Two recent Piazza tweets/quotes.
"Too many hitters are swinging from their ASS at shitty pitches with runners on instead of focusing on hitting the ball back through the box, keeping hands close to body and making solid contact." -@mikepiazza31
"Ted Williams Three keys to hitting: 1. Get a Good Pitch to hit, i.e. a Strike. 2. A compact quick swing, 3. Proper thinking (hitting according to the situation) @mikepiazza31
How can we lure this man from the sunny hills of Emilia-Romagna to the underground batting cages in Citi Field? Is there a better candidate to come in and fix the Mets' hitting woes than the greatest right handed bat the Mets ever had? I'm sure everyone here who watched Piazza hit has images in their minds of the line drives he'd hit over the SS or 2B heads with runners on second or third and 2 outs. A man with prodigious power, shortening his swing to get the job done time and again.
Let's look at the top of the fifth inning in last night's game against the Phillies with the heart of the Mets line-up coming up and with Piazza's tweets in mind. McNeil leads off with a double in a 1-1 game. Alonso, 'swinging from his ASS' as Piazza so eloquently put it, flies out to left. Runner doesn't score, runner doesn't advance. Dom Smith follows Pete and takes the first pitch for ball one. On a 1-0 pitch off the plate, (Ted Williams' number one rule up there) Dom weakly flies out to Herrera in left. Runner doesn't score, Runner doesn't advance. Two outs, McNeil still on second. Baez gets the count to his favor 2-0 and proceeds to foul two pitches back evening the count at 2-2. Now, if at 3am in the morning, sitting on the floor of my new house on the east coast of Ireland watching this game on MLB.tv, I (and we all) KNOW Gibson is going to throw a slider away in the dirt, how does Baez not have the awareness to know this? Regardless, Javy, 'swings from his ASS' at a slider 6 inches? A foot? off the plate and in the dirt for strike three and the Mets go down quietly in the top of the 5th just like they did in the top of the 4th when our ELITE OBP lead off hitter swung at the first pitch and hit the perfect, tailor made, two hop double play ball to second base ending another No out bases loaded inning without plating a run. Back to back innings, no out RISP opportunites and nothing but a whimper.
Which leads me to this 'Nice' team. 'Nice' guys. 'Nice' players. Easy to root for. Smiles. Cookie Clubs on the road. Stuffed animals in the dugout. Huh? (Our High School coach used to give us Twizzlers and pretzel rods in the bus on the way home from road games but we were 15 years old.) Where's this teams Ray Knight? Our Wally Backman? Nails? Strawberry? Hernandez? These weren't 'nice' guys. These weren't 'nice' players. These guys went onto the field with one intention and you can be sure if you weren't getting the job done somebody would let you know. Who in this Mets clubhouse is dressing down the team? Who's holding the behind closed door meetings? Where's the leadership and accountability?
Let's quickly go back to the top of the 5th last night. Two outs, McNeil on second and the 1-0 pitch from Gibson to Baez gets 15 feet away from Realmuto. McNeil doesn't advance. Egregious? Hernandez didn't think so with two outs and the runner already in scoring position but I think it's emblematic of the team's recent malaise. No alertness. No aggression. Maybe in a 1-1 game if McNeil's on third, Gibson is a little more hesitant to go AS far down and away in the dirt to Baez. When a team is in a 'rut' like this they need to do any and everything to get out of it. Sure, it's the dog days of summer but they're in a pennant race! How about you back up plays in the outfield Nimmo? How about you take 3rd base McNeil? How about you bear down in non-save situations and keep us in the game Diaz? How about you do anything at all, Mikey? This happening in a game in which the Mets were protecting a 1/2 game lead against their division rivals does not bode well. It's time to find an edge and start fighting.
Piazza was in town for the Mets Hall of Fame ceremony last weekend, I suggest Cohen put him and the family up at the Mandarin for the next few months.
Peace, Love and LFGM.