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Long Shot (Anglais) Relié – 12 février 2013

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Long Shot


Including Pudge Rodriguez, who was dressed for work in his Detroit Tigers uniform, the greatest living catchers were all gathered around, unmasked, on the grass of Shea Stadium. From the podium, where my stomach tumbled inside the Mets jersey that I had now worn longer than any other, the Cooperstown collection was lined up on my right. Yogi Berra. Gary Carter. Johnny Bench, the greatest of them all. And Carlton Fisk, whose home run record for catchers I had broken the month before, which was the official reason that these illustrious ballplayers—these idols of mine, these legends—were doing Queens on a Friday night in 2004.

I preferred, however, to think of the occasion as a celebration of catching. Frankly, that was the only way I could think of it without being embarrassed; without giving off an unseemly vibe that basically said, hey, thanks so much to all you guys for showing up at my party even though I just left your asses in the dust. I couldn’t stand the thought of coming across that way to those four. Especially Johnny Bench. As far as I was concerned, and still am, Johnny Bench was the perfect catcher, custom-made for the position. I, on the other hand, had become a catcher only because the scouts had seen me play first base.

Sixteen years after I’d gladly, though not so smoothly or easily, made the switch, the cycle was doubling back on itself. Having seen enough of me as a catcher, the Mets were in the process of moving me to first. It was a difficult time for me, because, for one, I could sense that it signaled the start of my slow fade from the game. What’s more, I had come to embrace the catcher’s role in a way that, at least in the minds of my persistent doubters and critics, was never returned with the same level of fervor. As a positionless prospect who scarcely interested even the team that finally drafted me, catching had been my lifeline to professional baseball—to this very evening, which I never could have imagined—and I was reluctant to let it go. To tell the truth, I was afraid of making a fool of myself.

It was a moment in my career on which a swarm of emotions had roosted, and it made me wish that Roy Campanella were alive and with us. Early on, when my path to Los Angeles was potholed with confusion, politics, and petty conflict, Campy, from his wheelchair in Vero Beach, Florida, was the one who got my head right. Back then, I hadn’t realized what he meant to me. By the time I did, I was an all-star and he was gone. I surely could have used his benevolent counsel in the months leading up to my 352nd home run as a catcher, when detractors who included even a former teammate or two charged me with overextending my stay behind the plate in order to break the record (which I ultimately left at 396).

That, I think, was the main reason I wanted to understate the special night. If it appeared in any fashion that I was making a big thing out of passing Fisk, it would, for those who saw it that way, convict me of a selfish preoccupation with a personal accomplishment. Jeff Wilpon, the Mets’ chief operating officer, had gone beyond the call of duty to put the event together, and had assured me that it would stay small. At one point, as the crowd buzzed and the dignitaries settled in and my brow beaded up, I muttered to Jeff, “So much for a small ceremony.” General Motors, the sponsor, gave me a Chevy truck. (Maybe that’s why my dad, a Honda and Acura dealer, was wiping away tears up in our private box.) Todd Zeile and Braden Looper had graciously mobilized my teammates, and, on their behalf, John Franco presented me with a Cartier watch and a six-liter bottle of Chateau d’Yquem, 1989, which will remain unopened until there’s a proper occasion that I can share with a hundred or so wine-loving friends. Maybe when the first of our daughters gets married.

Meanwhile, the irony of the evening—and, to me, its greatest gratification—was that, in this starry tribute to catching (as I persisted in classifying it), the center of attention was the guy who, for the longest time, only my father believed in. The guy whose minor-league managers practically refused to put behind the plate. The guy being moved to first base in his thirteenth big-league season. The guy whose defensive work the cabdriver had been bitching about on Bench’s ride to the ballpark.

But Bench understood. So did Fisk. “This is a special occasion for us catchers,” he explained to the media. “Only we as catchers can fully appreciate what it takes to go behind the plate every day and also put some offensive numbers on the board.”

Fisk had kindly called me on the night I broke his record, then issued a statement saying that he’d hoped I’d be the one to do it. That had made my week; my year. “I’m blessed,” I told reporters. “I’ve lived a dream.”

I also mentioned that I might write a book someday.

