77 WABC’s Mike “Gunz” Gunzleman, as heard on the Imus in the Morning program, served as the host. This event was moderated by Brandon Steiner, the CEO of Steiner Sports Marketing. Notable sponsors included TiedIn Media and Pink Tie, among others. “I didn’t know you could fit that many people in here,” said Steiner, in his introductory remarks. “This shows the power of Mike Piazza!”
Piazza was praised for his illustrious career, where he played 16 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), as well as for his .308 batting average, and for his 427 home runs. “I’m so happy to be here,” Piazza said, complimenting his Stage 17 audience. “There is a lot of energy in the room,” he added.
The acclaimed catcher shared that in order to be successful in sports, one needs to be “focused,” and for him, it was “serious business on the field.” Although he may not have been a “stats” person, he is a firm believer in setting goals.
Growing up, his mother was just as important in his success as his father. In addition, his faith played a big role in his career, which was inspired primarily by his mother, where he believes that God helped him along the way. “We are here for a reason,” he said, and Piazza shared that we “witness many miracles every day.”
He praised Tommy Lasorda, his mentor and manager of the Dodgers, who just turned 90 years old, and expressed his gratitude to him in his Hall of Fame speech. Piazza subsequently described Lasorda as a “national treasure” and a “storybook in himself.”
While reflecting on the Subway Series that took place in 2000, Piazza noted that it was a “bittersweet” memory. For him, baseball “is a game of momentum,” and as a catcher for the New York Mets at the time, he wished that he could have beaten the Yankees that season, a statement which resonated well with all of the Met fans in the Stage 17 audience.
As a father, he stated that kids need “encouragement” today, but there needs to be a balance. He furnishes his own kids with the following advice: “Whatever you do, just apply yourselves.”
After retiring from baseball, Piazza revealed that he reconnected with his Italian heritage, and noted that he is the owner of the Italian soccer team, A.C. Reggiana 1919, for which he joked that they could use a few prayers lately.
Overall, Mike Piazza’s life story and his sports career are an inspiration to all. At Stage 17, the public got to see multiple sides of Piazza: the goal-setter, the hard-worker, the humanitarian, the father, as well as the man of faith. This motivational event at Stage 17 garnered five out of five stars.
“What’s not to love about a Hall of Fame catcher who talks old school baseball, family and God,” said Debbie Cunningham, a dedicated Mike Piazza fan and Stage 17 attendee.