Photo credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty

Mike Piazza, Hall of Famer and the best-hitting catcher in major-league history, is having a fine time in Italy these days. Much of it has to do with Reggiana, the third-tier soccer club in which he purchased a majority stake last year, and the New York Times’s Andrew Keh wrote a wonderful story about this for yesterday’s paper. You should read that story not just to catch up on the easy life the beloved great is leading and not just to learn interesting details about the operations and culture of a third-tier Italian team (thousands of fans, Keh writes, rallied in the streets for Piazza when he bought the team), but for his explanation of why he’d rather run a third-tier team in Italy than one in the MLS:

The conversation at halftime turned to the region’s famous gastronomic tradition, or as Piazza called it, “the other reason I bought the team.” He breathlessly cataloged the area’s cured meats: “The prosciutto, the bresaola, the coppa, the mortadella — that’s all here.”

Noting that he had met with groups aiming for expansion franchises in Major League Soccer before buying Reggiana, he said: “I’d rather be poor in Italy than based in St. Louis. You can’t get a good meal there!”

We always knew he was a Deadspinner at heart.

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[New York Times]