Revue de presse

"Piazza applies the single-minded drive he showed at the plate to making the case for his legacy. . . . [He] is forthright and often quite funny. . . . Mets fans will find insights, if not solace, in Piazza's account of the team's woes." (Ada Calhoun The New York Times Book Review)

"Mr. Piazza has had one of the stranger and more inspiring careers in baseball history. . . . [Long Shot] explain[s] how this non-prospect blossomed into a legendary hitter." (Tim Marchman The Wall Street Journal)

"Beloved Mets catcher Mike Piazza comes out swinging in a new memoir—confronting rumors about being gay and taking steroids, detailing his romantic home runs and finally setting the score with his hated rival, Roger Clemens." (Michael Gartland and Cynthia R. Fagen The New York Post)

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Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Ce livre est génial! Je le conseille aux personnes intéressé par le baseball car il y a des mots un peu techniques, mais je le conseilles sans hésiter!
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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5 152 commentaires
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Controversial, but honest 1 juin 2014
Par LSmith - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
4 of 5 stars (very good)

Baseball fans have heard the story: 62nd round draft pick, who was chosen by a well-known major league manager as a favor to the player’s father. Worked his way up to the big leagues where he became one of the best hitting catchers in the game. Mike Piazza shares his thoughts on these topics and a lot more in this memoir of his life and career that was fun to read, and at the same time it evoked a lot of reaction for his comments and viewpoints on many issues and people that affected him personally.

The first impression I had when reading this book, no matter at what point in his life or career he was describing, was that he was being himself and honest. It didn’t seem to matter to him if someone would be upset or offended by his comments; he wrote what he felt about the topic. This was especially telling when he talked about his bitter contract negotiations and subsequent trade from the team that drafted him, the Los Angeles Dodgers. He blamed many others for the situation, including broadcaster Vin Scully, a beloved icon in Los Angeles. He blamed the Dodgers’ ownership, fans, and anyone else that he could except himself. He had the on-field statistics to back him up for his position in the negotiations, but even to this day, it doesn’t seem that he fully understood why some people would not look upon this situation favorably.

While this was the most notable example of Piazza being critical about others, it wasn’t the only one. When he ended up in New York playing for the Mets he was critical of many of their moves as well. Whether the reader believes the criticism is justified or not, Piazza’s style of writing and the items he chooses to discuss can rub many readers the wrong way. However, it is also obvious that he is being honest with his opinion and because of that I thought the book was one to enjoy, even if the reader disagrees or will react with anger to some of the comments.

The tone he sets also comes across as defensive, especially when addressing topics such as performance enhancing drugs, the feud between himself and Roger Clemens and the aforementioned departure from Los Angeles. Whether he was explaining why he was taking “andro” (a legal substance at the time and the one that was famously found in Mark McGuire’s locker in 1998), telling why he would not react differently to Clemens beaning him and then throwing a broken bat piece at him in the World Series, or even when trying to explain the rumors in New York that he was a homosexual, he comes across as overly defensive. He is honest, he doesn’t pull punches, but it felt like he was trying too hard to win over the reader’s mind. That wasn’t necessary in my opinion. The honesty was refreshing – that was all that was needed.

Some of his stories can be quite touching. One in which I thought was really good was also my favorite one in the book and that was when Ted Williams came to his house and watched Piazza takes some cuts in the backyard. Williams, who always had a keen eye for hitting, felt that Piazza would be a great hitter someday. That prediction did turn out to be true.

So given all this, I still felt the book was an enjoyable read even if by the end of it, the aura he left in my mind of his career was a little tarnished because of his attitudes. That doesn’t take away his on-field accomplishments, nor does it take away from my opinion of the book, which certainly is one to read if you are interested in learning more about him. It was an enjoyable and entertaining read, and one that will surely leaving you wanting to talk about it with anyone else who read it or follows baseball.

Did I skim?

Pace of the book:
It reads fairly quickly as Piazza takes the reader throughout all the important events and stories of his life and career, from childhood to the end of his playing career. There isn’t a lot after that except for his opinion on a few baseball topics in the epilogue.

Do I recommend?
Fans of Piazza and the Mets will enjoy this book. Dodger fans may not take kindly to some of his remarks, however. If the reader was not a fan of Piazza or looks poorly upon any player who is controversial, this is not a book for him or her. Otherwise, I do recommend it to all baseball fans, regardless of team loyalty.

