By Joe McDonald at 17 July, 2013, 8:39 am
With the All-Star Game starting at Citi-Field, it was easy to get into the hype, especially after the A-Rod controversy of the past seven days.
What’s next? A-Rod betting on baseball.
On the Sunday, MLB kicked off the break with the futures game and the celebrity softball game.
Ex-Met Mike Piazza was a welcomed guest, on hand to play in the celebrity softball game which followed the Futures Game, and was met by the media with an eager group of cameras and recorders and even some betting videos.
Asked about his days in New York, Piazza recognized that when you retire, there’s something missing.
“Playing golf never replicates that excitement,” Piazza pined. “I hold my time here very fondly. I was blessed to play here, and to have had the tremendous support of the fans.”
No. 31 still follows the Mets closely and knows they’ve been going through a rough patch. “I love the character of this organization, with its history and fans, but as I’ve said many times before, sometimes the hard times define you. When you have had that roller coaster history, it’s about character.”
Of course Piazza creamed a home run in the softball game that followed, helping his National League collection of former ballplayers and celebrities beat an AL roster, 8-5.
The orange-clad NLers, “managed” by WFAN’s Boomer Esiason, who is also better known as an NFL quarterback, “drafted” a team filled with ex-Mets and Mets fans, including Piazza, Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, and which was “captained” by Johnny Franco. The roster also featured Kevin James, Andre Dawson, Jennie Finch, George Lopez, Ozzie Smith, Miss America Mallory Hagan, and Alyssa Milano.
The AL team, managed by Esiason’s morning radio partner, Craig Carton, lined up ex-Met Rickey Henderson, Bernie Williams, Frank Thomas, Fred Lynn, Rollie Fingers, AJ Calloway, and actors James Denton, and Chord Overstreet.
James was named one of the game’s MVPs, for a headfirst slide into second that extended a rally. The other MVP was Josh Wege, a member of the nation’s Wounded Warrior softball team, which plays over 100 games per year. Wege lost both legs in the service of his country, but continues to play on prosthetics. He hit a home run in the game, too.