Just in time for the New Year, Mets 101's Seven in Seven series returns as our gift to you. Each week, the Mets 101 staff will begin a countdown of topics related to the New York Mets (i.e. best third baseman, worst defeat, etc.). We will begin our countdowns with the number seven and work all the way to number one. This week's Seven in Seven list takes a look at the timeline of all time Mets great Mike Piazza. Today's moment is number four on the list, Piazza's Feud with Roger Clemens.
4. Piazza and Clemens Feud
Date: October 22, 2000 (Game 2 of the 2000 World Series)
The Buildup: Up until July 8, 2000, Mike Piazza essentially owned Roger Clemens. The catcher had seven hits against 12 at bats against the Rocket, with two home runs in his career. However, in this meeting, it would be Clemens who did the hitting. The (then) New York Yankees pitcher would bean Piazza directly in the head, knocking him right out of the game and giving him a concussion. Clemens would continuously deny any intent on the hit to Piazza. Piazza would miss the All Star Game due to the concussion, all but leaving out any chance for the two to face off again. As fate would have it though, the two would meet again.
With the Mets and Yankees both making it to the World Series, all eyes were set for the Mike Piazza and Roger Clemens match up. It would happen in the very first inning of Game 2 in the World Series. After setting down the first two batters he faced, Clemens got ahead of Piazza on a 1-2 count. On the next pitch, Piazza would shatter his bat on a inside fastball. Though a foul, Piazza would attempt to advance to first when he was suddenly stopped by a flying broken bat. The man behind that was none other than Roger Clemens who charged the broken bat piece and threw it towards the Mets catcher. This lead to the players approaching each other and both ball clubs dashing towards the mound.
In Hindsight: Though nothing ended up occurring when the two benches cleared, it would not be an event forgotten. As later times would shed revelations to a reason to Clemens' aggressive reaction may have been due to his link to the use of performance enhancing drugs. Clemens has always said that he thought the bat was the ball and was simply attempting to throw it towards the ball boy, and Piazza obviously had a very different take on the incident. The Yankees would eventually win the game 6-5 and the World Series 4-1, with the Mets unable to capitalize on the fumes from the feud. The Mets would eventually, however, get their revenge against Clemens by beating him at Shea in 2002. The game would be notable as Shawn Estes missed Clemens in an attempt at retaliation, but made up for it by homering off of Clemens later in the game.
Check back tomorrow when we reveal the next moment in Mike Piazza's timeline with the Mets!
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