Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mike Piazza to perform at the acclaimed Miami City Ballet

Mike Piazza will be exchanging his old shin guards for dancing shoes — for at least one night.

The former Dodgers and Mets star catcher will have a bit part in a performance of George Balanchine's "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" at the internationally-acclaimed Miami City Ballet on May 3.

The 44-year-old-Piazza will play the role of "The Gangster" — a character who threatens the protagonist of the ballet and then coldly watches the performance unfold.  He will have a few lines tossed out "Al Capone style."

"He won't be be dancing or catching any flying ballerinas, but he will be part of the action," said Roberto Santiago, a spokesperson for the ballet company.

Hey. It can't be any harder than doing The Batcracker and dancing around the shards of the Louisville Slugger Roger Clemens hurled at Piazza back in the 2000 World Series.  He was pretty light on his feet.

Don't count on Piazza turning this performance into a permanent gig. Swan Lake will just have to wait. The former All-Star took the part as a favor to his 6-year-old daughter, Nicoletta — who is a student at the Miami City Ballet school.

"It's going to be a lot of fun seeing the reaction of my two little girls," Piazza said in a statement. "For [Nicoletta] to have the opportunity to see daddy on stage is my little gift.  I'm looking forward to it."

Piazza is no stranger to the performing arts and besides doing a baseball version of "Don Quixote" behind the plate for 16 major league seasons, he was a spokesperson for Pert shampoo and appeared on "Married...With Children."

"He sees what ballet study has done for his daughter in terms of discipline and athleticism," said Santiago.

A .308 lifetime batting average, 427 career home runs and now a pirouette.  Maybe the Hall of Fame will realize what a well-rounded player he was.

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