Former professional baseball writer Murray Chass created a bit of a stir last year when he wrote a couple of blog posts saying that Mike Piazza clearly did steroids. His reasoning: backne. As in Piazza had a lot of it when he played, it cleared up when drug testing kicked in and that means Piazza was a ‘roider.
And maybe he did do steroids. I have no idea. Chass doesn’t either, however, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to beat that drum. Today he unloads on Piazza for not talking to the media during his recent appearances at Citi Field, and presumes that’s because he doesn’t want to answer steroids questions.
Except he already has answered them. Here’s Piazza in the New York Post last year:
For the record, Piazza says he was a clean player. “Absolutely” is the
word he used. He claims he is not on the now infamous list of 104 failed
steroid tests from the survey phase in 2003. “No, not that I know,” he
Maybe he’s lying. Like I said, I have no idea. But if so, it’s going to take more than Murray Chass’s continued innuendo to establish it. It’ll take some sort of evidence, the kind which Chass freely admits he does not have.
And, it should be noted, the kind of evidence mainstream writers — the kind Chass used to be — constantly tell bloggers they need to have before talking about things as innocuous as trade rumors, let alone steroids allegations.
I suppose one response is to say “who cares? It’s just Murray Chass.” But Murray Chass still has a Hall of Fame vote for some reason, so I think it’s worth highlighting this sort of thing when we see it.
On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.
Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.
The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.