Why Can’t Bobby Valentine Be This Interesting on Twitter?

I was a big fan of Bobby Valentine as manager of the Mets, and think he’s great as a commentator. He also can be pretty much a dick sometimes. The thing is, his most shocking comments, the ones that cause controversy and outrage, he is usually right about. After all, Derek Jeter WAS out of position when he made “the flip,” and the Mets were more visible than the Yankees in the first few weeks after 9/11. Anyway, those who love him, love him at least in part because of the “shocking” things he says.

You can follow Bobby Valentine on twitter, but on twitter, shockingly, @BobbyValentine is really really boring. Who could have predicted that? Great job, Sacred Heart, blah blah blah.

Anyway, Bobby Valentine was on WFAN with Joe Beningo and Evan Roberts on Thursday. As you would hope from Bobby Valentine, he made some interesting comments. The part that might make the most headlines is what he said about Ruben Sierra. He claims he noticed Sierra put on a ton of weight over one offseason, and wasn’t known as a weightlifter. Bobby inquired about it, and was told by people that he should stay out of it. Evan pushed him on who was trying to hush him, but Bobby acted as if he couldn’t remember because it was a long time ago, but clearly he remembered getting the message to look the other way.

Bobby was asked about Mike Piazza and the Hall Of Fame. Bobby said Mike was unquestionably the best hitting

Bobby Valentime Tweeting
Bobby Valentine Tweeting

catcher of his generation, and maybe in the history of the game and he deserves to be in the Hall. He said he never even had a hint that Mike might be using PEDs, but admitted who was using what wasn’t something that anybody cared about at that time.

Bobby then made an excellent point about the BBWAA that I hadn’t ever considered until now.

“The [writers] who voted for Mike to be the MVP… probably aren’t voting for him now to go to the Hall of Fame”

Mike Piazza never actually won an MVP award, though he finished second in 1996 and 1997, and finished in the top 10 seven times.  However, when you consider Barry Bonds’ case, Bobby Valentine’s point is made clear:

The exact same writers who won’t put Barry Bonds in the Hall of Fame (less than 35% of writers voted for him this year), voted for Barry Bonds to be Most Valuable Player SEVEN times, including EVERY year from 2001 to 2004, when he got 91 percent of first place votes and even people who thought O.J. was innocent knew that Bonds was juicing.

The HOF voting group is larger than the MVP group, but still – how ‘revisionist history’ can a group get?

For a long time I thought it was justified keeping Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens out of the Hall, because in my mind these guys were obvious cheaters. These guys were so stubborn about their denials of blatant ‘roid use, I thought they deserved what they got. But lately I’ve been coming around. Barry Bonds was unquestionably the dominant player of his era. He absolutely deserves to be in the Hall, whatever he was using to inflate his biceps and cranium.

When Piazza eventually gets into the Hall of Fame, I will take my son to the induction ceremony. (He’s six now, hopefully he won’t have to drive me to Cooperstown.) I think Barry Bonds should have a plaque too.

Hope to meet you guys at the QBC – I’ll be wearing a UVA “V” baseball cap. If you see me, say hello!


Mixed Feelings About Mike Piazza’s Hall Of Fame Candidacy in 2014

Piazza at Shea stadium April 18 2003

Last year most Mets fans felt Mike Piazza was flat-out robbed by the BBWAA when he failed to receive enough votes to make him a first-ballot hall of famer. This same bunch spoke of Mike as a no-doubt Hall Of Fame candidate during his playing days, but five years later he was lumped with Clemens and Bonds as suspected cheaters, despite any evidence. Piazza only received 57.8% of the vote.

Piazza at Shea stadium April 18 2003

Now, a year later, writers seem to have come around. Ken Davidoff admits he made a mistake last year, and apparently many other writers have reconsidered as well. If you follow Darren Viola (@RRepoz) on twitter, you’ll see Mike Piazza currently is named on about 74 percent of the known ballots. He’s right around the needed 75 percent mark. Great, right?

Except for one thing. Greg Maddux is on 100 percent of ballots, in line to be the first unanimous inductee, and Tom Glavine is on almost every ballot as well. Mike Piazza, if inducted, would be sharing the dais with two of the most reviled Braves this side of Chipper Jones, one of whom is also one of the most reviled Mets this side of Bobby Bonilla.

So, how do we feel, Mets fans? Do we want Mike to get his just due in 2014, or wait another year, and share the stage with Pedro Martinez?



How Would Mike Piazza Rate Sandy Alderson?

