PEORIA, AZ -- A happyand unapologeticMike Piazza was all smiles as he greeted a reporter Wednesday afternoon.
On field number 6 of the Seattle Mariners' spring training complex Piazza, the hitting coach for Team Italy, was giving instructions to the team as it prepares to begin competition in next month's World Baseball Classic.
The 44-year old has been the center of controversyespecially in Los Angelessince publication of his autobiography, Longshot, in which he criticizes another Dodger icon, announcer Vin Scully.
Piazza (along with co-author Lonnie Wheeler) wrote that during his 1998 contract negotiations with the Dodgers, the beloved Scully was "crushing" him on the air about his refusal to sign a 77-million dollar deal with the team. Scully has denied doing anything intentionally to undermine the former catcher. In a Los Angeles Times interview he was portrayed as "softening" his stance about the Scully criticism, a premise he denies.
"I don't backdown at all," Piazza said ...