A Word From Our Sponsors


Say it ain't so, Mikey.

With a childhood hero of many in the Pittsburgh and San Francisco area disgraced and shamed by steroids, you have to wonder. While another musclebound mentor to those in Oakland and St. Louis doesn't want to talk about the past, you have to wonder. When a lovably large Dominican cork magnate falls off the face of the baseball earth after making the kids of Chicago pound their chests, kiss their hand and point to the sky, you have to wonder. When another Pfizer pitchman changes his drug of choice from Viagra to Winstrol, you have to wonder. Who else is there?
Everybody speculates about people. whisperwhisperAlbert Pujols, Miguel Tejada, Brady Anderson, Bo Jackson, Albert Belle, Nomar Garciaparra, Roger Clemens.
One name I wish I didn't hear in the speculation: Mike Piazza.
Piazza is a man who has been dogged by rumors and put down his whole life. Drafted in the 62nd round by the Dodgers in 1988 as a favor to the Piazza family, young Mike out of North Miami-Dade Community College, a first baseman by trade, made it to the big leagues in 1992. Despite limited success in his major league cup of coffee that year, the Pizza-man went on to win the NL Rookie of the Year award in 1993.
And his career would go nowhere but up.
1994: .319/.370/.541 24 HR, 92 RBI
1995: .346/.400/.606 32 HR, 93 RBI
1996: .336/.422/.563 36 HR, 105 RBI
1997: .362/.461/.638 40 HR, 124 RBI
1998: .328/.390/.570 32 HR, 111 RBI
1999: .303/.361/.575 40 HR, 124 RBI
2000: .324/.398/.614 38 HR, 113 RBI
2001: .300/.384/.573 36 HR, 94 RBI
2002: .280/.359/.544 33 HR, 98 RBI
This 9 year span was improbable for a kid who was not supposed to do anything in the big leagues. These numbers were utter insanity from a catcher. I myself was a big fan of Piazza. I loved his production. I loved the fact that he'd never back down and that he was mad clutch. But of course, you hear stories.
The tale of Piazza was that he was a skinny kid from Pennsylvania who went to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic, where steroids are legal. Piazza then came back heavier and more muscular and tore the cover off the ball. I wish that didn't scream steroids.
When Steve Phillips appears on ESPN and tells us how there were a bunch of guys he suspected as steroid users on the Mets during his reign, I wish it didn't make me think of Mike Piazza. I'd rather like to think of Cedeño, Benitez and Ordoñez as juicers.
In 2003, I was listening to a Mets-Giants game on the radio. The Mets were at bat, and Mikey P, our best hitter, stepped up to the plate. He had a check swing on a ball. And suddenly he was injured. I thought it might be a cramp or a pulled muscle. Then I heard later that he had torn his groin. A groin tear on a check swing? Our best hitter out for months? Vance Wilson starting? I wish freak groin and hip injuries weren't a sign of steroid use. But after speaking to two doctors at dinner last night, it was clear that such injuries were certainly byproducts.
I wish Piazza's OBP didn't fall forty points in the year that steroids were first tested for.
When his name gets mentioned in the same sentence as obvious steroid hounds, I get upset. And it's hard to think about, even though his name and number 31 will no longer grace the middle of the Mets' order. A childhood hero, a cheater? A needle fiend? You have to wonder.

One final note: In my mind, while excluding juicers, the single-season home run record is 60. It was set by Babe Ruth in 1927.


some random thoughts on a dreary friday

I was gonna write another article on BB, but I reconsidered. Honestly, I was a little scared I might turn into Pedro Gomez overnight. So, in lieu of another hard hitting editorial article, I give you some random thoughts on this dreary friday.

First, I can't believe I haven't mentioned this yet. For any basketball fans reading, the new MJ commercial, "The 2nd Generation", is the best commerical I've ever seen. I'm not lying. I know ESPN has already written an article on it, but I didn't believe till I'd seen it. Taking into account that you have a deep appreciation for basketball, the commercial gets to you in a lot of ways. Check it out, b-ball fans, it's worth it. Jumpman23.com --> click between the shoes (you need flash 8 or w/e) --> click upper left box called Air Jordan XXI --> click watch. enjoy.

