Mike Piazza's autobiography has been long anticipated, as fans presumed it would address a number of topics on which the should-be-Hall-of-Fame catcher has remained silent. With Piazza's book (Long Shot) set to come out on Tuesday, details have begun to leak out. Today's New York Post contains a plethora of spoilers. Based on these, it seems Piazza does, in fact, answer The Big Questions. And the answers are largely what you might expect.
Is Piazza still mad at Roger Clemens for throwing at his head during a game at Yankee Stadium? Yes, he is. He even admits to "taking karate lessons" to prepare for some form of revenge. But when Clemens pulled his bizarre bat-throwing incident in game 2 of the World Series, Piazza had second thoughts about following through.
There were complications. The least of them was the realization that Clemens was a big guy, and I stood a pretty fair chance of getting my ass kicked in front of Yankee Stadium and the world. That was a legitimate concern.
Piazza concedes his failure to act put a shadow over the games that followed. "It was the story of the Series. I couldn’t deliver a punch."
For those wondering about PEDs, Piazza "confesses" doing andro at a time when the drug was neither illegal nor banned by baseball. He also admits to "experimenting" with Vioxx to deal with the intense pain of catching and "greenies" to deal with exhaustion, plus a few other medications to deal with the aches and pains of his profession. Those hoping for some blockbuster announcement about steroids (a certain former Times columnist, maybe) will be disappointed. "I was into power, not prison." he insists.
As for That Other Rumor, Piazza uses the book to once again assert his heterosexuality. Not because he dislikes being called gay, he says, but because he resents the implication that he is a liar.
I found it hugely insulting that people believed I’d go so far out of my way — living with Playmates, vacationing with actresses, showing up at nightclubs — to act out a lifestyle that would amount to a charade. If I was gay, I’d be gay all the way.
Of all the revelations contained in the Post piece, the only ones that comes across as potentially controversial are the ones regarding Piazza's opinions about Latin players.
I certainly don’t dispute that Latin players are entitled to the same dreams and opportunities that I had, but I’m sorry: when they arrive on US soil, the onus isn’t on the American players to learn Spanish. It’s on the Latin players to learn English.
Piazza also describes having tensions with Latin teammates, going so far as to call this "some kind of weird Hispanic conspiracy against me, almost like a secret brotherhood, a Latin mafia-type of thing."
If the book garners buzz in the weeks to come, I have to imagine it will be this, rather than any talk about Clemens or his sexuality, that will do the buzzing.