very good at searching the site, but I would be interested to revisit some of the Piazza threads from that time.
   58. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 04, 2013 at 11:36 PM (#4380656)
I don't think that Clemens was intentionally trying to conk Piazza, but if I'd just been beaned after hitting a pitcher like a drum, I might not be quite so objective about it, so I can't really blame Piazza for not wanting to kiss and make up, even at this late date. IMO their feud was little more than a standard case of home run/retaliation that was magnified by the megatalents of the the players, the identity of their teams, the reputation of the pitcher, and the high profile of the game in which the final drama occurred. The bat shard part was just too fastmoving, bizarre and unique for anyone even to try to make any rational sense out of it. AFAIC it was just one of those weird things that makes sports so compelling, and in the heat of battle those things will happen.
   59. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: March 04, 2013 at 11:49 PM (#4380667)
I remember lot's of Piazza jokes, some were great, and they were frequent.
   60. Howie Menckel Posted: March 04, 2013 at 11:59 PM (#4380671)
I covered a handful of Mets games when Piazza played for them, and he was a pretty unusual interview.

He had a surface serenity about him: he seemed pretty thoughtful.

He also was professional about his media responsibilities.

And he also had what I guess what they later called a 'metrosexual' sense of hygiene/decorum, which only in a pro sports locker room/clubhouse could be confused with homosexuality. He didn't scratch himself, fart, burp, or other inanities in a crowd, and he knew how to dress and groom himself properly - which did kind of stand out, a little. But that's not his fault.

A lot of athletes - Mussina the Stanford grad would be my favorite example - take some time to compose their thoughts after taking a question because, well, there's a lot going on up there.

Piazza was not in that intellectual class, obviously - yet he wasn't dumb by baseball clubhouse standards, either. He didn't just lapse into mindless cliches; he was willing to take on a reasonable question and try to provide a usable answer, which is much more than a lot of superstars are willing to do.

The Scully hullabaloo didn't surprise me: He had a genuine sentiment/remembrance of the time, and he said so. It would be an egregious error for a journalist not to check his facts, and ideally anyone else would, too. But that's Piazza. I think he gave an honest account of his emotions, which he typically did.

The idea of the rich parents and how that may have left him defensive - that fascinates me.

It also feels genuine. Are we ready to rip into people who tell their own tales, even if they haven't figured out how to dissect the exact reasons they feel that way?

Whatever base he started from, where Piazza ended up is pretty damn impressive....



   61. Morty Causa Posted: March 04, 2013 at 11:59 PM (#4380672)
Obviously, during that incident in question, Clemens was revved up, but I don't know that he threw at Piazza or that he threw that bat at Piazza. When he flung that shard of bat, it seemed totally reflexive, and as I remember he was surprised that it came within the vicinity of Piazza.

It's amusing that much is made here of Clemens, but nothing much is made of Pedro's admission that he intentionally threw at 90% of those batters he hit. Cry me a river.
   62. tfbg9 Posted: March 05, 2013 at 12:05 AM (#4380679)
The very next AB after Mike hit a GS off him, and the Mets had given him one of the worst beating of his career? And he wasn't throwing at him? C'mon. He was at least brushing him back, making him move his feet. Clemens is a tough hombre. Ultra competitive.

   63. tfbg9 Posted: March 05, 2013 at 12:15 AM (#4380683)
Now I see that Andy seems to be allowing for the possibility that Roj was just brushing him back, and the ball kind got away from him a little. OK. But you throw at a guys head, and sh1t can happen. Sh1t like hitting the guy's head with a baseball.
   64. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 05, 2013 at 12:24 AM (#4380688)
Now I see that Andy seems to be allowing for the possibility that Roj was just brushing him back, and the ball kind got away from him a little. OK. But you throw at a guys head, and sh1t can happen. Sh1t like hitting the guy's head with a baseball.

As I said, I can't blame Piazza for thinking what he clearly thinks, regardless of what Clemens' actual intent was. I like the way both he and Clemens approached the game.

------------------------------------------------

Howie: Good take and well expressed. I'll buy Piazza's book when it gets remaindered and look forward to reading it.
   65. Howie Menckel Posted: March 05, 2013 at 12:57 AM (#4380717)

"Howie: Good take and well expressed."

thanks: I should do this for a living!
joke, yes, but I really do appreciate the cogent response.
   66. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: March 05, 2013 at 01:13 AM (#4380732)
that was a nice post, howie
   67. cardsfanboy Posted: March 05, 2013 at 01:47 PM (#4381168)
It's amusing that much is made here of Clemens, but nothing much is made of Pedro's admission that he intentionally threw at 90% of those batters he hit. Cry me a river.


Pedro is the patron saint of pitching for BBTF. Clemens not so much.

   68. Srul Itza Posted: March 05, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4381255)
It's amusing that much is made here of Clemens, but nothing much is made of Pedro's admission that he intentionally threw at 90% of those batters he hit. Cry me a river.


That thread's been done.
   69. Morty Causa Posted: March 05, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4381351)
No, that thread was underdone.
   70. Greg K Posted: March 05, 2013 at 05:10 PM (#4381402)
Pedro is a colourful character and has a sense of humour, while Clemens doesn't come across that way. Just speaking for myself that gives Pedro way more lattitude in my books. Break my fingers with a ball-peen hammer and I probably won't like you very much, but do it in an amusing, or self-depricating fashion and I'll probably still want to have a beer with you afterwards.

This view may not explain other people's takes on the matter.
   71. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 05, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4381407)
Break my fingers with a ball-peen hammer and I probably won't like you very much, but do it in an amusing, or self-depricating fashion and I'll probably still want to have a beer with you afterwards.


When will you next be in Alabama?

Not that I have anything against you or your fingers, but I do find your theory intriguing & am interested in testing it.

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