OK, I should probably stress that former NY Times baseball columnist / serial Mike Piazza-baiter Murray Chass did not compose the above headline (AND HOW MUCH WOULD YOU LOVE HIM IF HE DID?).   But it’ll take more than a few crowded book signings and softball interviews in the wake of “Long Shot”‘s publication for Chass to lay off Metal Mike, whom he’s 99.99999 % certain is lying about steroids in his newly published autobiography.

Had Piazza agreed to an interview this week, I would love to have had the opportunity to ask him about his back and the timing and disappearance of his acne. But the guy who just published an $800,000 book, isn’t doing interviews.

Why should he care about book sales? He got his money. The publisher, on the other hand, should care for the same reason, but neither Mr. Simon nor Mr. Schuster wants to ruffle Piazza’s feathers, you know, the ones left from the steroids.

I know from experience that when I write about Piazza and steroids, especially the acne part, I can expect to be inundated with a torrent of e-mail responses from Piazza’s zealous fans. There’s never enough time to answer all of the e-mail so I decided I would try something different. I am going to reply to reader mail before I receive it. A writer friend suggested I could call it not my response but my presponse. So here is my presponse:

I know that you don’t agree with my view; in fact, I know that it offends you. But I calls ‘em the way I sees ‘em. You certainly are entitled to your opinion, and I don’t begrudge you your opinion. But you are not objective, and you are willingly blind to whatever your hero might have done. If he cheated, he cheated, and he deserves whatever negative consequence that befalls him. If you want to ignore the acne and make excuses for it and invent reasons for its sudden disappearance, please feel free to engage in any fantasy you desire.