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Mike Piazza Tribute

cooby
Oct 02 2005 01:29 PM

If this is the last Mets game I ever get to watch on TV, it was worth it just for that

ScarletKnight41
Oct 02 2005 02:02 PM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Oct 02 2005 03:49 PM

I posted from the Sidekick from the home opener, so it's appropriate for me to post now.

OMG - I haven't been to anything so heartfelt and emotional at Shea before that didn't involve someone named Seaver. It was indescribable - a total outpouring of love and appreciation. Lots of tears were shed.

Seven and a half years ago, I got either an e-mail or instant message (I just can't remember which) from DJ, someone I knew casually from a non-Mets AOL board. DJ lives in the LA area, and she knew I was a Mets fan. She wrote to me, begging for me to take care of Mikey Joseph for her. We totally bonded over that, and she went on to become my "axe murderer" friend whom I met in person in Arizona in 2000. I'll write to DJ later, reassuring her that New York properly took care of her favorite player as he likely finished his career as a Met.

seawolf17
Oct 02 2005 02:03 PM

Seawolf18:

See that "31" hanging on the outfield wall? Let me tell you about a guy who was a Met before you were born; a guy named Mike Piazza. You know how everybody here at Bob Murphy Stadium is wearing David Wright shirts? Well, back then, everybody at the old Shea Stadium wore Piazza shirts. Mike Piazza used to hit home runs to all fields, all the time -- and he used to make it look so easy. It felt like he didn't even step; he just flicked his wrists out there, and WHAM it was off the scoreboard, or over the camera stand, or into the old picnic area. He hit home runs in every big spot you could hit a home run; he used to hit them off good pitchers, bad pitchers, every pitcher. He was a guy who made you stop whatever you were doing and watch, because you never knew how far he'd hit one. It got hard for him at the end of his time here, because as often as he used to hit home runs, it seemed like he grounded out a lot too. He wasn't as great a hitter as he was when he was younger, but when he got a hold of one, he could still make that ball fly. Wear that 31 shirt proudly, kiddo; Mike Piazza is a big piece of Mets history.

cooby
Oct 02 2005 02:08 PM

I loved the interview with his dad too, I love to see true parental love and respect like that

metirish
Oct 02 2005 02:17 PM

Great tribute to a great Met and a great person, emotional stuff that was, Bye Mike.

mlbaseballtalk
Oct 02 2005 02:20 PM

I always find this appropriate for the end of a baseball career, or run with a team as the case may be. From the Long Island Ballader himself:

Famous Last Words
River Of Dreams Released: 1993

Sitting here in Avalon, looking at the pouring rain
Summer time has come and gone, and everybody's home again
Closing down for the season, I found the last of the souvenirs
I can still taste the wedding cake and it's sweet after all these years

These are the last words I have to say
That's why this took so long to write
There will be other words some other day
But that's the story of my life

There's comfort in my coffee cup and apples in the early fall
They're pulling all the moorings up and gathering at the Legion Hall
They swept away all the streamers after the Labor Day parade
Nothing left for a dreamer now, only one final serenade

And these are the last words I have to say
Before another age goes by
With all those other songs I'll have to play
But that's the story of my life

And it's so clear standing here where I am
Ain't that what justice is for?
Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn anymore

Stack the chairs on the table tops
Hang the sheets on the chandeliers
It slows down but it never stops
Ain't it sweet after all these years

And these are the last words I have to say
It's always hard to say goodbye
But now it's time to put this book away
Ain't that the story of my life

Valadius
Oct 02 2005 02:25 PM

Is there any way I could get my hands on the Piazza tribute video? I didn't get to see it.

metirish
Oct 02 2005 02:29 PM

Val set your VCR or DVR or whatever you have, FSN will repeat the game at 1:30AM Sunday night/Monday morning.

Edgy DC
Oct 02 2005 03:27 PM

First game, catching a complete-game shutout by Leiter, with an RBI double.

