Monday, May 10, 2010

Piazza Wants to be Enshrined in Hall of Fame as a Met

From the New York Times, a great little story on Piazza today.

And although Major League Baseball will decide which team’s cap will be on his plaque, Piazza, who played the first seven years of his 16-year career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, said he would want to be inducted as a Met.

“The bulk of my career was with the Mets,” he said, “and after going through the trade, then the drama of 9/11. I’ll never forget my Dodger days. But my time with the Mets is what I’ll remember most about my career.”

I'll admit, this is an issue I've worried about WAY more than I should have. In the end, the cap Piazza wears to the Hall is meaningless - his contribution to the Mets won't be any less valuable. But for some reason, I have cared a lot about it.

Maybe it is because Piazza came to the Mets and made us relevant again just as I was coming into maturity as a baseball fan. Maybe it is because he's an all-time great and because the Mets have so little to be proud of up in Cooperstown.

Whatever the reason, it makes me happy that Piazza feels the same way. He could easily say he prefers to be a Dodger - a team with a long and storied history, who drafted him in a round of the draft that doesn't even exist anymore - but he didn't. It makes me happy to know that he may have felt the same way that we did as fans when he hit that home run after 9/11, or when he flew out to end the World Series.

We always knew that Piazza was a good guy - a good human being. He was a rarity among athletes, all along. But now we also know that he wasn't just a player we rented from the Dodgers, only temporarily (even if he only came to the Mets because of money at the time). Now we know he was a Met at heart - that he bled blue and orange with the rest of us. Now we know that the standing ovation we gave him when he homered against us as a San Diego Padre was not misplaced. That the closing ceremony at Shea might has meant as much to him as it did to us fans.

In the end, MLB will decide what cap he wears into the Hall. And ultimately, it doesn't matter. But it was nice to hear. Thanks, Mike.

[1] Personal feelings aside, I think this tribute video is just amazing. It's so well done.

[2] For what it's worth, Piazza was better on a per-game basis as a Dodger. There's no disputing that. But he was damned good as a Met, and was here longer, playing more games, getting more hits, hitting more home runs, and driving in more runs as a Met than anywhere else.

[3] It's hard to believe that less than a decade ago we had a catcher bat .324 with 38 home runs - wow.

1 comment:

tate31nym said...

That was the best 3 minutes that I have had in 5 years. I miss those days so much!