Would a major publisher have advanced Mike Piazza $800,000 merely to find out the favorite backstop’s favorite King’s X album?  Can one fashion a New York Times best seller from the words, “Where’s Mota?” repeated 50,000 times?  While you’re pitying ghostwriter Eddie Trunk, keep in mind that serial Piazza-basher Murray Chass is waiting for Metal Mike’s autobiography — supposedly scheduled for publication next February — and believes there’s something fishy about said tome hitting the shelves after the next Hall Of Fame class is announced.

It seemed unlikely that the former catcher would admit to steroid use and jeopardize, even for an $800,000 advance, his chances of being elected to the Hall of Fame. The publisher, however, will not issue the book until after the Hall of Fame results are known.

Craig Muder, the Hall’s communications director, said no date has been set for release of the results but noted that the announcement usually is made between Jan. 5 and 15. Voting ends Dec. 31.

Maybe Simon & Schuster has innocently planned the Piazza publication for soon after the announcement for marketing purposes, but it might just as easily have agreed to a post-election publication to insure that the book would not keep Piazza out of the Hall.

If, on the other hand, the book includes a steroids admission, all I can say is shame on Piazza and his publisher. With that possibility in mind, though, the voters would be wise to withhold their votes from Piazza until a future election. He will have 14 more chances.