Mike-Piazza-chrome.jpgI read Mike Piazza’s book, ‘Long Shot‘ back in April, with every intention of writing a review for Mets Police.  But once I finished the book, I couldn’t bring myself to write the review.  I honestly felt too bad about the possibility of hurting Mike Piazza’s feelings. I know it sounds ridiculous, or even delusional, that I thought my review on a blog could hurt a multi-millionaire professional athlete, especially a borderline Hall of Famer!  But Piazza’s book made me feel that I could.  Piazza comes off very hypersensitive and paranoid in Long Shot – as if he thinks everyone is out to get him and that he never got the unqualified respect and adulation he deserved.  He spends pages defending his defense, says there was some kind of league-wide Latin conspiracy against him, and expresses angst towards Vin Scully for contributing to Piazza being somehow screwed out of an MVP award in 1996, even though it was a unanimous vote for Ken Caminiti. Piazza writes that he wanted to have his story told to be an inspiration to kids – in his words he wishes for his story to be viewed as a “fundamentally and triumphantly American story.”


Unfortunately, I came away from Piazza’s book liking the guy less. I LOVED Mike Piazza as a Met – he gave us so many incredible moments, and made it really fun to be a Mets fan for 7 1/2 years.  But all the self-defense made him seem very small.  At the same time,  all the retold accomplishments cemented in my mind that Mike Piazza is absolutely, positively, unquestionably a Hall Of Fame baseball player. Mike Piazza Im Not Gay The Mets Police   I was astonished when a whisper campaign about steroid use began circulating in the past year or two.  Not because anyone’s use would shock me, but because the Mike Piazza narrative was suddenly being rewritten, and without any just cause.  Article after article written during his playing career spoke about him being a first-ballot hall of famer. So much was made about him being a living testament to hard work, with the unlikelihood of a 62nd round draft becoming a superstar.  I never read one word about steroid allegations during his career, but five years later he is lumped in with Clemens and Bonds and McGwire, just because of the era in which he played. Mike Piazza makes a valiant effort to explain the sudden prolificity of record-breaking long-ballers during the 1990’s and 2000’s, offering an incredibly long list of reasons: league expansion, weight training, nutritional supplements, modern medicine, ball juicing, lighter bats, padded sleeves and body armor, the acceptance of strikeouts, smaller ballparks…all of which have merit as contributing factors, until one considers that once testing became mandatory in baseball, home run totals suddenly plummeted. But whether he took steroids or not, and he assures us he didn’t, Piazza was the dominant catcher of his era, head and shoulders above the rest, and deserves  his place in Cooperstown. So why did I finally get around to writing this post?  I was reminded of Mike Piazza by an article about Sandy Alderson by Howard Megdal in Capital New York this week.  Some excerpts:

On Saturday afternoon, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said this: “I do believe that over the next six months or so we will be in position to make some significant acquisitions, whether it’s through free agency or trade. We’re certainly looking forward to that possibility.” <snip> Consider that for roughly as long as Alderson has been the general manager, dating back to October 2010, it has been his job to publicly declare what payroll would be, how long the temporary period of austerity would last, and then, when it lasted longer and payroll shrunk, to provide a new, hazy time horizon for a new and wealthier day. <snip> “The reason we haven’t spent the money is not because of Fred Wilpon. It’s because of me.” To believe that, it required accepting that Alderson, unlike basically every general manager ever, preferred to work with less money to avoid fixing a team he’d repeatedly acknowledged had cavernous roster holes. And yet, that’s been the public line from Alderson and the Mets in the subsequent months.

This reminded me of a section in Long Shot where Mike Piazza discusses Billy Beane, and whether there was a conflict of interest as a GM who was also a part-owner:

“…the GM is the guy who’s supposed to fight tooth and nail to convince the owner to go out and spend that last dollar to go get that last guy who’s going to make the ball club better.”

Many fans believe that Sandy Alderson’s hands have been tied by the Wilpons.  Sandy insists that he is trying to be prudent as he rebuilds the Mets and it’s his choice to control spending now so that he can protect the future.  I’ve personally had a hard time understanding how, for example, overpaying an outfielder on a two year contract in 2012 or 2013 would have hurt 2014. My sense is that (if he’s paying attention to the Mets), borderline Hall Of Famer Mike Piazza is suspicious as well.

37 14 41 42 — And More? « Faith and Fear in Flushing

From a few weeks back but still a good read…

Not retiring a number doesn’t mean you hand it over to the latest wide-eyed arrival from Las Vegas. No Met has worn 31 since Piazza left town, and that’s as it should be. The Mets have kept 24 mostly mothballed since Willie Mays’s cameo, handing it out only to Rickey Henderson and, um, Kelvin Torve. But without speaking ill of Dave Gallagher, David Newhan or Tito Navarro, no Met should have worn 8 or 17 or 36 since their examplars left town either.

via 37 14 41 42 — And More? « Faith and Fear in Flushing.

Wait, did Mike Piazza really do this when he was on the Mets?

Sometimes you punch Piazza into your own blog and find the scariest thing.  Did Mike really do this with his hair?  I must have gone to Rekall after seeing it.


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