Long Shot by Mike Piazza

When I read a biography, I hope to get an in-depth look into someone’s life. I want to learn about their background and upbringing; understanding the events and values that shaped their life. I develop empathy and compassion for them as I understand the lowlights and highlights that define them.

Yeah, I did not get that with Mike Piazza.

When I was a kid, I was a huge Piazza fan. I was the starting catcher for my little league team growing up an hour or so from Los Angeles during Piazza’s Dodger blue tenure. Yes, I was absolutely shocked when the Dodgers traded him away. My heart was broken then but, don’t worry, my heart is fine now.

Should Piazza be in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely, he is the best home run hitting catcher in history. Was he the best catcher? No. Was he the worst? No. I am saddened by the trend that teams move great hitters away from the catching position. Bryce Harper was a catcher during his amateur days, but as soon as he was drafted he was sent to the outfield to save his legs. I would love to see Bryce catching in the big leagues.

Would Piazza be in the Hall of Fame if he wasn’t a catcher? Probably not, but he probably would have had more hits and home runs playing another position, so the question is moot.

Nevertheless, reading Piazza’s autobiography, I started liking him less and less. He comes off very entitled. He is constantly complaining that he deserved better from coaches, GMs, scouts, players, media, almost everybody. It is not endearing at all.

Do you know how every person who runs president writes a book as sort of a manifesto before declaring their candidacy? I think Piazza wrote this book as his argument for the Hall of Fame. He lays out some convincing evidence, his statistics are compelling. But as a whole, the Piazza provides a “woe is me” mentality. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for a guy who made millions and started numerous all-star games yet was never crowned MVP. He appeared frustrated that he never won a World Series, but then again, he constantly mentions that he had to only look out for himself. These two notions conflict.

If you are a Piazza fan, perhaps ignorance is bliss.