Former Mets catcher Mike Piazza denies persistent rumors that he is gay in his upcoming memoir, Long Shot (Simon & Schuster).

In the book, previewed on Monday by the New York Post, Piazza, 44, discusses the rumor, saying he believes it started in 2002 after Mets manager Bobby Valentine said in an interview that baseball was ready for an openly gay player.

“The whole episode was such a strange, incredible phenomenon,” he wrote. “I still don't get it.”

Piazza, considered a ladies man, said he found the insinuation that he was lying about his sexuality to be insulting.

“I found it hugely insulting that people believed I'd go so far out of my way – living with Playmates, vacationing with actresses, showing up at nightclubs – to act out a lifestyle that would amount to a charade,” Piazza said.

“If I was gay, I'd be gay all the way,” he added.