Roger Clemens: Mike Piazza could use speed training in addition to karate

Roger-Clemens-Mike-PiazzaMike Piazza recently released his new book entitled “Long Shot,” and it has already produced an incredibly memorable quote about Roger Clemens. In the book, Piazza said that he took karate lessons to prepare for a fight with Clemens during the well-documented feud that took place between the two former All-Stars back at the turn of the century.

Clemens visited Houston Astros spring training over the weekend, and naturally he was asked about the excerpt from the book. The Rocket didn’t really take the bait, but he did throw a light-hearted jab at his nemesis.

“I wasn’t aware of that,” Clemens said, via The Houston Chronicle. “I didn’t see it. I just got a couple of texts that weren’t too pleasant about it. But, yeah, that’s great if he’s taking karate to protect himself. I don’t know.

“The only thing I remember is, didn’t he chase — he needs to go get with Jesse Owens or somebody on his speed, I think. He chased some dude around the spring training site one time, didn’t he, or something?”

As Hardball Talk pointed out, Clemens is referring to the time Guillermo Mota hit Piazza with a pitch in a spring training game and Piazza tried to fight him, but he couldn’t catch up to him. Clemens then made it clear that he has no hard feelings toward Piazza.

“He’d have to stand in line,” Clemens said of Piazza wanting to fight him. “I think there was about three guys on the Yankees that wanted a piece of me more than (he) did. He’d probably have to get in line. But in all seriousness, he’s a — I’ve gotten to know him at golf events. Todd Zeile, another good guy, and Robin Ventura — I’ve been friends with him. Some of these guys, once you get to know some of them, they’re fine. But, like I said, there was no intent there.

Yeah, I highly doubt these two guys like each other. If you don’t believe me, just as Piazza’s wife — she’ll give you an honest assessment.

Vin Scully supposedly turned LA against Mike Piazza in this interview (Video)

Vin Scully Mike PiazzaMike Piazza ventured into a territory generally considered off limits when he criticized iconic Dodgers announcer Vin Scully in his new book, “Long Shot.”

Piazza’s book was released this week, and news outlets have been sharing various excerpts from the autobiography. Many of the reviews have been positive, such as when it was revealed Piazza began taking karate lessons to prepare for a fight with Roger Clemens. But there has been backlash toward Piazza for his criticism of Scully.

According to the Los Angeles Times, in his book, Piazza blames Scully for turning the city of Los Angeles against him during his contract dispute with the club in 1998.

Piazza was in the final year of a two-year, $15 million deal and wanted a large contract extension. He was believed to be seeking a seven-year, $105 million deal from the team. The Dodgers were supposedly offering a six-year deal worth either $76 or $80 million, depending on whether you believe the team or Piazza. Piazza’s representative had set a Feb. 15 deadline for the team to reach an agreement with him that was not met. The contract dispute led to the Dodgers trading Piazza to the Florida Marlins in May, who in turn dealt the catcher to the New York Mets eight days later.

According to the Times, Piazza says Scully expressed displeasure with the “ultimatum” during an interview for Dodgers TV partner KTLA in 1998 (seen below):

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Mike Piazza took karate lessons to prepare for fight with Roger Clemens

Mike PiazzaMike Piazza has a new book called “Long Shot” that is being released this week, and it has received a good amount of press coverage thus far thanks to the New York media.

In the book, Piazza denies using steroids; admits to using andro, amphetamines, Vioxx, Ephedra, and Dymetadrine; expresses his disappointment with the results of the Hall of Fame voting; elaborates on the rumors about him being gay; discusses his odd reaction to signing a big contract; and talks about a conspiracy he believes Latin players had against him.

The New York Times had a good review of the book with a few quotes from Piazza mixed in, and the New York Post had even more anecdotes to share. The Post’s review includes perhaps the best nugget of all: Piazza admits he took karate classes to prepare for a potential revenge fight with Roger Clemens for a July 2000 beaning.

Clemens, then with the Yankees, started matters when he beaned Piazza in a July 8, 2000 game. Clemens apparently called the Mets dugout during the game to apologize, but Piazza told him to stick it.

“I grabbed [the phone], threw it and said, ‘Tell him to go f–k himself,’” Piazza says in the book.

