“The fans of Los Angeles were beating me up on a daily basis,” he wrote. “On top of that, Vin Scully was crushing me.”
Apparently Piazza also believes Scully tipped the 1996 MVP award to Ken Caminiti by praising him too much on his broadcasts.
This is where I have my own confession to make: I grew up listening to Scully, and I’ve been in the booth with him at Dodger Stadium before games listening to him talk baseball and tell stories. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him knock a player or a coach.
He’s not just an 85-year-old gem who means more to baseball than 10 Mike Piazzas ever will, he’s aghast anyone would think he goes around bad-mouthing players.
“I can’t imagine saying something about a player and his contract,” Scully told the Los Angeles Times. “I just don’t do that, ever. I’m really flabbergasted by that reference.”
If there’s another theme in the book, it’s that Piazza doesn’t believe he was ever appreciated enough for what he did on the baseball field. Yes, he became incredibly wealthy and women chased him and teammate Eric Karros down freeways after games, but LA fans, in particular, never seemed to embrace him.
He believes he was snubbed for many awards because he didn’t show up at a dinner after being voted Rookie of the Year in 1993. And then, of course, his New York Mets teammates badmouthed him for staying in the game past his prime just to get more home runs.
It’s truly strange stuff. Then again we’re dealing with someone whose father wouldn’t let him eat candy or play the trombone as a kid because it might have interfered with his batting-cage sessions.
It’s not until the last few pages that Piazza is most candid.
“I fully realize that I’ve alienated plenty of people over the years,” he writes.
On that we can agree. The difference is that it makes no sense to keep alienating them today.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
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