The New York Mets' all-star catcher isn't the only Mike Piazza publicly defending his sexuality these days.
The baseball player conducted a press conference back in May to squelch rumors that someone in the major leagues was about to come out of the bullpen, and that it might be him. "I'm not gay ... I date women," Piazza told reporters.
Turns out the senior pastor of the world's largest gay and lesbian church, Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, is named ... you guessed it ... Mike Piazza.
The irony wasn't lost on the Rev. Piazza, who's been on sabbatical in Savannah, GA this summer compiling his book, Queeries: Questions Lesbian and Gay Folks Have for God. He describes the book as a collection of modern-day epistles he wrote in response to questions e-mailed by his congregation.
Rev. Piazza said he didn't feel the need to defend his homosexuality until a gate agent read his name while boarding a plane and proclaimed, "I am sure glad you aren't gay!"
In too big a rush to dig The Advocate from his backpack, Rev. Piazza chronicled the experience in the church newsletter, and communications director Steve Jolly later sent it out as a press release. "I have a stake in convincing people that it's OK to be gay, said Piazza, who managed to squeeze that point into light-hearted interviews with DJs around the country.
Although mistaken identity has its advantages - like the reverend getting hotel suites when he only asks for doubles - neither Mike Piazza can abide sexual ambiguity. "I am insulted that someone would presume I am heterosexual, the minister wrote.