Yes, that was Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza at the Miami FC game last week.
It turns out the 12-time All-Star, a longtime Miami resident, is a huge soccer fan. So much so that he is the majority owner of Italian third-division team AC Reggiana, a club 100 miles south of Milan. He bought the team last year.
Piazza chatted about team ownership with Miami FC executives during last Saturday’s 3-2 Miami win over Indy Eleven at FIU’s Riccardo Silva Stadium.
Piazza also attended the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and attended the Brazil-Croatia game in Sao Paolo and the England-Italy game in Manaus. At the time, he said his father took him to Philadelphia Fever games when he was growing up, and he has always been interested in the sport. He played as a kid, but switched to baseball.
"I'm a huge fan of soccer, a team owner of A.C. Reggiana in Italy and it was an honor to meet Riccardo (Silva, Miami FC owner) and talk about the future of soccer not only in Miami but the U.S. and worldwide,” Piazza said. “I'm excited about the growth of the game and was impressed at the crowd turnout and excitement at the game. I'm looking forward to returning soon.”
Silva said: “It’s great to have people like Mike Piazza, an MLB legend, choose to come to a Miami FC game. We discussed Miami FC, the great future it has ahead of it, as well as, the future of U.S. soccer. As an owner of a soccer team in Italy, Mike knows the game very well, so it was great to have him watch one of our games. Our 3-2 win capped off a great night for Mike and the fans of Miami FC.”
Miami FC returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday with a second-round U.S. Open Cup game against South Florida Surf at the University of Miami’s Cobb Stadium.
Miami FC vs. South Florida Surf
What: U.S. Open second round game
When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: University of Miami Cobb Stadium