Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura was teammates with Mike Piazza for three seasons when the two played for the New York Mets, and on Sunday, Piazza told CSN Chicago that he isn't surprised to see Ventura succeed as a major league manager.
"It was interesting," Piazza said of the hire. "I felt like he was going to do pretty well. Real intellectual guy. Understands the game. Understands the Xs and Os, but also seems like he has a good presence in the clubhouse. By the response of the team guys obviously like he was playing for him."
Piazza also told a story of how Ventura once loosened up his teammates during a lackluster performance by sliding into the dugout from the field. Ventura, who led the White Sox to within three games of a playoff berth in his debut season on the South Side, recently finished third in the AL Manager of the Year voting.
Piazza, meanwhile, gave a clinic to the players at the Italian Academy in Tirrenia and is planning to move to Rome in order to help baseball promote the IBAF Baseball World Cup. Piazza also managed Italy in the 2009 World Baseball Classic after playing for the team in the 2006 event.