Mike Piazza’s guide to increasing one’s popularity in Los Angeles: slam Vin Scully

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More excerpts from Mike Piazza’s new book are out. Bill Shakin has the story here: Mike Piazza criticizing Vin Scully for turning the fans against him in L.A.

Piazza talks about his contract negotiations with the Dodgers prior to the 1998 season. In an interview with Scully, Piazza says Scully asked him about the deadline Piazza set for negotiations, which was the beginning of spring training. Shaikin on what Piazza wrote:

Piazza wrote that Scully asked him about the deadline in a spring interview. “He wasn’t happy about it,” Piazza wrote. “And Scully’s voice carried a great deal of authority in Los Angeles … Vin Scully was crushing me.”

Scully denies it:

“I have no idea where he is coming from. I really have no idea. I can’t imagine saying something about a player and his contract. I just don’t do that, ever. I’m really flabbergasted by that reference.”

Look, I know there’s a habit these days to say that Vin Scully is some godlike figure who does no wrong, so defending Scully is not exactly a brave and bold stance.  But can anyone recall a time when Scully truly got involved in that level of the game? Contracts and dollars are so far out of his bailiwick that he’d have to call long distance back to his bailiwick to get his messages if ever he found himself there.  Scully is all about stuff like “Uggla is Swedish for owl” and things.

Piazza talks about how he’s not well-liked in Los Angeles anymore. Hard to imagine why.

Two great Mariano Rivera stories

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In addition to getting unanimous support from Hall of Fame voters, Mariano Rivera’s election is getting universal praise from fans and the baseball community. I mean, at least it seems so. If you see someone out there in the wild really mad that Rivera was elected, please, let me know. But don’t approach such people. They’re probably dangerously imbalanced and might cause harm to you.

From what we’ve seen, anyway, there is no one who doesn’t love Rivera and his election. That love has come out in the form of anecdotes people are sharing this morning. I’ve seen two that made me particularly happy. One “ha ha” happy, the other “aww” happy.

The “ha ha” comes from Michael Young, who shared the ballot with Rivera this year and whose Rangers actually beat Rivera’s Yankees in the 2010 ALCS. Not that they had much success against Mo:

Now the “aww.” It comes from Danny Burawa, who had a few major league cups of coffee after coming up in the Yankees system. From his Instagram last night:

In 2012, in the middle of my first big league spring training, I tore my oblique during a game (I wound up missing the whole season). First cuts hadn’t been made and the Yankees let me stick around to rehab with the big leaguers for a few days. The next day, after finishing my rehab, I returned to the locker room which was totally empty. I’m sitting at my locker getting ready to go home when in walks Mariano Rivera. Considering I was a nobody A-baller, I kept my eyes down on my feet and minded my own business. Next thing I know, he’s in the chair next to me, telling me his story, about failing as a starter, about an injury he had when he was younger, about how the setbacks we think are fatal usually end up as speed bumps on a longer, grander road. This is the greatest of all time, taking the time to cheer up a nobody, for no other reason than he thought it was the right thing to do. Great pitcher, greater human, congratulations Mo!

People use that “great player, better person” construction a lot. I often roll my eyes when I hear it because it’s pretty subjective and, I suspect, the “better person” part can’t be vouched for outside the subject’s friend or peer group. Doesn’t sound that way with Rivera, though. He simply sounds like a prince of a guy.