notes on government, sports and popular culture
.....Surprise: Mike Piazza stays
in the National League and will catch 100 games next season, providing his body holds out.
Needless to say, Piazza's defense is suspect:
..."There are questions about his catching, mostly because more than 1,300 bases have been stolen against him and his career success rate at throwing out runners is a subpar 24 percent."
Padres manager Bruce Bochy:
"Too much is made of the ability to throw out runners when grading catchers."
Considering the fact that Johnny Bench was done catching at age 36, I don't see how Piazza's body will take many more games behind the plate. Catcher is a defensive position, and the Padres will have to see at what Piazza becomes more of a liability than an asset.
Piazza can still swing a bat, and the other question is whether or not the long innings behind the plate will affect his stroke. The common sense move would have been to go to the AL as a designated hitter.
But maybe he just wants to catch. There's obviously somethng addictive about the position. Piazza won't be the only old catcher on West Coast next season: the Dodgers just signed
43-year-old Pat Borders, who would be catching pitchers who weren't even born when he started playing pro ball.