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Friday, January 06, 2012

WSJ: Drinking With Mike Piazza

Domaine de la Rombacne Conte…mmm, squeezisito!

Mr. Piazza made this assertion halfway through a recent lunch at Gotham Bar and Grill in Manhattan. The ex-Met lives in Miami with his wife and two daughters but was back in New York for a few days, making a charity appearance and visiting friends. “I love coming back to New York. It’s always really emotional for me,” said Mr. Piazza, taking up a glass of Pierre Gimonnet Blanc de Blancs Champagne that Gotham wine director Eric Zillier had just poured. Mr. Piazza sniffed the wine. “That smells really good. I love Champagne—Cristal, Dom Pérignon.” He laughed. “As an athlete you’re drawn by the status.”

...But any potential wine project would have to wait until he was finished with his memoir, “Open Mike” (“I stole the title from an L.A. columnist,” he admitted). The book, which will be published in 2013, covers his time as a player and his philosophy of life. What else was he doing with his time? Well, there were his two young children. And there was golf. He’d been playing a lot of golf. “It’s a really humbling game,” he said.

My last question was perhaps even more obvious. Where did Mr. Piazza rate himself on the list of all-time great catchers? In the top 10? Top five? “I’m a humble person, but I’d definitely put myself in the top five. I’d say Johnny [Bench] first for his charisma and talent—then I’d say Roy Campanella—he won three MVPs, after all. And Yogi Berra. If I put myself over Yogi, people would say, ‘Who does he think he is, he put himself over Yogi?’ ” Who indeed? On the other hand, Mr. Piazza has that other possible future title: the Garibaldi of Sicilian wine.

Repoz Posted: January 06, 2012 at 03:45 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, dodgers, history, media, mets

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: January 06, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4030727)
"Open Mike"? C'mon.
   2. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: January 06, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4030758)
Mike Piazza comes across as less interesting than I thought he was.

the Garibaldi of Sicilian wine.


What does this even mean? Is he going to forcibly unite things that probably shouldn't be united? Maybe blend some Nebbiolo with a heavily oaked American chardonnay?

It's a trap.
   3. Don Malcolm Posted: January 06, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4030762)
I just get a chuckle out of how the non-biz side of the WSJ is so falling over themselves to ape the Times' effete style of referring to people as "Mr.", etc.

It also would help they could their captions straight. The quotes for Chateau d'Yquem and Sicilian red wine (why bother, Mike, when you've got Amarone?) have been transposed.

But for all that Eye-talian stuff, it's a coup to see two German wines in the lineup. Even if the snot-nosed Lettie Teague tried to "blame it" on the sommelier. Riesling rules!

So who's the fifth catcher in the crew with Bench, Campanella, Berra, and Mike?

EDIT: PS...Repoz: that's "Vaughn Mon-Romanee" to you...!
   4. Guapo Posted: January 06, 2012 at 05:29 PM (#4030771)
FTA:

"As a rookie I was lucky to be catching a veteran staff—I had Oral Hershiser, Jim Gott, who pitched for Philadelphia. Jim was really animated—I loved catching for that guy."


Oh, Mike Piazza, don't ever change.
   5. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: January 06, 2012 at 05:32 PM (#4030774)
I just get a chuckle out of how the non-biz side of the WSJ is so falling over themselves to ape the Times' effete style of referring to people as "Mr.", etc.


not sure it is 'apeing' at all. I can't remember a time where 'Mr.' 'Mrs.' 'Messrs.' wasn't used by the WSJ at any point in time.
   6. BDC Posted: January 06, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4030775)
the Garibaldi of Sicilian wine


In other words, the disgusting little biscuit that looks like it's got dead flies stuffed inside. Of Sicilian wine.
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: January 06, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4030788)
So who's the fifth catcher in the crew with Bench, Campanella, Berra, and Mike?


Irod would be a pretty good guess(assuming that he's focusing only on mlb, as obviously Josh Gibson would be at the top of the list or close to it)
   8. Greg K Posted: January 06, 2012 at 06:05 PM (#4030796)
Say what you want about "Open Mike", but Tom Green's recurring appearances on that show were comic gold.

   9. Greg K Posted: January 06, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4030797)
   10. O Tempura, O Morays ('Spos) Posted: January 06, 2012 at 06:49 PM (#4030822)
Thanks Greg.
   11. Dock Ellis Posted: January 06, 2012 at 06:53 PM (#4030826)
For years I have been curious on his thoughts about the Belle & Sebastian song. Maybe the book mentions it?
   12. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 06, 2012 at 06:55 PM (#4030829)
For years I have been curious on his thoughts about the Belle & Sebastian song. Maybe the book mentions it?


