In the annals of New York sports history, no feud was perhaps more fascinating than the one between Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza.
Piazza’s former manager with the Mets, Bobby Valentine, joined WFAN’s “Moose and Maggie” on Wednesday and discussed the heated rivalry between the two players, specifically the incident in Game 2 of the 2000 World Series when Clemens threw the barrel of a shattered bat at the Mets catcher.
It was the second incident that year between the two, but Piazza was restrained as the bat came flying toward him, which struck some as an odd reaction, but Valentine said it was not odd at all.
“Not really, because it was so bizarre,” he said. “It wasn’t like a fighting moment. It was like a ‘what’s going on?’ moment. It wasn’t an aggressive action on the field at the time. It was a bizarre action. It was like, no one can figure out what just happened. It was really hard to react to it in a combative way.”
Still, Valentine, a baseball lifer, said he’s never witnessed anything like what had transpired between Clemens and Piazza.
“No. No. It was – Mike got hit in the head with Roger pitching – I’ve seen guys get hit by pitches … but never did I see – I mean, a spectacular pitcher – understand this: Mike Piazza owned Roger Clemens for a real band of their career,” Valentine said. “Roger always tried to get in on Mike, and Mike would take it and once in a while get out in front of it a little and hit it far. But [Clemens] never really got into his kitchen and then he got frustrated one time, he decided to go further in and that’s the ball that hit him in the head during the Subway Series in interleague play.
“Then, in the World Series, he finally made his pitch – the one he was trying to make every time he ever to pitched to Mike Piazza – that 96 mph running fastball in on his hands that broke his bat in two. So, for a moment, it was like ‘oh, Roger got him. He beat Mike.’ And the next thing he’s throwing the head of the bat at Mike. Mike’s holding the handle of the bat. It’s just so bizarre that entire sequence of the events. I still don’t understand it.”