HOUSTON — Roger Clemens shrugged off Mike Piazza‘s comments in his autobiography that he took karate lessons after he was beaned by the pitcher, just in case they had another confrontation.
The former New York Mets catcher discussed Clemens in his autobiography “Long Shot,” which was published last Tuesday.
Clemens, at spring training as a special instructor with the Houston Astros in Kissimmee, Fla., discussed the book Sunday.
“He needs to go get with Jesse Owens or somebody on his speed, I think,” Clemens said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “He chased some dude around the spring training site one time, didn’t he, or something?”
The altercation Clemens apparently was referring to came during an exhibition game when Piazza was with the Mets. After getting hit by a pitch from Dodgers reliever Guillermo Mota, Piazza tried to confront Mota after leaving the field.
Piazza wrote about the tension between him and Clemens in 2000, when Clemens beaned Piazza with a pitch during a regular-season Subway Series game between the Mets and Yankees in July. Leading up to that, Piazza had been hitting well against Clemens.
“Like I said, there was no intent there,” Clemens said of the beaning, according to the Chronicle. “And Mike’s a good hitter and I think he hit every breaking ball I threw to him and he hit them hard. But he’s not the first power hitter who’s got me. So, we had some good times.”
Then in Game 2 of that year’s World Series, Piazza fouled off a pitch in the first inning, his bat splintered and Clemens picked up the shard of wood and threw it angrily in front of Piazza as he ran toward first, missing the slugger by about two feet.
Clemens said Piazza wasn’t the only player who had a problem with him — including some of his own teammates.
“He’d have to stand in line. I think there was about three guys on the Yankees that wanted a piece of me more than [he] did,” Clemens said, according to the Chronicle. “He’d probably have to get in line. But in all seriousness … I’ve gotten to know him at golf events. Todd Zeile, another good guy, and Robin Ventura — I’ve been friends with him. Some of these guys, once you get to know some of them, they’re fine.”