Every week, we’ll pull some highlights from the ESPN media world on articles, stories, ideas, arguments, concepts, schticks, and discussions that appeared on the World Wide Leader since the demise of Grantland and its unneeded contribution to the world of sports. Pretty much, this is what the brain trusts at ESPN thought was more worthy of coverage than whatever the brains over at Grantland were producing…
On 6 January 2016, Mike Piazza, former Major League catcher, 1st baseman, designated hitter, offensive extraordinaire, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame with 83% of the vote. And suddenly a thousand childhood memories came rushing back as Piazza’s name filled the baseball headlines for the week. When fathers take their sons to Cooperstown in 50 years, Mike Piazza’s plaque will don the NY of the Mets franchise, the team he spent 8 years, helping them get to the 2000 World Series against the New York Yankees. Mets Piazza was a guy that played All-Star caliber baseball. But pre-Mets Piazza was a hero.
Growing up in Los Angeles during the mid-1990s, the sports scene was flat. Despite it being a stereotype, LA is a town of stars and superstars are put on pedestals that make Braavos look like a Mattel doll. By 1995, the Lakers were in transition between the Magic and Shaq/Kobe eras, Gretzky was starting to get old on the Kings and would be traded a year later to St. Louis, and football began its 20 year (and counting) exodus from the City of Angels. Thankfully, this star-less situation created enough extra spotlight for the Boys in Blue to shine a little brighter in the California summer sun.
As a kid that fell in love with baseball, being enamored with these mid 90s Dodgers required little effort. Remember, this is a team that fielded 5 straight Rookie of the Year winners. With Vin Scully pouring liquid broadcast gold into our radios everyday (Before the billion dollar local TV sports era we live in now where I can watch MLB.TV in the bathroom at work. Not that I do.), Dodgers fans fell in love with a team bursting with talent.