The 2014-2015 Serie A season threw out a lot of disappointments – teams refusing to challenge Juventus for the title, the election of Carlo Tavecchio to lead the Italian FA despite his racist comments, Olimpia the eagle being attacked – but it was Parma’s ongoing saga that brought heartbreak, week after week.
The crociati, unpaid and drowning in debt, wound up relegated, of course. In Italy, it’s not that big a deal, as relegated clubs often end up rising, phoenix-like, from the ashes. But if Parma doesn’t find a buyer soon, it’s going to wind up in Serie D – in other words, playing amateur soccer.
Fortunately for Parma, Serie A, and ham lovers everywhere, there’s a buyer that just might be ready to step in. You might recognize this one. Dig back in your brain to ten, even twenty years ago.
Yes, that’s Mike Piazza. Mike Piazza is interested in buying Parma. And Mike Piazza is perfect. Here are just a few of the reasons Mike Piazza is perfect.
Mike Piazza understands nepotism
Here’s a man who got batting lessons from Ted Williams. A man whose father was good buds with Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. In soccer, it’s often about who you know, and whose ass you’re able to kiss. In Italian soccer, where a man can be elected president despite referring to Africans as banana-eaters – because he’s got friends in high places – being used to nepotism will come in especially handy. Now he just needs to get into Claudio Lotito’s good graces.
Mike Piazza understands cheating
This is not to say that Mike Piazza is a cheater, or that Mike Piazza condones cheating. It’s just that he’s used to it. And before Juventus fans get all uppity about my non-comprehension of Calciopoli, let me point out that I never said “Mike Piazza will understand Juventus.” Capisce? Teams, players, and others associated with Italian soccer are regularly called to prove their innocence in some scandal or another. Mike Piazza will be able to empathize.
Mike Piazza has the name Mike Piazza
In 2009, Bari pulled out of a deal with American businessman Tim Barton, whose Texas-based company would’ve been the first U.S. owners of a Serie A side. Instead it was James Pallotta and Thomas R. DiBenedetto, heading up Roma. Then Joe Tacopina came along with his offer for Serie B side Bologna. And now we have Mike Piazza.
Mike Piazza has tons of money
Parma itself likely won’t cost all that much – something around $12 million. But the club has a debt of around $25 million, and unless the buyer agrees to wipe out that debt, Parma won’t be permitted to register for professional Italian soccer. So Mike Piazza and his estimated $100 million net worth are looking pretty good right about now.
Mike Piazza is Mike Piazza
Look, I’m the sort of girl that wears “Beat LA” sweatshirts. I despise the Los Angeles Dodgers and everything they stand for. And Mike Piazza’s long stint with the New York Mets didn’t wipe out his Dodger-ness.
But even I admit Mike Piazza is awesome. The man isn’t just a great athlete. He’s charismatic, challenging, and intriguing. A motorcycle-riding, Jeopardy-winning, heavy-metal-loving, Playmate-marrying, almost-Hall-of-Famer who’s a devout Roman Catholic. Italian soccer might be filled with larger-than-life personalities masquerading as presidents, but even on the peninsula, Mike Piazza will stand out.
And if he can inject a bit of life back into a league often viewed as decaying, so much the better.