Talking about fellow AAer Jeffrey Paternostro about Mike Piazza earlier this week reminded me of the simple fact that Mike Piazza was kind of awesome at baseball. I don't think anyone would dispute this, but sometimes it's great to just reflect upon his awesomeness.
I would love to make this edition of Let's Go to the Videotape a collection of great Piazza moments on the field. But since MLBAM is highly litigious and not fond of allowing you to embed their videos, we will have to make do with Piazza's other forays into television--commercials, namely. Between his years in LA and NY, Piazza was quite the sought after spokesman, and he was seen shilling for many a consumer item over the years.
We'll start with one of the few actual "game action" clips I can share with you: a video from CNN Sports from way back in 1996, addressing Piazza's already apparent greatness. Watching this now, it's fascinating to see just how early in his career Piazza was discussed among the greats at his position, and how early the necessity of moving him from catcher was also discussed.
And now, the ads. In this Fox Sports promo, Piazza communicates with his special lady friend exclusively via catcher's signals. It comes from his Dodger days, but ironically, is meant to promote a game between LA and the Mets. Behold, your future!
Do you remember 10-10-220? Of course not. But back in the late 1990s/early 2000s, it was one of many numbers you were supposed to dial to get better long distance rates. To give you some historical context, the height of such phone number prefixes was roughly simultaneous with the Steroid Era. Coincidence? Yes, almost certainly.
All of these services employed well-compensated celebrity spokespersons (and some non-persons, too). Piazza was one of many 10-10-220 pitchmen, a high quality stable of glitterati that included Tony Danza, Terry Bradshaw, and ALF. This ad features Piazza and Hulk Hogan ragging on that eternal jock punching bag, modern art. Oh, those dumb eggheads and their stupid art! Piazza manages to do a better Hulk Hogan than Hulk Hogan.
Piazza did roughly a bajillion of these 10-10-220 ads, with an array of fellow athletes. In this one, he appears opposite Emmit Smith. This predates Smith's work in the Just for Men ads with Keith Hernandez, and so perhaps he hadn't quite gotten his acting chops together, because he makes some curious choices. For instance, laughing like a maniac at the very end.
And finally: look, Mike Piazza did a commercial for Pert Plus and sooner or later, all of us are just going to have to face it.