Mike Piazza's First Base Dance

Recent performance has shown us that the Mets have more than a few problems to solve; as they are currently constituted, the clubhouse optimists among them cannot entertain even the most fanciful notion of post-season play. Changes must be made.

First move? First base.

It's time for Mike Piazza to stop being so self-centered and move his butt over there. Hey Mike, stop burning the midnight oil poring over records and start educating yourself about the "team concept".

When Piazza was finally approached by the Met brass (and even that was done in a hamhanded way) he was asked if he would be interested in moving to first base. His response could be characterized as evasive at best. He does a better job blocking that question than he does blocking the plate. Why? Because he wants to continue to catch. Why? Because he wants records. It's nauseating.

His words, conciliatory in a way, belie his true feelings, which are that he adamantly opposes the experiment.

"I thought he would fight [the switch] until his dying days," former teammate Todd Zeile said to Newsday. "He wants to go to the Hall of Fame as a catcher. He wants to put up numbers as a catcher. Vance [Wilson] is a very good defensive catcher."

And Mike Piazza is a hideous defensive catcher - has been since he broke into the major leagues with the Dodgers in '92. He talks about being a liability to the team if he moves to first base? Well, I guess he doesn't fully grasp his current status behind the plate.

"The general misconception is having me take a few ground balls over there and be a first baseman," Piazza said in the New York Post. "It does not work that way. The last thing I want to do is go over there and be another liability."

During the 2002 season he didn't throw out a single base runner in his first forty-four attempts. When the last game of the season was mercifully over, he had thrown out just 21 of 146 base stealers for a 14.4 percent success rate. Now that's a liability. If it wasn't such a baseball crime, it would be comical.

Realistically, and almost sadly, he doesn't even have an offensive case to make. One could consider his position a little more seriously if he had some better numbers than three homers and six RBIs on the season. Then, as part of his continuing effort to spin his version, he states that Tony Clark is doing a pretty darn good job over there right now, thank you very much. What a load of crap.

What a help you're being, Mike. You're making well over fifteen million dollars a year, but you're a defensive terrorist. You, my man, are the face of the franchise, and you're worried about a man who is not even in the franchise's long-term plans? Real smart.

Maybe Mike should stop being so selfish, and let the Mets begin to start putting parts in place for the future. And no one ever stated that he had to play first on a daily basis. One or two games a week would allow him to finish the year as catcher, keep his bat in the lineup, and keep his aging body fresh.

Oh by the way, going into Friday night's action, Vance Wilson has the same number of home runs (3) and more RBIs (10) in thirty-five at bats than Piazza does in eighty-three. Not to mention that Vance has committed no errors in ninety-two innings while Piazza has seven in about double the time.

So Mike, baby, stop crying about how the organization handled the situation wrong. We all know they did - so what? Does that give you an excuse to act like a pre-schooler?

It's time to throw the gear in the closet a few days a week or risk eroding your integrity even further. And, yea, in the process you might even win a few more baseball games sometime soon.

But wait a minute, I forgot; you're not worried about things like wins, just things like records.

Writer Christopher Guy covers the Mets for NYMFansOnly.com and you can e-mail him at CGGuy86@Yahoo.com


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