The MLB All-Star break ‘tis the season for documentaries to fill the game-free nights, and this week brings two that focus on three of the most prominent Mets of recent decades.
On Thursday night, ESPN profiles Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry in a “30 for 30” entry co-directed by Syosset’s own Judd Apatow, “Doc & Darryl.”
But first comes a far more cheerful tale, one about Mike Piazza, who unlike his predecessors in Flushing turned his talent into a Hall of Fame induction coming later this summer.
MLB Network Presents’ “Against the Odds: The Mike Piazza Story,” premieres at 10 p.m. Wednesday and does a nice job of straightforwardly retelling the tale of a 62nd-round draft pick who became one of the best-hitting catchers in history.
Among the interview subjects are a relaxed, reflective Piazza, his father, Vincent Piazza Sr., Tommy Lasorda, former Dodgers GM Fred Claire, former Mets GM Steve Phillips, former Mets manager Bobby Valentine and former teammates Al Leiter and Eric Karros.
But as with many documentaries, the coolest parts often are vintage footage, including of Piazza’s earliest years in the sport.
At the top of that list is the day Ted Williams came to watch a teenage Piazza hit in the backyard cage at Piazza’s childhood home near Philadelphia and marveled at his budding talent.
“I don’t think I hit the ball as good as he does when I was 16,” Williams is heard saying.
Maybe he was just being nice. But Williams was not known for saying things just to be nice. He seemed to mean it, and he was right, as he usually was when it came to hitting.