Mike Piazza will be inducted into the Hall of Fame a week from Sunday. As such, the next couple of weeks should be a nice little victory lap for him. The culmination of his life’s work and the beginning of a new phase of his life in which he will no longer merely be “All-Star Mike Piazza,” but will be “Hall of Famer Mike Piazza.” That’s a big deal, emotionally and professionally speaking, I am sure.
Today, however, Piazza had his Hall of Fame conference call with the media. And the first question out of the gate was from a hatchet-wielding hack:
I’ll give you one guess as to who asked the question:
Of course Chass has been on Piazza’s case about PEDs for years now. It’s an Ahab-like obsession, but instead of biting his leg off, Chass’ white whale merely once, allegedly, had back acne. To Chass that was the dead giveaway. The smoking gun. The mark of Piazza’s eternal shame and disgrace.
Perhaps Piazza did PEDs in his career. Perhaps he didn’t. At this point it matters not. Piazza’s career was undeniably great and he is adored by millions of fans. The Hall of Fame voters — who had the same or greater access to Piazza Chass always did — decided that Piazza belongs. Yet Chass persists.
Chass’ obsession in this regard is pathetic and sad. Pathetic in its pettiness and pointlessness. Pathetic in that, of all of the things he could write about and focus on, he has chosen to focus on attacking Mike Piazza’s back acne as the signature topic of the final chapter of his career. Sad in that, before he began embarrassing himself like this, he had a very nice career. He was a major figure in baseball media and a pioneer when it came to writing about business and labor issues in the game. Now he’s nothing more than an Internet troll and, in the context of today’s phone conference, a crank caller.
We all leave a legacy. For the most part, we’re in control of the legacy we leave. It’s unfortunate that Murray Chass has chosen to crap all over his by attempting to crap all over Mike Piazza.