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Clemens-Piazza incident is still a puzzler

2/11/2011

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- It's perhaps the most memorable, and certainly the most polarizing, play of the 2000 Subway Series: Former Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens chucking a broken bat toward the dugout while former Mets catcher Mike Piazza raced up the first-base line during Game 2.

Bedlam ensued, both benches cleared, and Clemens later said he thought the bat was the ball.

Nearly 11 years later, it's a play that still leaves those associated with the Subway Series at a loss for words.

"The sad thing about it is, that's kind of what everybody remembers, and Roger actually threw a great ballgame after that," former Yankees and Mets reliever Mike Stanton said. "I don't even -- you might even be able to ask Roger, he probably doesn't know what happened. It's just one of those things -- heat of the moment."

Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine believes that Clemens and Piazza's previous incident led to a ballooning of the bat-and-ball incident into a memorable World Series moment.

During a July game between the two teams, Clemens nailed Piazza in the head with a pitch. Piazza, who had great numbers against Clemens, said he thought the beaning was an intentional move. Valentine also said at the time he thought the beaning was intentional.

"I don't know what the heck I thought. I ran onto the field and I had no idea what to think," Valentine said of the Game 2 moment. "It seemed a little silly to me at first."

Former Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer seemed to be defending Clemens by saying that Clemens often pitched inside, but he also admitted the previous incident didn't help the Yankees pitcher's causes.

Said Zimmer: "Like Bobby said, it just looked bad after he hit him in the head."