Mike Piazza: I'd like to sign the checks

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The all-time leader in homers among major league catchers may want to follow the lead of Nolan Ryan and buy into ownership of a major league team.

Mike Piazza, in Port St. Lucie on Saturday morning as hitting coach for Team Italy, which was due to face New York Mets minor league prospects, says he has considered becoming an owner. Piazza intimated he has been approached by groups of investors.

"Would I be interested in possibly getting involved in a group to buy a team? Probably," Piazza said. "I've been thinking about it. I think that would be something that would probably suit my desire, at least, to get into the game. I don't really see myself on the field all the time, or in the boardroom all the time. But I feel like maybe I can bring certain intangibles to both. And having the credibility of being on the field and also getting to know some of the administrative aspects of the sport would be something I'd be interested in.

"I never say never. You see Nolan Ryan getting involved. And I've heard of other players, in the future, wanting to get involved in ownership. I just think everything is a timing thing. It's an interesting time in the game, and there's a lot of change going on. You just don't know what situation will pop up. As far as anything on the forefront? Nothing. Down the line? We'll see."

Still, Piazza intimated he had been approached by groups interested in purchasing a stake in the Mets.

"I can't confirm or deny any of that," he said playfully. "Let's just say I've talked to some people who have interest in getting into the game. It doesn't cost anything to talk, thank god. At least not yet. Things start with ideas. And you have to dream a little bit, and you just never know. So we'll see. But as far anything right now -- any talks or putting together any groups -- no, I'm not involved in anything specifically."

Piazza says he feels badly for Mets owner Fred Wilpon, who is the subject of a $1 billion lawsuit related to the Bernard Madoff mess.

"When I was there, the Wilpons treated me great," Piazza said. "I feel bad what's going on. I'm sure when everything gets ironed out, hopefully things will work out well for them. Personally speaking, I think back to the celebration they gave me when I broke the record [for most homers by a catcher]. They treated me great. They treated my family great, my wife. I'm definitely in their corner, hoping this thing gets ironed out. At the end of the day, I still think the fans hopefully concentrate on baseball and realize they still have some really good players. They have David [Wright] and Angel [Pagan]. I met him ... and he was the nicest kid.

"I just hope the fans are at least able to concentrate on baseball. I know there's a lot of turmoil going on off the field, but I've always believed those things have a way of working out. If they happen to introduce another party to buy into the team, I'm sure they'll be passionate about turning the team in the right direction. I hope things get worked out."

Asked if he had been contacted by Bobby Valentine about potentially joining his team of prospective investors, Piazza sounded like he had no idea about his former manager's interest in ownership.

"He's actually putting a group together?" Piazza asked. "That's funny. I didn't know that. I mean, not funny."

Funny in an odd way, he meant.