Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza, the majority owner of a low-level Italian soccer team, passionately ranted about his club's financial hardships and stadium situation during a recent news conference.
Piazza, who purchased a majority share of AC Reggiana in June 2016, frequently banged his fist on a table during the emotional news conference, which was published Friday on the team's official Facebook page.
"I'm tired and sick of Reggiana being pushed around," Piazza said. "I am frustrated, and I'm frigging pissed off."
Reggiana has fallen on hard times since it was relegated from top-tier Serie A in 1997. The club no longer owns its stadium and pays rent to Serie A club Sassuolo, whose owner purchased the title to the stadium. This relationship with Sassuolo is a sore subject for Reggiana and its fans, as noted in a larger profile published last year by the New York Times.
"I have a lot of respect for what Sassuolo has accomplished," Piazza said. "But guess what? Sassuolo is not bringing the New York Times to Reggio Emilia for publicity. I am -- we are."
Piazza noted that one of his previous partners negotiated Reggiana's agreement with Sassuolo and said the rent is "double" the league average for that type of arrangements.
"We want to pay what is fair," he said. "We are not looking for charity. We want to pay the league average. We want to pay what's fair.
"We want them to come back to the table, and we want the mayor to help. That's the bottom line. If not, the mayor, the city [of Reggio Emilia] needs to find us a place to play."
Piazza, 49, was inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame in 2016.