Mike Piazza would never exist today. He would have to be created by the Hollywood machine that once embraced him.
He was taken in the 62nd round of the 1988 baseball draft. There are no longer 62 rounds in the draft.
He was given a private tryout at a locked Dodger Stadium as a favor to his family friend and quasi uncle, Tom Lasorda. There are few managers remaining with the longevity and power to make such arrangements.
After two minor league seasons, he was no better than an average Class-A catcher, yet he was promoted to a higher Class A the following spring. Today's organizations rarely have the patience — or is it paternal instincts? — to show such trust in such light-producing low draft picks.
The Dodgers discovered, shaped and delivered Mike Piazza to the stage where he eventually became one of the greatest hitting catchers in baseball history. All of which makes it so sad to see him so alienated for reasons he so angrily attributes to the team's very soul.