COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Mike Piazza sat all alone in a back pew Sunday morning at St. Mary’s Our Lady of the Catholic Church, praying for strength, and even receiving a special blessing from Father John Rosson after the 7:30 Mass on the church steps.
Ken Griffey Jr, who hadn’t even seen his dad since his arrival in town Wednesday, got a telephone call from his father at the Otesaga Hotel in the late morning, simply telling him to stay strong, enjoy himself, and he would be right there, if needed.
Griffey and Piazza even gave themselves a pep talk on the stage at the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, trying to convince themselves they could get through their speeches without crying, with Griffey saying, “Let’s go. We got this. We got this.”
Well, Piazza lasted two minutes before his voice started cracking, sniffing, and wiping away tears.
Griffey, who made the mistake of looking into the faces of his three children sitting in the front row, lasted all of 20 seconds.
“Nothing can prepare you,” Piazza said, “for how you feel, and the history sitting behind us on stage.”