he True Fans Bleed Blue and Orange: Reaction: Piazzah

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Reaction: Piazza

Well, its been a few days since Piazza has signed with the Padres, and I've needed a few days to reflect on the move. It was just a matter of time before he signed with another team and now that the day has come it feels wierd. When Piazza comes to Shea from August 8-10(I plan on going to one of those games) he certainly will get a handful of curtain calls. As everybody knows, whether you watch baseball or not, Mike Piazza is arguably the best Mets hitter of all time and he will be forever remembered. The 9/11 home run is the main Piazza memory in my mind, but you must also remember the game tying home run off of John Smoltz in the 1999 NLCS, and when he broke the home run record at Shea Stadium in 2004 to go along with the numerous times he has hit game winning or game tying home runs or has gotten the big rbi. It's no secret he's one of the most dominant catchers of all time. I was at his last game of the season and even though he went hitless every fan couldn't care less. In his last at bat when he grounded out to shortstop nobody cared everyone gave him the ovation he deserved. And when he came back out to warm up the pitcher in the bottom of the seventh most fans figured he have one last at bat. It later was revealed that Piazza was tired and he couldn't finish the game. When Willie sent out DiFelice to catch Shea started to shake, Piazza started to cry, and the last game of the season became an instant classic. Now he's with the Padres and when he returns in the beginning of August the same thing will probably happen. Minaya didn't offer Piazza a contract for 2006, and his full time catching days are over, even in San Diego. They will wind up hitting Piazza cleanup, and they will aim to get about 70-80 games of him catching and 10-20 games of him at first base. That spells a lot of days off for Piazza. His contract consists of one guarenteed year, and if he proves that he's not finished then his mutual option for 2007 should be kicked in. However, the option is a large one ($8 million), and I don't see him going back to San Diego for a second season. One thing that concerns me about the deal is that San Diego is a potential playoff team, and that may mean that should both the Padres and the Mets make the playoffs then it will be very weird rooting for Piazza to strikeout or hit into a double play. And what would happen to Piazza's reputation if he winds up hitting a home run that knocks the Mets out of the playoffs? Nevertheless, the focus should not be on the playoffs it should be on pitchers and catchers reporting (15 more days). Speaking of pitchers and catchers, Paul LoDuca is the new Met who will be catching those pitchers, and I expect him to be treated warmly. The trade to get LoDuca has been very scrutinized, but all he needs to do is put up solid numbers, something that I expect from him. He will hit either number 2 or number 6 in the lineup and will be one of the few Mets who have the abillity to strike out under 100 times. He joins Reyes as the only Met who won't threaten 100 punch outs this year. The Mets are entering a new era, and this one belongs to David Wright, and the hefty career expectations that fans have for him.


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