Piazza Challenges D’Arnaud and Plawecki, Weighs In On Callaway

Mets great and Hall-of-Famer Mike Piazza is currently down in Port St. Lucie as a guest instructor, which he does every year.

Piazza spoke with the media on Saturday and talked about a variety of topics, including the possibility of owning a team one day, the catching situation in Queens and new skipper Mickey Callaway.

He worked with a group of hitters Saturday and plans to work with the catchers on Sunday.

“I feel good this year about this team. I feel it’s time for this team to take the next step,” he said. “Was a tough year last year, lot of injuries and that starts here. I like the energy. I know everyone has to be healthy but this team knows how to win. Winning teams, it really comes down to one thing: everyone having a good year together.”

Piazza emphasized communication with the players he worked with and stressed how important it is to be on the same page so they can continually improve and get better each day.

“When I was in the minor leagues, there were no cell phones, no Facebook, no Twitter. Basically, after the game we got a couple cases of beer and talked about the game. I want to kind of reintroduce that philosophy,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with those things, but baseball education is talking and talking to your teammates.

“Winning is a culture, and a team that wins, you have to have one heartbeat. It comes from communication like a family.”

Speaking of cultivating a winning culture, the Mets have attempted to change the tides this offseason by bringing in a new coaching staff headlined by manager Mickey Callaway.

“He’s s a very interesting guy. Big personality, in a good way. Has a lot of knowledge from the pitching side, but  they made a great choice. He’s really running a great camp. Things are very organized,” he said. “You can feel certain teams it starts in spring training. I just like the energy, the focus. Generally guys are positive and upbeat.”

As a former catcher, Piazza naturally was asked about the tandem of current Mets backstops Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

“First off, I think they’re great guys and I think that’s important,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with looking at Travis and Kevin and challenging them to get better this year. To improve their performance realistically, not go out there and hit 50 home runs, but basically getting more quality out of their at-bats, getting more quality out of their games.

“An organization is very focused on pitching, catching is the second most important job.”

The former catcher owns a tier-three Italian soccer team called AC Reggiana, but didn’t completely rule out getting into the baseball owning business one day.

“For me, it’s been interesting. As a player you are so focused being a player, but when you see the business of sports it does present a very interesting education,” he said. “Never say never. I can’t predict what will happen after this because I’m so focused on this project, but it has given me a good education.”

Piazza will be with the team through Sunday’s game. To see his whole interview, look no further than below!

About Rob Piersall 1211 Articles
Rob Piersall is a fourth-year student at SUNY New Paltz, studying journalism with a minor in communications. He is also the managing editor for his school's newspaper, The Oracle. A Mets fan since the age of six in 2001, Rob is senior editor here at MMO. His favorite thing is reporting breaking Mets news and transactions as well as writing columns. He is also ready to see what Mickey Callaway brings to the table in 2018. LGM! Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobPiersall.