9/11/2005 11:01:00 AM
"AS I ALWAYS SAY, THERE'S BAD LUCK AND THEN THERE'S METS LUCK"
I was shocked to see Mike Piazza's name in the starting line up last night. We all read that he was coming along and that he was taking batting practice but I never thought he'd grab a bat in a game till maybe the last week of the season. Then for him to come up and not only hit a home run but a classic Mikey P opposite field dinger brought back great memories.
But just like that the good feeling left as Julian Tavarez nailed Piazza in the side of the head with a 90 mph fastball. I seems that Mikey is OK but it's doubtful he will play for the next few days. I don't think Tavarez hit him on purpose as I know of no history between the two and the Cards have taken the life out of the Mets so why even stir them up. Add in the fact the Tony LaRussa is so dead set against throwing at opposing batters (as readers of 3 Nights in August know) it just seems like a bad accident. In fact LaRussa confronted Tavarez in the dugout and along with Izzy he went to meet with Piaza after the game:
["I jumped Tavarez," La Russa said. "And I even asked Tavarez, 'F---, you're a sinkerball pitcher, you missed by that much?'"
Tavarez told his manager he didn't intend to hit Piazza, and La Russa accepted the explanation. La Russa and ex-Met Jason Isringhausen met with Piazza after the game, though Piazza declined to speak about their conversation. La Russa indicated Piazza "reacted all right" to the talk, during which La Russa explained there was no malice.
Still, one of the few long-time Mets couldn't help but recall then-Marlin Tavarez beaning Edgardo Alfonzo in the head on July 4, 2002 after giving up three runs.
"I told Mike, 'Listen, it looks like s---, but I checked with Tavarez and there's nothing there,'" La Russa said. "... The incident where somebody gets hit in the head, whether it's Mike Piazza or anybody, spoiled the whole night for me. It's been the No. 1 pet peeve because it's scary, it's dangerous. I'd trade him not getting hit and we lose the game. Anybody who knows me knows that's sincere. They have guys on that club who have played for me. In 20-some years I've managed, I bet we've hit a half-dozen guys. We just don't pitch up and in."]
Well one good thing came of the incident as aaron Heilman nailed David Eckstein with a pitch to the thigh the next inning. The Mets have a reputaion around baseball for not sticking together so Heilman's response was good to see. Hopefully Willie doesn't punish him for it.
So now we see Cliff FLoyd has a sore hammy and will sit out to day's game. I hate to specualte on if I guy is hurt or not but Floyd has a reputaion of looking to cut and run when things start to go bad. Floyd has had a good season not as great as most people have made it to be but a good on none the less. Hopefully someone will want his services for 2006 as this is the classic example of Branch Rickey's "trade him a year too early rather than a year to late" because if you think Floyd is going to repeat his 2005 season in '06 your delusional.
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