Mar 14, 2021

Remembering Mets History (2003) Mike Pizza Goes After Guillermo Mota After Getting Hit With Pitch

 Spring Training 2003: The history of this battle, began the previous Spring Training in 2002. During a March 28th game in Dodger Town, at Vero Beach, Florida, Mota hit Piazza in the hip with a pitch. 

An inning later, as he was leaving the game, Piazza ran up to Mota & grabbed him by the collar. Players broke it up & order was restored. Piazza was fined for his actions.

On Wednesday night, March 12th 2003, the Mets & Dodgers faced off in an exhibition game in Port St. Lucie, Florida. 

This time with the Mets down 10-1 in
the 5th inning, Piazza stepped in against Mota. The first pitch Mota threw, came inside at the waist. Piazza was visibly angry, he grimaced, held back his temper & stepped back in to the batters box. On the very next pitch, Mota hit Piazza on the shoulder. Piazza wasted no time & charged the mound. 

Mota threw his glove at Piazza & ran. Both benches cleared, four Dodger players held Piazza back from tearing the pitcher apart. The Mets Jeromy Burnitz, went running after Mota, chasing him into the dugout. Players held back Burnitz & hid Mota in the dugout, in the wild scene. Even manager Art Howe went screaming at Mota from the dugout steps.



There was fire in Piazza eyes & it took a few minutes to restore order. Piazza gestured toward Mota as he was tucked away, hiding in the Dodger dugout. 

After the game, Piazza went into the Dodger locker room looking for
Mota. He was told he had already left the ballpark, but Piazza searched anyway to no avail. 

Piazza was fined $3000 & suspended for five games for the incident. Mota was fined $1500 & suspended for five games as well. Jeromy Burnitz was also fined $500 for going after Mota.

Art Howe & Dodger manager Jim Tracy, talked it out & made a truce of some sort. Mota said it was not intentional. He would pitch for the Mets in 2006 & 2007 after Piazza was gone. He was never welcomed by the fans, that signing was the doings of Omar Minaya. 

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