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2.0 étoiles sur 5 Throwing away his Shot 31 août 2016
Par Jason A. Miller - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I've been a die-hard Mets fan for almost 35 years, since the days of Alex Trevino and Ron Hodges. When Mike Piazza became a Met, I was elated, overjoyed to see the best-hitting catcher in history join "my" team. When he put up monster numbers for us during the 1999 season, I was all about Number 31. When my window at my old law firm overlooked Piazza's then-rooftop condo in the Gramercy section of Manhattan more than 10 years ago, I felt privileged to work in the presence of greatness. When Clemens beaned Piazza in July 2000, and then fired a broken bat at him during the World Series, I was infuriated, literally seeing red.

After reading this book -- enduring this book -- I want to go back in time and root for Clemens.

Piazza is the most successful catcher in history, in terms of raw offensive numbers in general and home runs in particular. But he bears so many grudges that his bitter, near-libelous autobiography, which settles so many scores and assails so many critics, is shockingly angry. He admits that he was a one-dimensional high school player who never learned to run or field a position -- in other words, he admits to having been a hitter, not an athlete -- and then wonders for chapters at a time why he didn't draw the scouts attention? Piazza remembers every pitcher who threw at him, every batter who unintentionally clonked him with the bat on a backswing, and calls them all out by name. Why so much hate?

Piazza questions why he was never accepted as a clubhouse leader. He then proudly retells a sorry story from 1997, about the time when he criticized his own team, the Dodgers in general and their GM in particular, for signing too many foreign players and for having no team unity. To be clear. A leader unites such a diverse team by force of will and behind closed doors. A bigot whines about that diversity in the press and allows himself to be quoted by name. Piazza appears to have still not learned what he might have gotten wrong 15 years earlier.

Piazza describes his time in the Dominican winter leagues by portraying Dominican culture in sub-human terms. Piazza grew up in a very wealthy family, a man so rich that his father has tried to buy at least two different Major League Baseball franchises; thanks to family connections, he had Hall of Famer Ted Williams come to his house and watch his teenage self take batting practice. Who is he, then, to complain about the quality of life in small Dominican villages? He later rants on for pages about young Latino ballplayers who come to the US before completing their formal schooling and who can't speak English. He calls Ozzie Guillen out by name for suggesting that those players be given interpreters. To be clear, Mike Piazza, the fabulously wealthy, privileged son of a very rich and influential man, thinks he knows more about the subject of young, under-educated Latino Players than Ozzie Guillen. By way of comparison, this makes about as much sense as the time that the billionaire corporate titan complained that a hungry child was receiving a few dollars a month in federal aid.

There's more to dislike about the book, but I'm not exactly inspired to flip back through it and review unhappy memories. Piazza does have a good ghost writer who slips in a few funny lines, and a good research assistant who capably recounts accurate game detail, something that so many baseball bios still get wrong today. At the end, Piazza does express some regret over the way he behaved during his career. And, of course, his retelling of 9/11 shows a more tender and sensitive side than most of the rest of the book put together.

Bottom line, though? There are many, many other baseball bios out there from grateful, humble, or funny athletes, and most of them from players who had to struggle to achieve 10% of what came to Mike naturally. Any one of those is far more worth your time than "Long Shot".
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Whiny, angry, and annoying 21 juin 2015
Par Michelle - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Others have already summarized the book in their reviews, so I'm just going to give my honest opinions and impression about the book.

I came into it as a huge baseball fan and a huge Mets fan, with a slightly positive attitude towards Piazza and what he did in his career and what he was for the NY Mets. I finished the book, and I actually think I loathe the man now. He came across as a selfish, self-absorbed, jerk. He whined and whined over and over in this autobiography. The tone of the book was also very angry. I found myself skipping entire paragraphs when the whining started, or when he was being an angry conceited jerk. It just got to be too much. At times it was annoying to read, and at other times, it was just so disappointing.