Mike's a Metallica kind of guy. Can't imagine him listening to Belle & Sebastian.
   13. Dock Ellis Posted: January 06, 2012 at 06:59 PM (#4030836)
Mike's a Metallica kind of guy. Can't imagine him listening to Belle & Sebastian.

But surely he is aware of the existence of this song. Belle & Sebastian are not that obscure. Someone must have told him at some point.
   14. Swoboda is freedom Posted: January 06, 2012 at 07:56 PM (#4030868)
the Garibaldi of Sicilian wine.

What does this even mean?


He likes to wear red shirts when he drinks red wine in case he spills?
   15. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: January 06, 2012 at 07:56 PM (#4030869)
Hopefully this writer at least got a gift basket out of this.
   16. themendozaline Posted: January 06, 2012 at 08:34 PM (#4030890)
Bench
Campanella
Berra
Carter
Fisk
Munson
Ivan Rodriguez
Mickey Cochran
Piazza

It's catcher not hitter who plays behind the plate!
   17. Srul Itza Posted: January 06, 2012 at 08:39 PM (#4030893)
It's catcher not hitter who plays behind the plate!


Believe it or not, there is more to catching than throwing out baserunners. In all other phases of catching, Piazza rated quite highly.
   18. cardsfanboy Posted: January 06, 2012 at 08:49 PM (#4030901)
It's catcher not hitter who plays behind the plate!


And Piazza never caught a full season in which his team didn't finish in the top five (and most years top 3) in fewest runs allowed. Every time he left a team, their next year they didn't do as well defensively. Piazza catches a great game, gets to every foul ball playable, and has a noodle for an arm.

The primary defensive job of a catcher is to handle his pitching staff, to the point that they pitch good. Piazza was better at that than Irod by a fairly good margin. He loses out on the second skill to Irod, which is arm strength, but ultimately the few runs they lost to his inability to throw out a runner, he made up with his game calling and bat.
   19. Hysterical & Useless Posted: January 06, 2012 at 08:57 PM (#4030907)
Believe it or not, there is more to catching than throwing out baserunners. In all other phases of catching, Piazza rated quite highly.Believe it or not, there is more to catching than throwing out baserunners. In all other phases of catching, Piazza rated quite highly.

Absolutely true. Piazza "threw" just fine, but had a very slow release. But that was the only flaw in his work behind the plate. And base stealing was a much less important aspect of the game during his time, so the idea that he was costing his team some huge number of runs every year is ludicrous.
   20. McCoy Posted: January 06, 2012 at 10:54 PM (#4030955)
I've heard that he was absolutely horrible at framing pitches.
   21. Booey Posted: January 06, 2012 at 11:55 PM (#4030995)
Bench
Campanella
Berra
Carter
Fisk
Munson
Ivan Rodriguez
Mickey Cochran
Piazza


Dude, putting Munson ahead of Rodriguez, Cochrane, and Piazza (not to mention Dickey, Hartnett, Simmons, etc) killed all the credibility of your post.

Personally, I'd place Piazza third behind Bench and Berra. As detailed in a few previous posts, Piazza's overall defense didn't seem to hurt his teams nearly as much as his detractors would like you to believe. I could certainly understand an argument for ranking him behind both Pudge's and Carter, but Munson is just silly.
   22. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: January 07, 2012 at 08:29 AM (#4031052)

"So who's the fifth catcher in the crew with Bench, Campanella, Berra, and Mike"?


I'm not sure he was necessarily saying he was 5th all time. I think it was more of, off the top of my head I'm in he top 5, which he is.
How low can you rate the best hitting catcher of all time?
   23. MM1f Posted: January 07, 2012 at 10:33 PM (#4031473)
I love how the caption for the picture of the bottle of Sauternes reads "Mike Piazza's favorite wine region is Sicily."

Sommeliers love Riesling—and Mr. Zillier is no exception,


Yeah, cos Riesling is fkkking awesome. Its a shame that some people think that Reisling means plonk.
   24. Howie Menckel Posted: January 08, 2012 at 12:49 AM (#4031516)
(resistance is futile)

Hall of Merit

http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/hall_of_merit/discussion/election_results_hom_voters_think_gibson_bench_berra_and_carter_are_the_fin/

no line break where the voting is very close

Gibson

Bench

Berra

Carter

Fisk
Dickey
Hartnett
Cochrane
BEwing
Campanella

DWhite

Santop

Simmons

Torre
Bennett

McVey
Freehan

Bresnahan
Trouppe

Mackey

.............

top non-electee in 2012 is Munson, who placed 51stT - he was picked as one of the 15 players listed on three of 37 ballots.

whither Piazza? probably 3rd or 4th, I'd imagine.
of course, when I-Rod retires in another 5 or 10 years, he'll be in the conversation in the top 10 easily.

(fyi, that's Torre with credit apportioned per season based on where he played, but NO managerial credit)

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