Hi, I’m Mike Piazza.*
Do you remember me? Normally I wouldn’t ask that because I seem to remember being quite famous a few years ago, but it seems like several hundred people whose business it was to follow my career have forgotten me, and I just don’t know how to deal with that. I mean, I know there were better players than me, but I hit .308/.377/.545 for my career with 427 homers in 16 seasons. My career OPS+ was 143. The next three catchers on that list whose careers have already ended are Mickey Cochrane, Bill Dickey and Johnny Bench, and they’re way behind. I played in the World Series. Everyone said when I played that I was heading to the Hall of Fame.
But today I got just 57.8% of the vote, and at the risk of sounding arrogant, I think that’s kinda light, don’t you?
It’s almost as if someone is holding something against me and my Hall of Fame candidacy apart from what I did on the field. I know that’s possible! It happens to a lot of players these days. But (again, sorry for being narcissistic) I Googled myself and I couldn’t find a single article written which presents any facts which would reasonably lead someone to withhold their vote. I wasn’t named on any lists or outed in anyone’s book. There’s just … nothing.
It’s almost as if 42.8% of the Hall of Fame electorate has been talking about me behind my back, too cowardly to come out and accuse me of something, yet holding that something against me all the same. I’m just a simple man from Pennsylvania and I don’t necessarily understand how everything in the world works, but that strikes me as kinda wrong.
Sorry if that’s rude, but it beats the other explanation I have in mind: that 42.8% of the BBWAA are blithering idiots and wouldn’t know a Hall of Fame catcher if Carlton Fisk fell out of the sky, landed on their face and started to wiggle.
Thanks for your time.
*At least we here are assuming this was Mike Piazza. We heard this voice with a distinct Pennsylvania accent saying these words in our head moments after the Hall of Fame results were announced and felt duty-bound to put to pen to paper in order to preserve them for posterity.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.