I was at work yesterday with my cellphone in my back pocket, which is against the rules. I kept checking the time anxiously awaiting to hear if my favorite baseball player of all time made it in to the Hall of Fame. Was this the year? My heart said “yes”, but the pit in my stomach said, “no”.
As I watched the clock, forgetting I had a job to do, I thought about all of the amazing games I saw that Mike Piazza played a role in. His
first game as a New York Met. He started 0-2 probably making fans think, “What the hell?”. His next plate appearance, he hit a double. Sigh of relief.
You cannot think of Piazza without remembering the home run he hit after 9/11. That’s when he became America’s catcher.
Then there was the 8-1 Atlanta Braves game. Sure the team would go on to score ten runs and make Shea Stadium feel like it was going to collapse under your feet. What made it so much better, as it always does, was a 3-run laser shot by non-other than the greatest offensive catcher.
Just for kicks, let’s throw in the moonshot he hit against the New York Yankees during the 1999 Subway Series at Shea Stadium.
Haters loved to hate him. Enter Roger Clemens when he beaned Piazza. Later in the 2000 Subway Series, Clemens proceeded to throw a shard from Piazza’s broken bat at him out of sheer frustration for not being able to school the catcher.
We can easily talk about his stats like hitting 427 home runs. A total of 1335 RBI and 1048 runs. Throw in his hitting numbers of .308/.377/.545 just for the hell of it. Sure he was not the greatest out there defensively, but he was the best when it counted. He got the job done every time with his bat.
Tick tock. Tick tock. My anxiety levels kept growing. I was about to have an anxiety attack while on the sales floor.
Then it happened. The names were announced. One by one the names were listed everywhere. Randy Johnson. Pedro Martinez. John Smoltz. Craig Biggio. Four names to be honored at Cooperstown later this year. Each player great in their own way. Nobody will deny they are well deserving of their entry into baseball’s shrine. They are amongst the elite. Yet no Piazza for the third year in a row. There are no words to truly describe what I felt.
Then I read the comments from one of the biggest blowhards in sports journalism, Bill Madden:
I’ve always had my suspicions about Piazza, even though he never tested positive nor was he mentioned in the Mitchell Report.
Again, there may be no proof of that…
So with all that I decided to withhold my vote on Piazza…
Conceivably, I may eventually vote for him.
…I think he is going to get elected next year.
Next year? No proof? May eventually vote for him? So you, dear sir, decided to deny the greatest offensive catcher of all time a chance to be enshrined in baseball’s highest honor because you were suspicious? You yourself said there “may be no proof”. Those were your words, Mr, Madden. Then you proceed to say that you may “eventually vote for him”. Of all of the stupid things you have ever said, that has to be, by far, the dumbest. Who made you prosecutor, judge and jury? Please, dear sir, do not think so highly of yourself. There clearly is no reason to. You are just one more of the dumb ones who cannot see when someone did things the right way. Sorry if I don’t see acne as a guarantee guilty verdict. There is no definitive proof of anything. If he is going to get in at some point anyway, why deny him his moment to shine now?
I am not saying the writers got it wrong. All of the names mentioned above truly deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. They were a thrill to watch, no matter what team you rooted for. They all played with the same passion that you the fans have for America’s favorite pasttime. They did not get it wrong. They just did not get it all right either.