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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Did Mike Piazza tell reporters he used performance-enhancing drugs?

Posted by Lisa Swan

Fans have speculated for ages that Roger Clemens was suffering 'roid rage when he threw that bat against Mike Piazza in the 2000 World Series. But now Clemens is not the only person in that rivalry accused of using performance-enhancing drugs.

In his new book about Clemens, "The Rocket That Fell To Earth", which comes out today, Jeff Pearlman writes that:
"According to several sources, when the subject of performance enhancing was broached with reporters he especially trusted, Piazza fessed up.

"Sure, I use," he told one. "But in limited doses, and not all that often." (Piazza has denied using performance-enhancing drugs, but there has always been speculation.)"
Pearlman, who writes about Piazza in the book's chapter on the 2000 World Series, continues:
"Whether or not it was Piazza's intent, the tactic was brilliant: By letting the media know, off the record, Piazza made the information that much harder to report. Writers saw his bulging muscles, his acne-covered back. They certainly heard the under-the-breath comments from other major league players, some who considered Piazza's success to be 100 percent chemically delivered."
Former Boston Red Sox first baseman Reggie Jefferson tells Pearlman, "He's a guy who did it, and everybody knows it. It's amazing how all these names, like Roger Clemens, are brought up, yet Mike Piazza goes untouched."

Another veteran player agreed, saying, "There was nothing more obvious than Mike on steroids."

According to Pearlman, when that player is asked what are the odds, on a scale of 1 to 10, that Piazza had used PEDs, the player replies:
"A 12," he says. "Maybe even a 13."
Yikes!

You can read more details in Pearlman's book, "The Rocket That Fell To Earth," a book I highly recommend. It is a balanced biography of Clemens. I will do a full-scale review of the book later this week.

Former New York Times writer Murray Chass, who, along with the New York Post's Joel Sherman, wrote about Piazza's back acne last month, was the first to talk about what Pearlman's book said about the former catcher. Interestingly, however, Chass did not mention what I think is the most explosive part of what "The Rocket That Fell to Earth" said about Piazza - the charge that the former catcher admitted to some reporters that he was using PEDs.

Some might say that it's ancient history to talk about whether Mike Piazza juiced up. But Piazza isn't just any former player. He is one of the faces of the Mets' franchise - remember that it was Mike who caught fellow icon Tom Seaver's last pitch thrown at Shea Stadium - and he is said to be one of the greatest-hitting catchers of all-time. Piazza is also expected to go into the Hall of Fame in four years.

Look, I like Piazza, but I also think that if he's going to be considered for the Hall, he needs to be under the same microscope that would-be HOFers Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa have faced. Piazza shouldn't get a pass from this type of scrutiny, even though he was a fan favorite and gave good quotes to the media.

What do you think about Mike Piazza? Leave us a comment!

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

pathetic - this is all for ratings and i see no proof whatsoever - some random baseball veteran "says" - joel sherman (who will say and do anything to get his paper read because no one is reading it for the Kosher hotdog mishap story they find relevant) - back acne doesnt mean use - did he ever test positive? has anyone injected him? were drugs found anywhere? where is the proof?

Anonymous said...

What's the matter, can't handle the idea of one of your rough, rugged good-ol-boy pristine underdog Met players possibly being on the juice? You think only Yankee players did PEDs?

Boy, oh boy I can't wait for this to become huge!! This means that in 2000, while Yankee players were reported juicing, Mets players did, too.

All that means is our juiced players kicked your juiced players asses!! Ha!

Brendan said...

I'd like to see some proof beforehand. Too often the "possibility" of someone using PED's has ruined their credibility and reputation.

Take J.C. Romero for instance, who got the short end of the stick and was in a different situation.

Nevertheless, I don't think he should go unpunished if it does come to light that he used any type of performance enhancer, but as I said, I'd prefer to see some evidence instead of a "veteran" ballplayer.

By the way, Reggie Jefferson was horrible. Maybe he should have used PED's.

Bronx Baseball Daily said...

Sucks to be Piazza. I feel like he's always been attacked. What other player ever had to deny he's gay. On the otherhand, he was probably on steroids. And using the backdoor.

Anonymous said...

first of all mike piazza did not use any kind of steroids. there is no proof he did but Reggie Jefferson a player that only wishs he had the type of numbers piazza had says he did. piazza is clean this is just another way to put dirt on his hall of fame career.

Anonymous said...

I have shared my thoughts on piazza and steroids previously. i would not be shocked to learn that he did use them. however, the info presented here is hardly proof positive that he did. "a baseball veteran" putting it at 12 or 13 is hardly damning, considering this veteran wasn't willing to be named. The other people who have been under the microscope, aroid, barry, clemens, have had evidence/testimony attached to the accusations. we could sit here and accuse just about every player in baseball of using, without any type of evidence it would be unfair.
KM

Anonymous said...

Time will tell and if Piazza is guilty, then it will come out eventually.

Guilty by association is not fair, but he did play in the heart of the steroid era and was just as competetive as anyone else.

I guess we'll see.

- M.S.

Blake-to-Banks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Subway Squawkers said...

Lisa got a review copy of Jeff Pearlman's book last week, as previously mentioned on the blog:
http://subwaysquawkers.blogspot.com/2009/03/well-give-you-something-to-squawk-about.html
She posted her entry at 7:20 am Tuesday. Three readers commented on the post before 1:30 pm, when the Deadspin entry with the quotes went up.

Blake-to-Banks said...

My apologies.

MLB Home Run said...

It shouldn't surprise anyone that he used. What will be interesting to learn is: 1) To what extent, if any, will he admit it. 2) Was he on the "2003" list? 3) Will he make the HOF? Only time will tell. It's a shame because he was a great story be such a ultra low draft pick.

http://www.mlbhomerun.com

Anonymous said...

MLBHomerun, do you have info that the rest of us don't? I haven't seen any evidence that he did use, just speculation on the part of someone selling a book.