He told some interesting stories in this book, for sure, but they were surrounded by his ego and his complaining about everything that didn't go his way. I'm glad I read the book because I love baseball knowledge and history, and I got some from it. But I'm also upset I read this book, because I can't stand Piazza now. For that reason, I'm not sure if a diehard Piazza fan should read this or avoid it. You might like hearing how he got where he got, but you also might end up thinking a little (or a lot) less of him because of how selfish, angry, conceited, and whiny he comes across. Read at your own risk, I guess. I, personally, will never re-read this book.
3.0 étoiles sur 5 The Mike Piazza you didn't know 24 décembre 2014
Par brian beirne - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I am a Mets fan and was a big fan of Mike Piazza. I found this book decently written and interesting. I found there were some issues portrayed in the book that I am not sure I agree with.

His use of andro. He is very forthcoming describing his use of andro in a supplement he was taking. This was before it was banned by the Olympics and many years before it was banned by MLB. When it started to become an issue with other players he stopped. He does give the usual defense against steriods 'I hate needles'. I have never thought that a reasonable response when coming from an adult.

I enjoyed his description of major events in his career, the high's (honored by HOF catchers at Shea, post 9-11 homerun) and the low's (hit by Clemens, the Clemens world series bat throwing episode, his multiple injuries). He describes each of them straight forward and readable. I had to put the book down after reading the description of the 1999 NLCS Game 7 vs the Braves where Kenny Rogers walked Andruw Jones to lose the game. After 15 years it still annoys me.

He gives a nice account of life as a ballplayer. His time in California and then New York, with its off the field activities and interactions help make him seem very personable.

He describes interactions with people in the press from NY and CA and how his relationship with them might have hurt him at certain times, with MVP votes and the like.

He is very honest about his less than stellar defensive skills. He does point out that calling the game does count for something and he seems to have been very good at that.

I think he should be in the HOF. I remember being annoyed the past few years when he didn't get voted in. After reading this book I feel he should be in, but I understand why more people didn't vote for him. I hope he goes in soon as a Met.

One last point, two items where I think he was off base:

1. He describes his work ethic and how many people thought he couldn't have done it without Tommy Lasorda. He had a great work ethic but he couldn't have done it without Tommy. At multiple points he is stalled and he and his father call Tommy for help/advice. He has problems in the minor leagues and they call Tommy. Without Tommy he has no MLB career.

2. His response to the MLB drug testing and suspicions he has used/is using. He calls the union and tells them he will refer calls to them and they should say he was clean. They talk him out of this because then they would be asked about every player. The quoted number of positive tests in the urine screening that triggered regulation was 5-7 percent (in 2003). I think that whole issue is probably a lie. The positive tests must have been much higher, in the 50+ range, and they agreed to say it was the 5-7 percent to save face. Why on earth would a union let every member live under suspicion for such a low percentage of cheaters? Why didn't/wouldn't the clean players stand up and demand the cheaters stop or get thrown out? Why, 11 years later, with likely very few of the players tested still in the game, won't they come out with the names? A number have already leaked. Just put the rest out, and let the clean players be seen along with the dirty. My suspicion? It was much, much higher than the percentage they quoted (see Ken Caminiti), and/or they have some very big names on that list.

Bottom line: I still would like to see Mike Piazza in the Hall of Fame and will cheer for him when he gets there.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A good read for any Piazza fan (LA or NY) 30 avril 2013
Par James Mushener - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I think the most informative part of the book was the 1988-1992 years, when Mike describes being selected in the draft, and his foray through the Dodgers minor league system. This was mainly new information to me (an LA Dodger fan). As other reviewers have mentioned, Mike does frequently blame others (he had the proverbial chip on his shoulder throughout his career) and can come across as the typical greedy ballplayer. When the Mets offered him a 7-year $91 million contract, which satisfied his agent, Mike responded to his agent with "Can they go to $93m?". He constantly harps about how he deserved that contract, yet when he had 3 terrible years at the end of the contract (paying him $16m each year at the back end of it), did he mention that he was overpaid and did not earn his money? No. When the A's signed him in the final year of his career for $8.5m in 2007, and he finished with only 8 HR and 44 RBI, did he mention that he was overpaid and undeserving? No. But he constantly mentions earlier in the book that he felt "insulted" when the Dodgers only offered him a 6-yr. $79m contract. Turns out the Dodgers were right to not offer 7 years to a then 29-year old catcher; he did not earn his $$ the last 3 years of his contract. A 4-yr. contract would have been appropriate.
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