Second. WBC corrospondent here. So, we didn't get humiliated. Griffey drove in 7, Lee, 4, and Roger was masterful (the bastard). I gotta tell you, as much as I knew that we couldn't lose, there was something in the back of my head yelling about how badly American sports had humiliated itself in the past, especially more recently. I won't go into details. However, the fact that we were playing South Africa really shows a weakpoint of the WBC. There aren't 16 countries that care about baseball. I mean to quote Jack, what's South Africa gonna do to us, put Nelson Mandela on the mound? Suggestion: The field should be 8. That way, you can have like 3 or 4 from the Carribean, 2 from Morth America, 1 from Europe, and 1 or 2 from Asia. It's a good idea, and it would increase the drama and get rid of the kinda lackluster drubbings that we had to witness today. Think about it Buddy.

Third, I'd like to discuss my newfound respect for Skip Bayless. Don't hurt me. The guy writes articles that many other reporters are too scared to write. He crosses a lot of lines that probably shouldn't be crossed. And he's an idiot. But he's being an idiot with class. And isn't that the most important thing?
Read his newest page 2 on ESPN about Barry. It's good, or at least I think so.

Moving right along, Jack and I have an ongoing feud. I'm assuming everyone out there remembers when DJ went careening into the stands after a flyball, cutting hmself and heroically showing what it means to be a real baseball player. =) Now, Jack thinks he was showboating and could have stopped or at least braced himself for impact. Tell him he's wrong, you guys. (Also, his play to get Giambi was not diminished by the fact that Jeremy did not slide. It was a ridiculous play. Admit it metland.)

In addition to this, I'd like to open a sort of informal poll. If you hate the Yankees, drop a line stating in 100 words or less why you despise them. If you love 'em, write about why they're so great. Have fun with it.

Finally, I'm gonna leave you on a more serious note. As a relatively recent baseball fan, I don't know or rmember much about Kirby Puckett. In the wake of his death, however, I've been hearing that he was Minnesota, a state hero of sorts. And I always kinda had a respect for Kirby as a sports fan, not because of anything personal, but because he was always portrayed as being a consistently great player who loved to have fun. I'm sure he was a good man, troubled, but good. And as is usually the case, he died too soon.
However, his death opens the door for a good question. In the world and history of New York sports, who would you say has stepped beyond the realm of being beloved into the realm of becoming New York?
Get back to me.



barry, we hardly knew ye

Everyone just wants to talk about baseball. About the WBC (and there's plenty to talk about. CANADA!), about spring training, (and whether or not the WBC is having an irreversably negative effect on it,) the Blue Jays, about how every team has a clean slate. It's about the game. Who cares about some stupid steroid scandal. It is about the game.
This is the game, people. This is arguably the greatest player in the history of baseball getting exposed. That he has been using steroids since 1998, largely in response to another 500 clubber's use of the stuff and the fact that instant popularity was practically a side effect. This is about his fall from innocence. And yes, I do think that before Barry did this to himself, he was a good guy. This is about the greatest record in professional sports no longer holding any merit. But most of all, this is the biggest scandal to hit baseball. Ever. And Steve Finley can say what he wants to. About how the book shouldn't have been released in the midst of the inaugural WBC. I mean, he's right isn't he? We don't need these distractions do we? If anything, Steve Finley and the WBC is the distraction. This... now this is not a distraction. This is the deepest running web of lies, hate, and darkness that I've ever seen. Have you read the article? Do so. And Barry is not innocent. We all knew it, the same way we all knew about Giambi, and Palmeiro, and McGuire. He used steroids, he overused them, he became addicted to them, he went to Conte, Conte made him bigger, and finally, as a result, Maris means nothing, the Babe means nothing. The only idols we got are two steroid users, one of which committed purjery and the other who threatened to kill his girlfriend. So, you may not like it, but this is what baseball is. And if we're not going to confront it, if we're gonna let this take backstage, then it's not going to stop. Barry is not a Hall of Famer, Barry is not in the record books, and as far as I'm concerned, he was a never a major league baseball player. Harsh, maybe, but you have to read the article. He's guilty people,
"Or did I f****** stutter?"

