Mike Piazza had dreams of using karate to take out Roger Clemens

Home plate umpire Charlie Reliford steps between New York Mets' Mike Piazza (31) and New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens after Clemens threw a part of Piazza's bat back at him during Game 2 of the 2000 World Series.
(Gary Hershorn / Associated Press)

So Mike Piazza was planning to go all Ralph Macchio on Roger Clemens? And then when he had the opportunity, decided just maybe it wasn’t his best idea?

Hey, that’s show business, or at least the autobiography business.

Piazza’s memoir “Long Shot” hits the stores Tuesday, and although it deals with the suspected topics -- did not do steroids, should be in the Hall of Fame, is not gay -- in expected fashion, there is one surprising element.


Piazza said he was so upset over Roger Clemens’ beaning him during a game while with the Mets in 2000, he took karate lessons to prepare for their next encounter.

According to a transcript released by the New York Post, Piazza even had details of the confrontation all worked out in his mind.

“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 wrote.

Then as the baseball fates would have it, the Mets and Clemens’ Yankees met in the World Series that year. Oh, grasshopper, such possibilities.

That led to one of the more bizarre situations in postseason history. In the fourth inning of Game 2, Clemens unleashed one of his trademark fastballs, a pitch so wicked it shattered Piazza’s bat.

What was left of the barrel flew toward the mound. Clemens picked it up and threw it in Piazza’s direction as he ran down the first-base line, almost as if he thought the catcher had somehow intentionally sent it screaming back at him.

Piazza yelled something, apparently not “I’m your Huckleberry,” and took a step toward Clemens. But just one step.

Maybe he heard Mr. Miyagi whispering in his ear. Maybe he was tired from waxing the car. There would be no deft parry, no revengeful karate chop, no special crane move, no Elisabeth Shue waiting in the wings.

“There were complications,” Piazza recalled. “The least of them was the realization that Clemens was a big guy, and I stood a pretty fair chance of getting my ... kicked in front of Yankee Stadium and the world. That was a legitimate concern.”

Actually, they’re both about 6 feet 3 and 210 pounds, and Piazza was six years younger.

Thus the Piazza karate show never happened. Although I understand the All-Valley Karate Tournament in Reseda is still accepting 2013 applications.


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