OlerudOwned
Oct 02 2005 03:43 PM

The first great Met I've been able to see, being a younger fan. Thanks for the great memories, Mike.

ScarletKnight41
Oct 02 2005 04:01 PM

Mikey's last Met at bat, as seen from the upper level -


SI Metman
Oct 02 2005 04:13 PM

Were you in my section?

I was up in Section 2 nosebleed.

MFS62
Oct 02 2005 04:19 PM

I've seen two of the greatest righthanded hitting catchers of all time leave New York - Campanella and Piazza.
I don't know which was sadder, but I consider myself lucky to have rooted for them.

Later

ScarletKnight41
Oct 02 2005 04:39 PM

We were close - Section 4, in the last row of the upper reserve boxes. That wound up being really good, because MK could stand up when he wanted to and there was nobody behind him whose view he could obstruct.

We bought the tickets at the gate about an hour before game time. MK was supposed to have a Fall Ball game, but when the game was cancelled we decided to spring him from Sunday school a little early and drove out to Shea. Despite the sucky game we were happy to be there to give Mikey a proper sendoff.

The only other person I remember bowing to the fans that way in the midst of such an ovation was Tom Seaver during his special day in 1987.

cooby
Oct 02 2005 04:45 PM

Valadius wrote:
Is there any way I could get my hands on the Piazza tribute video? I didn't get to see it.


I have a hunch it will be on Mets.com too

ScarletKnight41
Oct 02 2005 04:46 PM

Or it'll be a stadium giveaway next season.

cooby
Oct 02 2005 04:48 PM

I think he'll be back.

My deductions:

Mets will surely offer him a contract.

Mike will surely want to stay.

Mike is a Met in 2006.

ScarletKnight41
Oct 02 2005 04:50 PM

The Diamond Knight family hopes that cooby's deductions are correct.

mlbaseballtalk
Oct 02 2005 05:43 PM

MFS62 wrote:
I've seen two of the greatest righthanded hitting catchers of all time leave New York - Campanella and Piazza.
I don't know which was sadder, but I consider myself lucky to have rooted for them.

Later


Granted you are several decades older (62 to 28) I'd give the edge to the way it ended for Campy. Tragic way to end a career, and nearly his life.

Funny, listening to WFAN around the time of Campy's death and a long time Dodger fan and caller to WFAN was talking to Chris Russo saying that "at least Campy lived to see his successor as the greatest Dodger Catcher" While Russo at the time was correct in saying "take it easy" (1993 of course) little did he, or anyone know that Mr. Piazza not only succeeded Campanella in Dodger lore, but in National League baseball in New York City (lets wait till he finally retires to start putting him in the Berra level)

Steve

SI Metman
Oct 02 2005 05:48 PM

ScarletKnight41 wrote:
We were close - Section 4, in the last row of the upper reserve boxes. That wound up being really good, because MK could stand up when he wanted to and there was nobody behind him whose view he could obstruct.

We bought the tickets at the gate about an hour before game time. MK was supposed to have a Fall Ball game, but when the game was cancelled we decided to spring him from Sunday school a little early and drove out to Shea. Despite the sucky game we were happy to be there to give Mikey a proper sendoff.

The only other person I remember bowing to the fans that way in the midst of such an ovation was Tom Seaver during his special day in 1987.


I was 8 rows back and 5 seats over from you guys :D

Definately a really moving afternoon. The tribute should be up on mets.com by the end of the evening.

Elster88
Oct 02 2005 05:50 PM

Unbelievable experience. I had seats in Box H in section 74 behind third base that I grossly overpaid for. Worth every....last.....penny. And then some. I'll post some more about it at a later date.

G-Fafif
Oct 02 2005 07:42 PM

Notes from De Facto MP Day.

1) Some bright fan attached his/her own discs on the facing of the left field upper deck: 37, 14, 41, 42 and 31. They looked to be blowing away by game's end, but nice touch.

