"He's strong like a mule" ~ Pedro Martinez
There is something to be said for thanking someone for what they have done for a team and there is taking something too far.
It might have been a first in baseball history. An opposing player drove a ball over the wall, and not only did the home fans give him a standing O, but they demanded a curtain call. And Mike Piazza answered the call, popping out of the Padres' dugout to wave last night at Shea Stadium.
"You don't see that a lot," Piazza said. "The last thing I want to do is show up the other team. When they ask you do it, it's one of those things."
What happens when 49,979 fans cheer for you? You get pumped. When Piazza first came up last night, he got a deserved standing ovation. I get it. When he hit his first homerun, he got as loud of a cheer as I've hear this year and he received another standing ovation which was followed by a Piazza curtain call. The crowd went nuts. Inexplicably, the fans proceeded to give him another stand ovation after his second homerun to get his team within two runs. Fucking ponderous.
Look, Piazza meant a lot to this team, but there is little doubt in anyone's mind he wants to beat the Mets. When he got standing ovations from both homeruns, the first thing that ran through my mind was "what the fuck?". In the end, it all worked out well, but the Mets were entrenched in what was a close ball game. It went from nice (1st standing ovation when he got up) to bizarre (getting a curtain call as a player of an opposing team after hitting a homerun in a close game) to funny (as he was booed a bit in his fourth at-bat).
With how strongly this fanbase feels about big Mike, this all begs the question, should Piazza's number be retired? Personally, I like how the Mets are tough on retiring numbers. I do not agree they should be handed out willy nilly just because you were good for a few years or a good player on a very good team. When you retire a number, you are showing that player the ultimate form of respect by not allowing a player to ever don the number again. Is Piazza that guy?
He was the face of an organization coming off some horrible years and he did reenergize the organization and help power them to playoffs in consecutive years, but should he have his number retired? It's a really strange case with Piazza for me because he had some huge years and some injury problems later in his time with the Mets. That led to him having five tremendous years and three disappointing ones.
SEASON G AB R 2B HR RBI AVG OBP SLGInjuries hindered him late as a Met and he averaged 17 homers and 50 RBIs with a .265/.352/.455 line in '03 through '05. Before that, there is no doubt he was a monster from '98 through '02. He averaged a .309/.382/.581 line with 34 homeruns and 101 RBs from the catcher's spot, but is that enough to get him the ultimate show of respect by a team and have his number retired? Five monster years simply is not enough with no World Series wins. He was a great thing for this city and great to help this team out of some dark times, but longevity is still the team is key for me.
98-'02 662 2391 407 136 170 505 .309 .382 .581
03-'05 310 1087 125 57 50 150 .265 .352 .455
Totals 972 3478 532 193 220 655 .296 .373 .542
The real problem with Piazza is that he is a first ballot Hall of Famer. Prior to his time with the Mets, he was huge for the Dodgers with 177 homers, 583 RBIs, and a .331/.394/.572 line. He only netted 69 at-bats his first year so those numbers were accumulated over six years as opposed to eight years with the Mets. Piazza is a Hall of Famer, but he has basically split his career amassing huge numbers for two teams. The Dodgers have no intention of retiring his number and the Mets probably shouldn't either.
The tricky part is that Piazza will most likely wear a Met cap in the Hall of Fame. He'll wear a Met cap because he put up the majority of his homeruns here, spent most of his time as a Met, and made his only World Series appearance as a Met, though he made the playoffs twice with both teams. Piazza did his damage in both uniforms, but not quite enough on either to earn the highest praise a team can give a player. The aggregate of his numbers with both teams will get him into the Hall of Fame and he will be wearing a Mets cap in all liklihood. Could a player possibly wear a team's cap in the Hall of Fame without getting his number retired by that team? Ultimately I would have to say no. Piazza's number will eventually have to be retired, but this is just a weird situation. Whether or not the Mets feel the same way is another story and we will just have to wait five years after he retires to find out.
A former teammate told the Daily News that the feisty Lo Duca was one of a handful of players on the Marlins who took part in big-money poker games on team flights and hit the casinos on the road.
That's not really surprising considering millions and millions of other people like to play poker too. As far as 'big-money' games, he does make $6,000,000 per year. When I gamble with my friends we'll do a $20 or $40 buy in. It's all relative. This story is as pointless as all the character stories about Lastings Milledge earlier this year.
"I talked to Paul about the allegations and he told me, 'Yes, I've done some betting on horses,' which isn't illegal," general manager Omar Minaya said. "And we checked with Major League Baseball and he didn't do anything wrong."
When asked if the issue was over, Minaya said: "For me it is. It's a done deal."
Two immense talents that cannot get it together.
The sad saga of former Peabody High ace and Florida Marlins pitching prospect Jeff Allison , whose once-promising baseball career has been derailed by drug problems, took another disappointing turn Monday when, according to a Medford Police report, he suffered a heroin overdose.
According to the report, Allison, 21, was found lying unconscious in a T-shirt and shorts on the bathroom floor of a two-story home at 3 Hastings Lane Monday around 3 p.m. Heroin injection was cited as the cause of Allison's condition, and the report stated that police found a bag with heroin paraphernalia on the floor of the bathroom.
"I feel [terrible]," Floyd said, referring more to his mental state than the physical. "I've just got to think positive and try to get back here to play in August and September. Maybe all this will be forgotten and I can be a hero."
Michael Tucker has been called up and replace him on the roster.
Now Sanchez plans to stay with the team for the home games and rehab here while it is on the road. He said he will be ready for next spring training. In fact, he says he plans to start throwing near the end of October and then throw a few innings at some point in Dominican winter ball.
"He has an ability to pitch, he throws strikes and he's a good athlete," Minaya said. "And we take into account the person as well. He comes from a good family.
"Ability, a competitive edge and a good upbringing. If you have those three components you have a chance to be a major-league player."
He was looking for a seven-figure bonus, but it is unclear what he received so far. Last year, Stephen Head got $650,000 from the 62nd slot and college pitcher Matt Durkin received $950,000 as the Mets second round pick in 2004.