Mike Piazza took karate lessons to prepare for Roger Clemens, saw Guns N’ Roses after 1998

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We’ve seen some of the excerpts from Mike Piazza’s upcoming book. But beyond PEDs and the Hall of Fame, there’s other interesting stuff. Like how he was all ready to fight Roger Clemens after the helmet beaning incident:

Piazza tells how he mapped out a plan for revenge — taking karate lessons and visualizing the next time they would go at it.

“I would approach with my fist pulled back. I figured he’d throw his glove out for protection. I’d parry the glove and then get after it,” Piazza writes.

Except he didn’t, and Piazza chides himself in the book for never throwing a punch, in part because he was worried he’d get his butt beat.  Which, whatever. If Robin Ventura could recover from his ass-whupping, I don’t see why Piazza couldn’t have risked it.

But that’s not the only embarrassment Piazza reveals:

After a Guns N’ Roses concert, Piazza — who’d been drinking vodka all night — chided lead singer Axl Rose for wearing Rangers, Knicks and Yankees jerseys on stage. But not his team’s.

“I’m obliterated. I go, ‘Hey, yo, Axl! What the f–k, man? Like, you know, you think you could’ve mixed in a Mets jersey?’ ”

That would be relatively hilarious if it had happened during the “Use Your Illusion” tour, but if Piazza was yelling at Axl to wear Mets stuff it had to have happened after he was traded there in 1998.

I’m sorry, but actually admitting to going to a Guns N’ Roses concert in those weird years before “Chinese Democracy” was released is way more embarrassing than getting your butt beat by Roger Clemens.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.