2) Mets Extra treated listeners to a marvelous montage of Piazza moments. Because of the damn NFL (I thought Mets had dibs on the flagship over the Giants), it was shunted to WBBR and at the moment it came on, as I was detraining in Woodside, it got very staticky. I certainly hope Steve Somers or Joe Benigno replays it.

3) Don't know what it looked like on TV, but Mike's putting both hands palms down in an "all right, take it easy" motion, said it all about him. Reminded me of Springsteen telling his audience, "siddown, we got a long way to go" or words to that effect.

ScarletKnight41
Oct 02 2005 08:17 PM

Now you see, I interpreted that more like Tom Seaver bowing to the crowd from those different directions on the day that he was honored.

mlbaseballtalk
Oct 02 2005 08:23 PM

ScarletKnight41 wrote:
Now you see, I interpreted that more like Tom Seaver bowing to the crowd from those different directions on the day that he was honored.


Thats how Howie Rose described it on the radio

Edgy DC
Oct 02 2005 08:35 PM

I thought it was Wayne/Garth saying he's not worthy.

Zvon
Oct 02 2005 08:44 PM

If Piazza is done as a Met, I am sure gonna miss him.
There will be a void.........
He was a big time gamer.
Never saw an axe choppin swing like his before, and never will again.

Frayed Knot
Oct 02 2005 09:11 PM

So am I the only one who kept imagining Mike looking out over the crowd thinking; 'OK, which of you fuckers were the ones booing me in '98 because I was only hitting .320?'

Valadius
Oct 02 2005 09:16 PM

Mike Piazza will probably always be my favorite Met.

I first became a die-hard Mets fan towards the end of 1997, if I remember correctly when I was 10 years old, although I do remember parts of '96. So 1998 was my first full season as a Mets fan. I'll never forget the day Piazza was traded - I was playing in a Little League game when one of the dads tells his son on my team that the Mets got Piazza. I refused to believe it, reasoning that the Marlins wouldn't trade him after a week, but leaving the door open in my mind because I knew all about Huizenga's crazed purge of his team. It took my father turning on the TV after the game to convince me.

Mike Piazza was the Mets icon I grew up with, in much of the same way some of you guys and gals grew up with Seaver, Koosman, Cleon, Agee, and Tug, or Swan, Mazzilli, Kingman, and Milner, or Strawberry, Hernandez, Gooden, Carter, Orosco, Fernandez, and Wilson, or Bonilla, Bobby Jones, and Hundley. I believe that you become most attached to the players you grew up with, even as you grow older and teams and players change. So more so than most of you, I think, the departure of Mike Piazza is a very sad day for me.

He's been a Met since I was 11 years old and in fifth grade. Here I am, 18 years old, and a freshman in college. He's been the face of the franchise for more or less the whole time. I grew up with Piazza, Leiter, Franco, Alfonso, Ordonez, Ventura, Olerud, Benitez, Wendell, and the rest of the late '90s-early '00s Mets. It was a sad day watching Leiter go. It's the end of my childhood dreams, in a sense, seeing Piazza walk off into the sunset.

metirish
Oct 02 2005 09:16 PM

I doubt Piazza thought that,it's not his way I think. I thought is was pure class that the Rockies stood to applaud Mike like they did, I can't imagine a player that's done with his contract with his team but not done playing ever got that, nice touch by them.


Edgy DC
Oct 02 2005 09:26 PM

]So am I the only one who kept imagining Mike looking out over the crowd thinking; 'OK, which of you fuckers were the ones booing me in '98 because I was only hitting .320?'


No.

G-Fafif
Oct 02 2005 11:21 PM

ScarletKnight41 wrote:
Now you see, I interpreted that more like Tom Seaver bowing to the crowd from those different directions on the day that he was honored.


Oh, I definitely saw the Seaver-style bowing, but there was a moment there where it looked more like, all right, guys, enough. We have to play two more innings here.

Or somebody has to play two more innings.

A Boy Named Seo
Oct 03 2005 02:54 AM

Scott Stapp? As a metalhead, that had to offend Piazza. He's gone for no other reason than that.

seawolf17
Oct 03 2005 03:28 AM

I thought the same thing, ABNS... but I could see Piazza being friends with Stapp also, meeting in Eddie Trunk's studio or something.

cooby
Oct 03 2005 06:37 AM

Piazza tribute is now available on mlb.com and mets.com

ScarletKnight41
Oct 03 2005 08:14 AM

Thanks cooby :)

holychicken
Oct 03 2005 08:31 AM

I'm glad I went.

Got a great deal on tickets because I showed up at 2 (my gf took forever packing for a trip back to Boston) and I convinced the scalper to give us the tickets at 18 dollars off of face value.

Moved around abit to get out of the sun. . . it was so hot. Ended up right above the Mets dugout in the Mezz Boxes. Good viewing area. The ladies behind us were crying all game and totally flipped out when Anderson Hernandez got his first hit (it was nice to see that too) yelling "that's my boy!" So I wondered if they were related to him.

I didn't ask because they were so emotional the whole time I was afraid to get involved. It appeared that they needed their time to themselves.

Elster88
Oct 03 2005 09:21 AM

Willie, you stupid son of a bitch. How the hell is it possible to screw something like this up?

]Piazza, who finished the season hitting .251 with 19 home runs and 62 runs batted in, said he wished he could have had another at-bat to redeem himself.

He would have batted in the bottom of the eighth, but Manager Willie Randolph inserted Mike DiFelice.

"If we had a chance to win, he would have stayed in," Randolph said.

For Piazza, it might have worked out for the best. Had he stayed in, he said he probably could not have kept his composure.
---NY Times

I loved almost every moment of yesterday's game (except for Mikey not getting another at-bat, but until now, I figured he asked out since it immediately followed his tribute), and this only taints it about .001%. A Piazza base hit would've made it perfect (or of course better yet a home fun). Only Willie could do something this dumb.

Valadius
Oct 03 2005 09:27 AM

I just watched the video.

This is one terribly painful farewell...

metsmarathon
Oct 03 2005 03:03 PM

my one thought with willie pulling him is this... now we'll never know. we can dream and imagine that mike piazza woulda knocked one to the moon - or the keyspan sign - if he'd been given that at bat.

and maybe i like that better than if he had just another damned grounder to short.

but yeah, i totally wanted to see him get another at bat at the time. i just wasn't one of the idiots booing willie as mike left the field.

Elster88
Oct 03 2005 03:05 PM

In case this is a veiled question in my direction, I didn't boo. And I wouldn't have even if I knew at the time that Willie made the decision himself.

metsmarathon
Oct 03 2005 03:18 PM

not directed towards anybody in particular. just that as mike was walking off the field, there were idiots booing. and they sounded nearby. i was in section 260, also 3rd base side.

i actually got one of them fancy pepsi prize patrol t-shirts out of the day!

granted, the boobirds were out in the first inning. i guess they wanted to get their money's worth for the long offseason.

Edgy DC
Oct 03 2005 03:24 PM

Piazza saying that he wishes he got another shot doesn't necessarily mean he wasn't jake with being pulled under the circumstances.

It's a cake-and-eat-it-too situation.

I still would have had him stay in. But I still suspect, despite his statement, that he consented to the replacement.

The Brooklyn Bum
Oct 03 2005 07:59 PM

:cry:

MLB.com has a [url=http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20050929&content_id=1229407&vkey=news_nym&fext=.jsp&c_id=nym]collection[/url] of some Piazza moments.

Let's hope the Wilpons do the right thing and either bring him back for one more season behind the plate, or throw tons of money to get him working on the new TV network.

