After failed soccer endeavor, Mike Piazza set to manage Italian National Baseball Team

Former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza acknowledges the fans before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before a Mets baseball game against the New York Yankees, Saturday, June 9, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza will try his hand at managing baseball next year. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Mike Piazza is getting back into the Italian sports scene, a year removed from an endeavor that fell nothing short of disaster.

The MLB Hall of Famer announced Wednesday that he will manage the Italian National Baseball Team for next year’s European Baseball Championship and for 2021’s World Baseball Classic.

Piazza, a 12-time All-Star, retired in 2007 after spending most of his playing career with the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers. He has shown little interest in getting involved with baseball since then, and in June 2016, made a fateful purchase of a low-tier Italian soccer team: Serie C’s A.C. Reggiana 1919.

Last we heard from Piazza, that purchase had gone sharply south, and in an interview with The Athletic, he detailed just how he tanked the “Pittsburgh” of Italian soccer teams.

There’s truly no way a summary can do that saga justice — you should read the details in their unbelievable entirety — but it involved Piazza misunderstanding Italian labor laws and raising his team’s operational costs 12-fold in the first year, then putting his wife in charge to try to slash costs before the team eventually folded.

Here’s to hoping that take two in the driver’s seat (but not in charge of the finances) goes significantly better for the former slugger.

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