So Piazza retired. Pretty awesome hitter. Pretty meh catcher. Pretty good player? I'd say so. ESPN writer Paul Lukas - not a fan.
Lukas starts off with this big diatribe about Pizza not wanting to move to first base that no one remembers but him. And it goes to this:
One reason he didn't want to play first base was that he was obsessed with that stupid record for most home runs hit by a catcher
Stupid record. Who would want to get a record at the position they've played for years and have an awesome shot at getting?
I like how guys like Favre are praised for being "tough" and a "gamer" for playing in a million straight starts (for example) even though he was hurt and a few times was immediately taken out after keeping the record alive.
Should Piazza have moved to first? I don't know, probably. But, as Lukas' later says, Piazza sucked worse at first than at catcher. So ... Piazza was right?
When the New York Post implied that Piazza was gay, he held that little press conference where he declared his heterosexuality.
This was crazy. An absurd, surreal moment for any person - much more for a macho pro athlete.
OK, fine. But he missed a huge opportunity to say, "But what if it was true? What if I was gay? So what? What if one of my teammates is gay? What if one of YOU is gay? It's no big deal. Listen, I'm straight, but this whole thing is really a nonissue." In a city with a huge gay population, that was an opportunity to show some real community leadership, and he totally spit the bit.
So you don't like Piazza because he missed the chance to stand up for the gay community? I'm sorry, but athlete's miss chances all the time to do the right thing, to stand up for those less fortunate. But guess what, they often don't. Some of the best do, sure, but it's rare.
The other strain in this is, are we so sure Piazza isn't gay? If he indeed is, your point is moot.
A few days after Roger Clemens beaned him in 2000, Piazza said that the incident had made him reassess the DH. "I thought the DH could be a good thing for me later in my career," he said, "but now I see that it's bad for baseball, because the pitcher can throw at the batter with no fear of retaliation."
One of the weaker anti-DH arguments, but I can buy it.
So what did he do after leaving the Mets? He shopped himself to American League teams with hopes of becoming a DH.
Dick. Five years+ later, mind-changing jerk. Old, catcher-worn knees, free to change his opinion assface.
None of them were interested,
so he signed with the Padres, but then he went to the A's, where he happily DH'd. Hypocrite.
I hope someday we find out Piazza really wanted to play first base and helped out at an AIDS shelter behind the scenes in his spare time in NYC. Now who's the hypocrite!
Was Piazza a tremendous offensive player? Yes. Did I sometimes cheer for him? Yes. But he never fulfilled his potential as a star, in the fullest sense of that term. Too bad.
427HR/1335RBI/.377OBP/142OPS+ (61 all-time)/10 straight silver slugger awards/7 top ten MVP appearances/12 straight all-star appearances/lock for the Hall of Fame
What a not living up to being a "star," not helping the gay community, not switching positions (cough Jeter cough), piece of crap.