Owning a professional Italian soccer team, it turns out, isn't easy. Mike Piazza displays this an Athletic piece published on Wednesday by Robert Andrew Powell.
Piazza, the Hall of Fame catcher who spent 16 seasons in MLB, owned A.C. Reggiana -- a third-tier team in Italy -- for two years, and it was a disaster. Powell notes the mayor of Reggio Emilia believes Piazza "disrespected" his town, and there were death threats painted on the club's headquarters by the time he left.
Piazza ended up pulling an Art Modell, absconding so quickly it blindsided citizens in the town. The team's social media manager said "they ghosted us." He also left behind a bankrupt A.C. Reggiana.
Piazza's brief reign with A.C. Reggiana was fascinating. In March,to, as my colleague Pete Blackburn put it, tell us that the rent is entirely too high.
Piazza handed the reigns of the team to his wife Alicia after the first year, whom Powell said didn't want Piazza to buy a team in the first place. She's credited for running the team into the ground, and she didn't have a high opinion of it to begin with.
From the piece, she told Piazza that the team he'd bought wasn't that impressive.
"Who the f--- ever heard of Reggio Emilia?" she asked. "It's not Venice. It's not Rome. My girlfriend said, and you can quote this -- and this really depressed me. She said, 'Honey, you bought into Pittsburgh.' Like, it wasn't the New York Yankees. It wasn't the Mets. It wasn't the Dodgers. You bought Pittsburgh!"
In their Miami living room, Mike tried to interject but she stopped him.
"And imagine what that feels like, after spending 10 million euros. You bought Pittsburgh!"
That press conference looks very different given what we know about Alicia's time running the team now. It doesn't appear that she ever wanted to be there, and in the article Powell describes the aggressive cost-cutting that she did while she was in charge. That included not dropping youth players off at their homes to save gas and making players wash their own uniforms. It's hard to imagine why things didn't work out.