Mike Piazza

Thanks to the internet, the Piazza home run that I reminisced about in my previous entry can be heard in this 25-second clip. The home run was called by our beloved Bob Murphy, who seems overcome with emotion and lets the crowd take over for a bit in this radio moment. I had forgotten that the caps and helmets that the Mets wore on the field for that game, and every game for the rest of that season, were NYPD and FDNY.

The following is from MLB.com.

September 11 taught the country that sports do matter, that their inherent brotherhood was indeed an American ideal. And so, when New York City was ready stand up, brush off the dust and keep trudging forward, sports became the centerpiece—the band-aid for a nation.

That’s how all eyes came to be trained on Mike Piazza and the Mets some days later, on September 21, 2001. The rest of the country had since done its best to move on, but New York was still iced in shock. And it was up to those Mets to thaw the city, to play New York’s first professional game since the tragedy, and bring with that whatever strands of hope and emotion they could.

What they got—a dramatic Piazza home run that meant more for a city than it ever could for a team—was an antidote beyond expectation.

The Braves had a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. With a man on, Piazza—already among the most-adored Mets in history—strode to the plate and drilled a game-winning two-run homer.

And the crowd, for 10 days stunned into silence, came alive.

“As far as drama goes, that was like a Hollywood script,” said longtime Mets radio personality Ed Coleman. “You could write it up and people wouldn’t believe it.”

Tom Glavine was there, too, on the other side with the Braves. And he, like every one of the 41,235 in attendance, was chilled. “I was kind of getting that feeling of, ‘Well, this is one of those nights where maybe there’s a higher authority that’s watching over this,'” Glavine said. “‘Maybe this is happening for a much bigger reason.’ You were kind of getting the feeling that you had no control over what was going to go on—it was meant to be.”

The following is from MetsLifers.blogspot.com.

In September 2007, Piazza talked about the vibe of the stadium that night, the fans, the team and how torn he was before the game because he didn’t know if it was appropriate to play or not; he said the players weren’t sure how to feel. But once the game got started and moved into the later innings, the fans got into it and they fed off the electricity. He said he didn’t remember what he was thinking after he hit the home run, but felt that it was some kind of divine intervention that helped him do it. It was that special. He said that if he’s remembered more for that one home run than any other big home run he’s hit (and he hit plenty for us), then that’s perfectly fine with him.


Fenway Park

Fenway Park

We all know that the Red Sox are not my team, and that my second home has always been Shea Stadium and not Fenway, but an old historic ballpark is an old historic ballpark, no matter where your personal rah-rahs lie. So on August 16 we went to Fenway Park to take the guided tour and it was wicked awesome, to use a New England phrase. Built in 1912, and holding the distinction as the oldest Major League Baseball stadium, it’s a wonderful throwback to baseball of my favorite era: post-turn of the century.

Our 11:00 a.m. tour was 200-people strong and was split into two groups, where we lucked out with a great tour guide for our cluster of 100 baseball aficionados. After the tour, where we sat in every great section that I’ve heard about and have seen while watching Sox games on television, and where we were taken into other stadium nooks and crannies, we had lunch in the new restaurant that just opened under the bleachers, the Bleacher Bar. Since the Bleacher Bar is open whether or not games are in play, and is open to the outfield with only a grated fence between the fans eating and whatever players are in the outfield that day, I can’t imagine getting a prime table there during a game—it’s probably as difficult as getting a game ticket to sit in Fenway itself.

After Fenway we headed over to the Museum of Science for their Baseball as America exhibit, which is a sampling of material from Cooperstown. Since we had already taken a trip to Cooperstown a few years ago, the items weren’t new to us, but are always great to see in person. Photography was disallowed inside the exhibit, which was curious since photography is allowed at Cooperstown.

One exhibit item on display that I didn’t remember from Cooperstown was John Franco’s Mets jersey that he wore at the first sporting event that was allowed to be played in NYC after 9/11—Mets vs. Atlanta on September 21st—when Piazza hit the famous huge home run against the dreaded Braves for a come-from-behind victory at Shea to lift the spirit of the city and the fans—while the parking lot outside the stadium was filled with food, supplies and makeshift lodging for the rescue effort.

Maria’s birthday

Maria's birthday

NH Crafts Fair

Smithy Shawn

On August 2, we went to the annual NH Crafts Fair at Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, NH, where Shawn was able to fulfill a dream by assisting the blacksmith.