Why the bashing should stop
One of the big themes this season on this site has been the bashing of Piazza and the bemoaning of the fact that he should be hitting lower in the order. I've done my fair share of it along with everyone else but in light of several Post All Star Game articles I'm going to suggest something different. Let's stop bashing him. Let's appreciate his final run. After so many articles from mainstream publications about "creaky-kneed" Piazza or "16 million" Mike I am finally getting annoyed. Granted, he is nowhere near the player he used to be, but at age 36 and playing catcher, that is to be expected. Yet this is still a guy who is a lock for the Hall of Fame, has the most homers at his position in the history of the game and in his prime was one of the best hitters of the past 25 years. Going further, as a Mets fan, he has given us 7 1/2 years of great memories and success, in the form of 3 playoff appearances and a World Series appearance. Just a simple reminder of how good he was I present his career numbers as a Met, his first full 6 seasons, excluding his months in 1997 and this year so basically 1998-2004:
6 seasons*(2003 played only 68 games, 2004 played only 129 due to injury)
An average season for Piazza breaks down to:
30 Home Runs
244 Total Bases
Now the average has dipped the past few years, as have the overall power numbers and the number of runs can be attributed to the lack of hitters behind him, but I'd be willing to bet that 6 years worth of the following numbers are tops among all catchers.
This doesn't even count the huge Mike moments, the homer in the 10 run comeback from teh Braves, the 1999 MVP run that just faltered at the end, the homerun in the first game after 9/11, and many more.
Basically we have had the privelage of watching a future HOF play his heart out for the Mets for the past 7+ years and we as Mets fans, and fans all over, need to show a little respect. Sure you can boo him and yell for him to be moved down in the order, but never forget what he has given us and never forget that we will probably never see a better catcher ever play for the NY Mets.
That said, put him 6th behind Wright..