It will always be a moment that baseball fans throughout the country, especially in the New York metropolitan area will remember as the “bat incident”. Roger Clemens had a reputation of being a “head hunter” during his career and throwing inside to batters that hit him very well as a tactic to dominate his competition at all costs. Earlier in the 2000 regular season, during interleague play, Clemens drilled Mike Piazza square in the head, putting quite possibly the best hitting catcher in baseball history in the hospital.
During the Subway Series much of the talk in game two centered around Clemens pitching to Piazza for the first time since he hit him on the head in the regular season. The rest is history because the perfect storm occured with Piazza fouling a pitch off and Clemens picking up the broken bat as the ball was fouled off. Clemens then seemed to have thrown the broken bat right in the direction of Piazza. The throwing of the bat in Piazza’s direction looked like it was on purpose by Clemens and it sure added more drama to the 2000 World Series. Whether or not Clemens was juiced up on performance enhancing substances may be a debate for another time, but at the end of the day ironically it seems like Piazza has let the whole “bat incident” go from his memory.
Mike Piazza and Roger Clemens joined ESPN Radio in Las Vegas with Gridlock at the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational and discussed their thoughts and feelings on the “bat incident” that occurred during game two of the 2000 World Series between the New York Yankees and New York Mets.
(Mike Piazza) Back in New York as a Met what went on when Roger Clemens came after you with a pitch? Then after that when the bat broke and Clemens said later he thought your broken bat was a ball? What was going on?
“I don’t know man. I’m actually writing a book now and it’s kind of interesting because I’m kind of jogging my memory and I’m trying to think of all the counts. You know it’s so funny, I remember working with a friend of mine, a guy, a good friend from New York, and he was saying what if he [Roger Clemens] throws at you again? I said if he throws at me again I’m going to go get him. It was funny because he said we’ll do this and do that and I’m working out some moves. Next thing I know he threw the bat…or at least I hit the ball and I didn’t…when I…it hit actually not far on the handle. I think the bat might have had a crack, so I felt like I hit it kind of flush. I didn’t pick up the ball at all, so I was kind of going like this and I started running. Next thing I know I saw the bat go by me. I saw him catch the bat head and you know he was just so geeked up that I just think that he was kind of like catch it and get this crap outta here, so that’s what I feel like. I really don’t feel and again I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t feel like he really threw it at me. I’m not saying he threw it at me. I’m saying maybe he felt like he was just throwing it and maybe I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. I felt like honestly he hit me in the head, so if he was going to throw the bat I felt like he might have hit me with the bat, so again I look back and it was just one of those weird things. It’s kind of like the story of my career you know as much as I have done you know people ask me about that [Roger Clemens bat incident], but it was what it was man. I hit a home run that game off Jeff Nelson, which nobody remembers. We actually almost won that game, but obviously that’s what everyone talks about so. I’ve seen him before and it is what it is. Man we’ve all moved on. At the time obviously the feelings were intense and really hot, but it is what it is dude. I had a great career and I kind of sit back and say it’s time to move on.”
Roger Clemens sits down at the table at the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational
Before Mike [Piazza] goes we talked about this and now Roger Clemens is actually going to sit down with us right next to Mike [Piazza] as well. Of course what comes to mind with you two guys is a bad throwing incident in the World Series back in 2000, the Subway Series, and Mike [Piazza] says “I don’t think he was throwing the bat at me.”
Roger Clemens: “I forgot about that. Far behind. It’s way behind us. He actually… I heard he hit a good shot on 17 today. I hope he’s peaking early.
Mike Piazza: “We’re done with baseball man. We’re retired now. I tell people all the time. I was like saying because they were asking me questions. I said man you know I still love the game and I still watch the game, but it’s so tough to follow like we did when we worked.”
Roger Clemens: “I agree.”
Mike Piazza: “It’s just difficult.”
Roger Clemens: “I find myself working with more of the younger guys and having fun with those guys. You know there’s quite a few major leaguers that come to the house to throw during the offseason. We got a lot that live in Houston, but any time I can direct them towards somebody like Mike [Piazza] that is a catcher, that wants to learn those are the things I tell them to do. We have so much videotape now that we can help these younger players.”
Mike Piazza: “Yeah it’s fun.”