According to the Post’s review of the book, Piazza says he began “taking karate lessons and visualizing the next time” he and Clemens would go at it.

“I would approach with my fist pulled back. I figured he’d throw his glove out for protection. I’d parry the glove and then get after it,” Piazza writes.

The next incident between the men occurred during Game 2 of the World Series when Clemens splintered Piazza’s bat and chucked one of the pieces at the Mets catcher. The revenge fight never materialized for Piazza.

“There were complications,” he recalls. “The least of them was the realization that Clemens was a big guy, and I stood a pretty fair chance of getting my ass kicked in front of Yankee Stadium and the world. That was a legitimate concern.”

Now that’s a damn shame. Had he gone through with his plans, we could have seen a repeat of Chan Ho Park’s spinning kick on Tim Belcher. I’m thinking that reading this book might be worth it just based on this story alone. As for Piazza’s wife’s thoughts on the matter, well, those are pretty notable too.

Mike Piazza’s wife says Mike thinks Roger Clemens was on steroids during the whole broken bat incident (Video)

Mike Piazza and Roger Clemens do not like each other. That’s about as much of a well-kept baseball secret as Ozzie Guillen’s temper. As far as the courts are concerned, Clemens did not lie about taking steroids. Whether you choose to believe he did or not is totally up to you. As you can see from the TMZ.com video above, Piazza’s wife and former Playmate Alicia Rickter has no problem selling him out and letting the world know his personal opinions.

I don’t think anyone could blame Mike if he did think Clemens was on steroids during the 2000 World Series. A lot of people not named Jose Canseco think Clemens took steroids, and those people didn’t have the other half of their shattered broken bat spiked at them as though they broke it intentionally to try to hurt Roger. Judging by some of the stuff Piazza said while doing his best Peter from “Office Space” impression, you can tell he does not like Clemens. You can also tell he didn’t want to talk about it but his wife (who may or may not have had a couple of cocktails during dinner) forced him into it.

My personal favorite part had to be when Piazza called Clemens a “great pitcher” and his wife’s jaw dropped. I’m guessing somebody doesn’t have nice things to say about The Rocket when the cameras aren’t rolling.

H/T Hardball Talk

Mike Piazza to Hall as Dodger or Met?

Now that The Dude has officially called it quits, the discussion begins: will Piazza go into the Hall as a Dodger or a Met? First off, The Dude goes down as the best hitting catcher in the game. He was crappy behind the plate and couldn’t throw out a special olympics hurdler, but man, could he hit. So in my eyes, there’s absolutely no question that he’s a Hall of Famer — first balloter at that. So does he go in wearing that Dodger cap, or the Mets shrouds?

Piazza was drafted by the Dodgers, started his career with the Dodgers, and first made his name as a Dodger. He was a relative of Tommy Lasorda’s — how much more Dodger can you get than that? And if it weren’t for the Dodgers and Lasorda, Piazza might never have been a professional baseball player. Piazza was the Rookie of the Year with the Dodgers, finished second twice in MVP voting with the Dodgers, and was an All-Star in all five full seasons he played in LA. The Dude hit over .318 in every full season with the Dodgers, including a ridiculous .362 in ’97. When Piazza was at his peak, it was with the Dodgers.

On the other hand, a larger part of Mike Piazza’s career was played with the Mets. Piazza played seven full seasons in New York, and spent the most part of ’98 there as well, the year he was traded. He duplicated his 40-homer season in his second year with New York and hit over 33 dingers with them four straight years. His skills declined as the years in New York went on, but Piazza was still an icon there. Most importantly, The Dude led the Mets to the World Series in 2000.

So when it comes down to it, how will The Dude be remembered? I think it’s as a Met, and I think that’s how he should go into Cooperstown. He spent a longer part of his career there, reached a World Series there, and was an All-Star there. And recent history tends to stand out more than ancient history, which is what the Dodgers are in his career. It’s a tough call, but I think The Dude goes in as a Met.

Oh yeah, and if Piazza makes it into the Hall first ballot, second ballot, or before McGwire, Bonds, Clemens, etc., that’s going to upset me. It shouldn’t be so subjective. As long as there’s a place for Mike Piazza in the Hall — which there is — he belongs in the same category as all the aforementioned characters — the steroids wing of the Hall. They were all legends of the game during the same time period and all belong in the same group.