Monday, February 18, 2013

Piazza Damaging His Legacy

Maybe Piazza can get into the Italian Baseball Hall of Fame..if one exists.

On the surface, Mike Piazza looks like a sure shot to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Most home runs by a catcher, 12 All-Star selections, NL Rookie of the Year, 10 straight Silver Slugger Awards, and a lifetime .308 average. That's just a sampling of Piazza's offensive prowess. However, in his first year of eligibility (2013), Piazza only garnered 57.8% of the Hall vote.

There were whispers of performance enhancing drug use even though there have been no accusations or failed tests (Not that passing a test means anything these days.). Jeff Bagwell knows exactly how Piazza feels - condemnation with no proof - but Piazza may have done further damage to his cause with his new book.

In the tome "Long Shot", Piazza states that he tried every type of then legal substance, but never touched steroids. Amphetamines? Yes Andro? Yes Steroids? No. This will undoubtedly put even more doubt in the minds of those members of the Baseball Writers Association of America as well as the fans.

If Piazza took only non-banned substances, why would he not take steroids? They were not banned at the time either. Piazza's claim of innocence don't seem plausible.

Don't mess with those that are beloved: Perhaps it's the unwritten 12th commandment. The beloved in this case being Vin Scully, the voice of the Brooklyn Dodgers since their days in Brooklyn. Piazza states that Scully had it in for him and turned the LA fans against him during Piazza attempt to wangle a new high priced contract.. Piazza also felt Scully promoted opponents on the air for the NL MVP Award instead of Piazza.

Scully responded by basically saying, " I don't know what he's talking about."

There have been many over the years who thought Piazza was a total goof and his admission of taking Karate lessons in the wake of being beaned by Roger Clemens does nothing to dissuade the notion. Piazza was going to attack Clemens should they have a rendezvous on the field again. Of course they did, but that's when Clemens threw a broken bat at Piazza during the 2000 World Series and totally through the Karate Kid's plan off track. (Ala Seinfeld, I can see Piazza driving home and making a quick U-ie when he's thought of a great insult. - "The jerk store called, and they're running out of you!")

While Piazza's offensive numbers are as good, if not better, than any other catcher that came before him, it would not be a surprise to see his voting percentage dip in next year's Hall election. That may be the price Piazza pays for an ill-timed, ill-advised book.

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