User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

Piazza to join Mets HOF in September

NEW YORK (AP) - Mike Piazza understands what it's like to be a New York Mets fan. That's why his selection for the team's Hall of Fame means so much to him

``Sometimes the tough times really define you when you're going through the good times,'' he said Sunday. ``When you have that sort of roller-coaster history and some adversity - well, a little bit more than some.''

Almost always competing with the Yankees for attention, the Mets entered their 52nd season with just two World Series titles, in 1969 and 1986. The high-spending Bronx Bombers have 27 in a century-plus of play.

The Yankees represent tradition. The Mets, a National League replacement after the Dodgers and Giants left for California, will always be the upstarts. With fewer seats, lower revenue and a less-glamorous roster than their Bronx rival, the Mets usually feel like underdogs.

That's why Piazza appreciates the fervor of the fans who cheered him at Shea Stadium and now hope for a revival after 4 1/2 subpar seasons in Citi Field.

When the Mets succeed, the re-energized supporters surge with enthusiasm. Piazza experienced that firsthand when he helped the club reach the 2000 World Series - only to lose to the Yankees.

``It's a character thing. I mean, they ride that high with you, and even though it could be very tough struggling in this city, it's what defines this organization,'' he said. ``It's a different synergy I feel from other teams.''

While the Mets said he will be inducted into their Hall on Sept. 29 during Fan Appreciation Day at Citi Field, Piazza fell short in his first try for baseball's Hall of Fame. The burly catcher received 329 of 569 votes when totals were announced in January, falling 98 shy of the necessary 75 percent.

``I got a tremendous amount of support. As a player and a person, you just have to respect processes and understand that this is the way it's always been done,'' he said. ``There's been some great players in history that have had to wait their turn. I'm very much proud of my career. I'll put my body of work up against anybody.''

Piazza realizes some suspect he used performance-enhancing drugs, even though he never tested positive and no evidence has been produced connecting him with PEDs. It's a product of the era he played in.

``There's nothing you can do about that,'' he said. ``You just tell your story and live your life and go on.''

He did exactly that this year in his memoir, ``Long Shot.'' Piazza said he never took steroids but did admit to using just about everything else, including androstenedione, amphetamines, Creatine, ephedra and a type of asthma medicine that made him more alert and focused.

Piazza was a 62nd-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988, selected only because manager Tommy Lasorda is his godfather. He hit 220 of 427 career homers for the Mets, his team from 1998-05, and made seven of his 12 All-Star appearances with New York.

The former slugger homered to left Sunday in the celebrity softball game ahead of Tuesday night's All-Star game, easily clearing a fence ranging from 241 feet in center to 227 feet down the foul lines.

Piazza, born in Norristown, Pa., remembered back to the 1996 All-Star game when he was voted MVP of the NL's 6-0 win at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium. Piazza hit a 445-foot home run into the upper deck in the second inning off Charles Nagy, then added an RBI double against Chuck Finley in the third.

All in the ballpark where he watched games as a kid.

``Playing in front of where I grew up and winning the MVP there was unbelievable,'' he said. ``It's a great memory for me.''

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

HEADLINES Game 2 - Cubs at Indians
News: World Series MVP Odds
News: 2016 Playoff Results
MLB hopes to beat rain, get in Game 2
Cubs' Schwarber to DH for Game 2
Athletics claim pitcher Giovanni Soto
'Strong odor' of alcohol on Jose Fernandez
Stolen base at WS means free tacos
Cleveland Indians get boost from newborns
Why Buy Picks From
MLB Pro Baseball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
MLB Hot Streaks
12-3 +893 L15, +4,896 This Year
8-2 +796 Picks, 11-4 +930 G-Plays
8-2 +639 L10, 21-8 +1,349 Streak
9-1 Last 10 MLB Totals
2-0 WS Game 1, +3,026 TY
4-1 Last 5 MLB Selections
6-3 L9 Picks, 11-4 +756 G-Plays
7-3, +432 Last 10 Guarantees
7-3, +406 L10 Postseason Picks
6-1, +638 L7 MLB G-Plays
5-2 L7 Totals, +8,777 Net Profits TY
12-4, +764 Last 16 Win Streak
17-7 L24 G-Plays, +3,399 TY
10-5 Record Last 15 Totals
4-1 Last 5 Playoff Picks
MLB Pro Baseball Expert Sports picks - World Series Game 2 - Chicago Cubs at Cleveland Indians
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 8777
Jim Feist + 4896
John Fisher + 3399
Underdog Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 2314
Kevin Rogers + 1706
Jim Feist + 1480
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 3890
Jim Feist + 1656
John Fisher + 1515
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Jim Feist + 3603
Antony Dinero + 2933
Micah Roberts + 2664
Favorite Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 2922
James Manos + 2602
Micah Roberts + 2573
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 2451
Mark Franco + 1570
Bill Marzano + 1455
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership