Sports

Former MLB catcher Mike Piazza starts rehearsals for gangster role with Miami City Ballet

  • Former MLB baseball player Mike Piazza poses for a photograph with Miami City ballet principal dancer Patricia Delgado before a rehearsal of "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue"  at the Miami City Ballet, Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in Miami Beach, Fla. Piazza will play a gangster in the ballet on May 3. He will say a few lines and then watch the rest of the performance from a seat onstage.  Piazza says his turn with the troupe is his gift to his 6-year-old daughter, a student at Miami City Ballet School. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

    Former MLB baseball player Mike Piazza poses for a photograph with Miami City ballet principal dancer Patricia Delgado before a rehearsal of "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" at the Miami City Ballet, Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in Miami Beach, Fla. Piazza will play a gangster in the ballet on May 3. He will say a few lines and then watch the rest of the performance from a seat onstage. Piazza says his turn with the troupe is his gift to his 6-year-old daughter, a student at Miami City Ballet School. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former MLB baseball player Mike Piazza is fitted for his costume by Maria Morales for his role in "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" at the Miami City Ballet, as costume designer Haydee Morales, looks on at left, Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in Miami Beach, Fla. Piazza will play a gangster in the ballet on May 3. He will say a few lines and then watch the rest of the performance from a seat onstage.  Piazza says his turn with the troupe is his gift to his 6-year-old daughter, a student at Miami City Ballet School. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

    Former MLB baseball player Mike Piazza is fitted for his costume by Maria Morales for his role in "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" at the Miami City Ballet, as costume designer Haydee Morales, looks on at left, Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in Miami Beach, Fla. Piazza will play a gangster in the ballet on May 3. He will say a few lines and then watch the rest of the performance from a seat onstage. Piazza says his turn with the troupe is his gift to his 6-year-old daughter, a student at Miami City Ballet School. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)  (The Associated Press)

  • A flyer advertising a costume fitting for Mike Piazza, former MLB baseball player, is shown with an assortment of hats, while Piazza is fitted for his costume for his role in "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" at the Miami City Ballet, Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in Miami Beach, Fla. Piazza plays a gangster in the ballet. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

    A flyer advertising a costume fitting for Mike Piazza, former MLB baseball player, is shown with an assortment of hats, while Piazza is fitted for his costume for his role in "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" at the Miami City Ballet, Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in Miami Beach, Fla. Piazza plays a gangster in the ballet. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)  (The Associated Press)

Former Major League Baseball catcher Mike Piazza is joining Miami Heat basketball stars in promoting the athleticism of the dancers at Miami City Ballet.

Piazza began rehearsing Tuesday for his walk-on role in the company's May 3 production of "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue." He also got fitted for the taupe houndstooth suit that he'll wear as a gangster hired to shoot a dancer's rival.

The Miami Beach dance company is embracing new collaborations as it emerges from a financial restructuring. Its dancers also have joined Heat stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in an ad campaign promoting downtown Miami's cultural scene.

Piazza says he's excited to draw more attention to the dancers and to the correlation between sports and ballet.