Now, sorry for the heavy tone. On a lighter note, WE LOST TO CANADA. At baseball. How humiliating. Part of me is slightly disgusted, but the other says hey, what the hell, it's good for baseball. But Canada? Wow. And I hear South Africa's got a monster of a hitter in... Ian Butcher? The name popped out at me. Roger best be careful, those South Africans could knock him around.

Well, I wrote that with a straight face, to take a page from SI, that's today's sign of the apocalypse. No Daig, yet, but coming. Friday, probably Saturday.
The disease affecting millions today,

lamenting our lost brother

"Why does it always rain on me? Is it because I lied when I was 23?"
-Fran Healy

And while I am, in this case, taking advantage shamelessly of the fact that Fran "Look at that ball sail over the Budweiser sign right into the Pepsi Picnic Area" Healy shares a name with the lead singer of Scottish band Travis, I do think we owe a tribute to our dear friend Fran, who won't be joining us on SNY. Sure, we have Steve "Say Hello to My Little Friend" Berthiaume, Keith "I have to take two weeks off from color commentary on games every year to facilitate a new marriage, honeymoon and divorce" hernandez, Ron "I Went to Yale" Darling and Gary Cohen. But we lost something with Healy. We lost an annoying, whiny voice that had somehow been the staple of Mets TV for nearly twenty years. We lost a man who was a career .250 hitter in nine seasons as a Royal starter and backup catcher and as a Yankee backup. We waved goodbye to a fellow who'd advertise anything he could, even at the most inopportune time. He always said his "Come out to Shea and watch Jose Reyes run" or look at Geico this, Nikon that. He'd happily talk about the commercials that had just aired after the commercial break. How could you not miss his poorly produced interview specials, Mets Inside Pitch and Hot Stove Report. I remember a Hot Stove Report last year where the only guest was Rico Brogna. That was Franny's understated screw you to Metsland. You want Mike Piazza? Willie Randolph? David Wright? I'll give you Rico Brogna. And you'll like it, too! Fran would come on during rain delays with his grainy Barbara Waltersesque footage talking to some baseball man, if they weren't able to cue up a Kiner's Korner rerun in time. And he'd ask his usual softball questions, and then they'd take you back to Mets-Rockies, where Jose Santiago had loaded the bases in the eighth inning with Luis A. Gonzalez at the plate when it started to rain. But we love Sir Fran. You must, for this man is a saint in the land of mediocre announcing and baseball.

I'm just glad to see he's found another business opportunity.

"now that's a can of corn."

for another top-notch perspective, check out faith and fear's take.


the cheese stands alone (finals week edition)

well, it's finals week up here in chilly Massachusetts. but it's the first week of tha WBC and more spring training games in PSL. i watched the puerto rican mets play the minor league mets on ESPN yesterday, and even though they lost, I liked what I saw. I liked firstings, he was beautiful, and played the whole game no less. I liked Julio Ramirez's hair; it was colorful and funky. I liked Carlos Beltran at the dish for the enemies, and even Jeremi Gonzalez impressed me. Fernando "Jesus" Martinez, was, unfortunately, incredibly overmatched, as was Brett Harper. I'm hurrying home from class today to watch Mets-Indians at 1 (on ESPN) because I'm interested in what Tom Terrific can do against that group of young barnstormin' Native Americans. So these Mets are still looking good (despite what those people wearing Mets uniforms did in Dodgertown yesterday) and I'm psyched for this season. Aren't you?

In accordance with blogging regulations, we're going into a relative hiatus as Dyslexia and I have finals this week. I'll be home for two weeks and will hit y'all up on the best thing since sliced bread-- SNY. Later.