How baseball helped heal America’s wounds

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The landscape of American history was taken aback in shape by the terrorist occurrences on September 11, 2001.

The majority of Americans know the story of Sept. 11. A series of attacks on the World Trade Center in downtown New York City were carried out through a group of Islamic extremists, known as al-Qaeda.

Though the extremist group killed many people that day, they did not kill one aspect of this country: American resilience.

Sports is looked at as a very separate entity from general news, but one moment rises above all others.

Diana Ross began the night with “God Bless America,” and Mike Piazza ended it with a swing of his bat.

This was not just any home game for the Mets. It was a night of patriotism and healing.

Just ten days after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Atlanta Braves came to town to take on the home town team in the first game played in New York since the attacks. What happened hereinafter will go down in sports lore forever.

Players engaged in behavior never seen before in baseball: Braves and Mets met midfield to hug one another, and they wore NYPD and Fire Department hats. It was an emotional moment for everyone watching.

The game was all tied up headed into the bottom of the eighth, 1-1. The Braves’ Brian Jordan drove a run home to put the Braves up by one score. The Mets escaped the inning without taking any more damage and had just three outs left to lift the spirits of not only the city, but the entire nation.

The Mets fans in the crowd looked upon their home team in disappointment as Matt Lawton grounded out to first base. Edgar Alfonzo came to bat next, but was walked. Then, history stepped up to the plate.

Piazza took a strike on the first pitch. Distraught, but determined, one swing of the bat changed it all. He took the pitch right down the middle and smacked it into the New York sky.

That home run in New York did not just seal the victory for the Mets; it soared past all of the emotional distress of the city. Watching the ball soar past the stadium, those Mets fans saw their woes and worries go along with it. Those same emotions have carried over to this day.

Mike Piazza’s home run from that night will live forever. Whether you were a Mets or Braves fan, the emotion behind that smack of the bat drives the momentum of Sept. 11 back home. 41,325 people sat in attendance

that day to not witness just the greatness of Piazza, but to show that their spirit had not been broken by the attacks.

Piazza even donated his game check of $68,000 back to the city in relief effort as did several other Mets and Braves players.

“There was a lot of emotion,” Piazza said. “It was just a surreal sort of energy out there.”

The message will always stay the same. America has risen to any occasion without wavering. As Americans, we support each other as a nation. No matter where we are, we will always be there for each other.