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'Pretty dumb'

Buckner calls Clemens-Piazza incident 'pretty dumb'

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Posted: Monday October 23, 2000 8:45 PM
Updated: Tuesday October 24, 2000 2:06 AM

  Mookie Wilson, Bill Buckner Mookie Wilson (left) laughs as Bill Buckner talks to the media at Mickey Mantle's Restaurant in New York. AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- Bill Buckner knows World Series trouble like the back of his old first-baseman's mitt, and he says it was "pretty dumb" for Roger Clemens to throw a broken bat in the direction of Mike Piazza.

"I don't think anybody would have blamed Piazza if he'd jumped in and thrown some haymakers," said Buckner, whose been through his own dubious World Series moment.

In the first inning of Sunday's Game 2 of the Subway Series, the Yankees' Clemens hurled the barrel end of Piazza's splintered bat back toward the Mets' catcher as he trotted down the line. Piazza waved the handle of his bat toward Clemens and yelled at the pitcher and the benches cleared, but calm was restored.

It may not become as notorious as the ground ball that went through Buckner's legs with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning in Game 6 of the 1986 Series. The error allowed the winning run to score and the Mets wrapped up the Series two days later (after a rainout the next day), depriving the Red Sox of their first title since 1918.

But Buckner and Mookie Wilson, the Mets' batter who hit the grounder, were peppered with questions about the Clemens-Piazza brouhaha during a promotional event for a sports marketing company at Mickey Mantle's restaurant on Monday.

"I respect Roger Clemens and he was a great teammate but I don't particularly think that what he did was right," said Buckner, who played with Clemens in Boston. "He probably wouldn't do it again. You know, you get in the heat of the battle and you do some pretty dumb things sometimes. I know I did."

Clemens went on to pitch eight scoreless innings for the Yankees en route to a 6-5 win, giving the AL champions a 2-0 lead in the first all-New York World Series since 1956.

While the bat toss may have been dumb, Buckner said the umpires were right in not throwing Clemens out of the game.

"I don't think he tried to hit him with the bat," Buckner said. "But I think it's pretty obvious that he tried to throw the bat over near him. ... If I'd been Mike Piazza, I think I'd have been in his face pretty quick and maybe taken one for the team."

Wilson, now the Mets' first-base coach, said he was glad Sunday's game did not erupt into a brawl.

"What we have to do is carry on, we have a baseball game to play," he said. "And I think that's what people pay their money to see, and not pay their money to see people go out there and have a knock-down, drag-out (Mike) Tyson thing."

"We were pretty much dominated by Roger, no question about it," Wilson added. "I hope he doesn't mind me using his first name."

Related information
Baseball investigates Clemens
SI's World Series Archive: 1986
Clemens-Piazza flareup still talk of the town
SI's Pearlman: Clemens his vintage self, in more ways than one
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