:cry:

metirish
Oct 03 2005 08:25 PM

Piazza coming back to the Mets speculation has started, When did Wally Mattews resurface?..


http://www.newsday.com/sports/columnists/ny-spwally1004,0,6529628.column?coll=ny-sports-columnists

Benjamin Grimm
Oct 04 2005 06:56 AM

Here it is, for posterity, and also for those too lazy to click the link:

'Right price' may keep Piazza here
Wallace Matthews

October 4, 2005

Just when you thought you had said your last goodbyes to Mike Piazza . . . it might be time to say hello again.

Sunday was Mike Piazza Appreciation Day at Shea Stadium, a chance for the fans to say goodbye to the player who did more in the pre-Pedro Era than any other player to alter the perception and performance of New York's other baseball team during the last 10 years.

And say goodbye they did, before, during and after the game, to the point that it was getting, well, a little embarrassing for everyone concerned. By the time Piazza mercifully was pulled from the game after the seventh inning, he had been given the baseball equivalent of a 21-gun salute.

Hopefully, Piazza did not allow the clubhouse door to hit him on the way out, because the Mets might ask him to walk back through it again. Yesterday, general manager Omar Minaya said, "I'm not closing the door on Mike Piazza."

He didn't just say it once, or twice, or three times. How about seven times within a short conversation on the future of the Mets' catching position? Clearly, the door is open for Piazza's return to Shea -- under the proper conditions, of course.

"It all depends on the price," Minaya said. "And it all depends on where Mike is at. I'm gonna sit down with Mike soon and find out what he wants to do."

Minaya addressed other Mets needs such as strengthening the bullpen, finding a closer to replace Braden Looper (Billy Wagner? Kyle Farnsworth? The Marlins' Todd Jones?), adding a bat or two to the lineup and somehow coaxing the kind of production out of Carlos Beltran that was expected of him in the first season of his seven-year, $119-million deal.

"We expected more out of Bel.tran, yes," Minaya said. "He was hurt early, and then he started pressing and just kept on pressing, I think. He is low-key. You'd like to have a little bit more energy and I think that in this town, you gotta be careful with that, you can't be too low-key."

Intriguing stuff, but none of that is really news. The possibility that Piazza might want to take back his farewell speech for one more year certainly is. "I don't believe in closing doors," Minaya said.

Conventional wisdom says Piazza, 37 years old and with a right arm best used for waving bye-bye to opposing baserunners, is headed to the American League, where he conceivably still can command healthy dollars as a designated hitter.

But conventional wisdom often is sadly mistaken. "Mike may not want to go to the American League, you know?" Minaya said. "At the right price, I think we could find a spot for him here."

What the "right price" is has yet to be determined, but obviously, it would be nowhere close to the $91 million, seven-year deal he just completed. "I wouldn't rule anything out," Jeff Borris, Piazza's agent said.

And yet, the Mets might be willing to spend some serious money to lure Piazza back for another year or two. At some point, they have to move on, but apparently, they haven't reached that point yet.

Although he got the last important hit of their season, a three-run homer in the eighth inning against the Phillies on Aug. 30 that left the Mets a mere game out of the NL wild-card spot, the Mets don't seem to consider Ramon Castro a long-term option behind the plate.

In fact, among the only available free-agent catchers out there is the Padres' Ramon Hernandez, a 29-year-old who hit .290 with 12 homers and 58 RBIs and missed 63 games with a knee injury. And Hernandez wouldn't come dirt cheap, he made $4.3 million in 2005 and will expect a big raise.

The downside, of course, is that bringing back Piazza risks spoiling a rare baseball story that seems to have come to a happy ending even without a world championship.

As it stands, Piazza was leaving while we still liked him and he still liked us.

"Mike's been great for this franchise and great for this town," Minaya said. As the man said repeatedly, he's not closing the door on the possibility of bringing back a guy like that.

Edgy DC
Oct 04 2005 07:15 AM

Matthews did a responsible job until he gets to this little hook at the end.
]As it stands, Piazza was leaving while we still liked him and he still liked us.


That's a strange little loaded truism there.