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Sept. 21, 2001: A Day to Never Forget

21 Sep 2001:   Robin Ventura #4 of the New York Mets congratulates Mike Piazza #31 after Piazza hit a 2-run home run in the eighth inning of the Mets game against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York .  The Mets won 3-2. <DIGITAL IMAGE>    Mandatory Credit: Ezra Shaw/ALLSPORT
Michael GanciCorrespondent IApril 16, 2009

I felt like I could hardly understand the emotion. After all, I was only 14 years old.

It was a mere 10 days after the worst tragedy that I had ever known. The World Trade Center’s collapsing left thousands of New Yorkers looking for some sort of escape, and on this night, the Mets provided just that.

It wasn’t only the game that was memorable, but the whole night in its entirety. Diana Ross led the way by singing the national anthem and Liza Minnelli sang, “New York, New York.” But the biggest ovation of the night came when Rudy Giuliani, a noted Yankee fan, walked on the field with his FDNY sweatshirt, and the 40,000-plus in attendance chanted “Rudy” like it was straight out of the classic football movie.

The game was kind of quiet. The Mets had been held at bay. Their only run prior to the eighth inning was thanks to a Tsuyoshi Shinjo sacrifice fly. It looked like the Mets were going to go down on this emotional night, but then the franchise player, Mike Piazza, came up with a man on, and he hit a ball that I think still may be in the air.

The ball hit the camera fixture over the center field wall, and the Mets had a 3-2 lead, and even Armando Benitez managed to protect it to give the team the win.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the place that night, and I will remember it for years to come.

We will never forget.

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