Retiring in your 30s, with over $120 million in career earnings, to a lifetime of golf is the American dream. But it's a dream Mike Piazza grew bored with. And deviating from that paradise accidentally killed a 100-year-old soccer club.
In a piece for the Athletic, Robert Andrew Powell details Piazza's tumultuous two-year ownership of A.C. Reggiana, a team in the Italian third division. If you're wondering why a Hall of Fame catcher took the reins of mediocre soccer squad, it's because...well:
After retiring, Mike slipped into the languid life of ex-athletes in Florida. I’d seen pictures of Mike and Alicia appraising paintings at Art Basel. They hosted a benefit for the National Italian American Foundation at their waterfront house. He smoked cigars and golfed with Mario Lemieux and Michael Jordan and James Pallotta, the American owner of Italian soccer club Roma. He golfed a bit more than he cared to, actually.
“I think we got to a point in Miami where we got a little too melancholy,” Mike said. “Maybe that was part of it what fueled what I was doing. I wanted to do something different. And I wanted to do something interesting, and I wanted to do something creative.”
Yeah, sounds rough, Mike. Totally see how hanging out on the golf course with MICHAEL JORDAN can get stale.
Powell explains how Mike and his wife, who had zero business experience, ended up running the club into the ground, and are currently in the process of dissolution. On the club's 100th anniversary season, no less. We highly recommend reading the piece, but for Piazza, who hasn't really been seen in public since the family announced its intentions in July, it ends where it started:
In October, Mike flew to Scotland for a week on the Old Course at St. Andrews. In November, he posted a picture from a golf course in Tuscany.
The moral of the story, kids: there's no grass greener than on the golf course.