By Mike Steffanos
Well, Piazza is now a San Diego Padre, and although it's not going to be fun to see him in another uniform, I'm grateful for a couple of things -- that we don't have to watch him on the outside looking in, that he's not a Yankee, and that the Padres don't wear those God-awful feces-brown uniforms anymore.
Needless to say, there is a ton of articles in the New York area dailies about Mike this morning. Tyler Kepner had a good one in the New York Times that offers the following quote from Piazza's agent Dan Lozano on why Mike chose the Padres:
Mike doesn't consider himself a backup catcher. He's happy because he's going to a place where he's going to get to play. In the end, all the signs kept pushing him to San Diego.
...It's a great place to play. Kevin Towers was phenomenal throughout the whole process. Mike gets to control how much playing time he gets.
I really don't know what else to say about this. I was there the second-to-last game of the season and was one of the fans that gave Mike a standing ovation for striking out as a pinch-hitter. I remember that I had something in my eye that caused it to water quite a bit -- by coincidence, so did a lot of the men and women in the seats around me. That was my goodbye to one of the greatest Mets I've had the pleasure to watch over the years.
For all of Piazza's immense success with the Mets, you get the feeling he never was fully appreciated by the fans, the media or Mets management.
I don't care about the media or Mets management, but as far as the fans were concerned, what the hell are you talking about? The few loudmouths that will criticize any Met star that doesn't bat 1.000 and make every play flawlessly in the field? Again, like Sherman earlier in the week, Kernan seems to think that these few speak for the many. I was there one of many times when real Met fans showed Mike how we felt.
I have the utmost respect for sportswriters and columnists, but I'm losing patience with this type of thing. To Kernan, and those like him who feel the need to make asinine, broad-brush type self-righteous pronouncements, I have one thing left to say: "Screw you, you pompous jerk." Real Met fans have no apology to make to Mike Piazza -- or to you, either.
On a happier note, Newsday offers a great 64 photo slideshow on Piazza to us undeserving Mets fans in this article. Click on the second photo down.
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