Mike Piazza calls out Vin Scully in book

Posted: February 15, 2013

MIKE PIAZZA has not set foot in Dodger Stadium since his retirement. When the Los Angeles Dodgers offered to honor him with a bobblehead night last season, Piazza declined.

"He doesn't want to come back because he thinks the fans will boo," former Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda, the godfather to Piazza's brother, told the Los Angeles Times.

Piazza did himself no favors on that score in his new book, "Long Shot." In the book, he blames iconic Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully for turning fans against him during the contract stalemate that preceded his trade to the Florida Marlins in 1998.

Piazza, who was eligible for free agency after the 1998 season, said he hoped to stay with the Dodgers but set a deadline of Feb. 15 to reach a new contract. In the book, Piazza wrote that Scully asked him about the deadline in a spring interview.

"He wasn't happy about it,'' Piazza wrote. "And Scully's voice carried a great deal of authority in Los Angeles.''

Piazza wanted $105 million over 7 years. In the book, he said the Dodgers made a take-it-or-leave-it offer of $76 million over 6 years, said he would have signed at $79 million, and suggested the team leaked that it had offered $80 million.

At $80 million - or even at $76 million - Piazza would have been the highest-paid player in the game. Dodgers fans took notice that spring, as Piazza wrote.

"The way the whole contract drama looked to them - many of whom were taking their cue from Scully - was that, by setting a deadline and insisting on so much money, I was demonstrating a conspicuous lack of loyalty to the ballclub," Piazza wrote. "I understood that."

Piazza ripped the Dodgers in a 1998 Opening Day interview with the Times. In the book, he said that interview did not play well with the LA fans, and neither did the fact that he failed to drive in a run as the Dodgers opened the season with a four-game losing streak.

"On top of that, Vin Scully was crushing me," Piazza wrote.

Scully flatly denied he maligned Piazza.

"That's not true at all," Scully told the Times in a telephone interview Wednesday. Scully said he could not recall the interview in which Piazza said the contract deadline was discussed. However, Scully said, he never would criticize a player about contractual negotiations.

Noteworthy * 

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said he's reached a decision on whether this will be his final season and plans to announce it before Opening Day.Rivera had surgery June 12 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The 43-year-old righthander expects to be ready for the regular season. He threw 25 pitches off a bullpen mound and said it felt good.

Also, the Yankees added depth to their bullpen by acquiring righthander Shawn Kelley from the Seattle Mariners for minor league outfielder Abraham Almonte.

* New York Mets manager Terry Collins said he will use Bobby Parnell as the team's closer if Frank Francisco (elbow) is not ready to pitch on Opening Day.

* A lawyer for Barry Bonds urged a federal appeals court to toss out Bonds' obstruction of justice conviction, saying a rambling answer he gave while testifying before a grand jury was not a crime.

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