September 21, 2001
This was no ordinary ballgame. As the first major sporting event in New York City after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, it also served as a tribute to those who risked or lost their lives in the attack. It served as a patriotic tribute to America, and freedom. And it served as one small step towards a return to normalcy.
I wasn't at this game, although I wish I was. I watched on TV, and my eyes watered as Diana Ross sang a rousing version of "God Bless America." A few minutes later, there was a moment of silence. Shea Stadium had over 41,000 fans in attendance, and the park was absolutely, extraordinarily, silent. During the seventh inning stretch, Liza Minnelli sang "New York, New York" and reminded us once again of the enduring power and character of the world's greatest city. (And after her number she gave Jay Payton a big hug and kiss, which left a lipstick mark that was visible to the TV camera.)
Oh, and one more thing... with the Mets trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth, Mike Piazza hit a monstrous home run to center field, and the crowd went wild. And the Mets went wild. And that was the best part of the evening, seeing thousands of New Yorkers cheering in unison, as if baseball really mattered. It showed that the healing has begun, and that despite the evil plans of insane terrorists, New York, America, and yes, baseball, will endure.
All in all, it was one heckuva night.
September 26, 2001
I have been to many games in my history as a Mets fan. I have seen many memorable games, as well. From the 6-0 comeback on Opening day in 96, the Todd Pratt HR game, and Bobby Jones' one-hitter last season. But none were quite as moving or important as this one. In the wake of one of the darkest events in our nation's history, the Mets returned home and brought with them quite a show. I will remember this game not for the ceremonies, the stars or Liza Minelli kissing Jay Payton, but for the reaction that resulted from Mike Piazza's 8th inning HR. From a crowd that seemed lethargic all evening came the loudest and exhilirating cheers I have ever experienced. People I didn't know were hugging everyone in sight, slapping fives, and for that moment in time, the horror of the past weeks was forgotten. Thank you, Mike Piazza, for bringing smiles to the faces of us all. Perhaps you aren't a hero in the larger scheme of things, but you brought smiles to the faces of every Mets fan in attendance that night.
February 13, 2002
In my opinion, this is the most important game in the history of the Mets. I work at a small theatre in downtown Manhattan, not too far from the WTC and the previous ten days had been hell. I would burst into tears for no readily apparent reason. I was looking for any solace and my Mets coming home brought me just a ray of sunshine.
I was working during the game so I listened to it on the FAN. Knowing that the baseball fates aren't much for cosmic justice I was feeling pretty low in the bottom of the eighth. Then, the one man who has continued to lift this team up on his beefy shoulders for the past three and a half seasons, hit his magical home run and before I could stop my myself, I realized I had burst into tears again. They weren't tears of joy really (I wasn't ready to feel joy) but it was perhaps the most cathartic cry I've ever had in my life.
It's just baseball. A game that, in the face of over 3,000 deaths, doesn't mean a whole heck of a lot. But I knew, as I listened to the Shea faithful give the largest cheer I have ever heard, that in some collective way, it did matter. And that's why I love the game.
September 25, 2002
I was there and I remember the chants of USA and how it took an hour to get into the stadium
April 25, 2003
No Met game ever brought tears to my eyes. This one did.
May 9, 2003
I have been to many great games in my life, but this is one I cherish more then any. Piazza is OUR hero, he did for us what we needed, he picked us up and willed us to win this game. He did it for NY and for US the Met fans who put aside ours fears for 3 hours of baseball. He would not, could not and did not let us down. I will tell this story to my kids and grandkids. Thank you Mike.
February 4, 2007
With all that happened I wanted baseball back so bad just to escape reality. Everyone in NYC needed a baseball game to feel normal again.
I knew that Piazza was going to deliver. I still remember jumping up and down, screaming at the top of my lungs when Piazza's shot struck the camera tower in center---releasing all that emotion that had been trapped inside for 10 days.
Probably the biggest HR in NY history besides Bobby Thomson in 1951.
April 4, 2010
First game back at Shea after 9/11. I was 15 years old and I remember watching this game on TV. After 9/11 it seemed like everyone forgot we were still in a race with our arch rival Atlanta Braves for first place. It just didn't seem important anymore. We just wanted a reason to celebrate and be happy after all we had been through. I remember one of the fans held up a sign that said "New York Mets and Atlanta Braves, two rivalries now stand united." I would have never thought I'd ever see a sign like that in my life.
We were trailing 2-1 nearly the whole game until the bottom of the 8th. I think Edgardo Alfonzo took a walk, then with one out Mike Piazza launched a huge home run to dead center. The fans just went berserk. I screamed my lungs out. It was like layers of anxiety and sadness built up for weeks that we couldn't realize. Then when big Mike hit that home run we just let it go.
One of my most favorite Met games in my lifetime. I will never forget it.
May 28, 2010
I was a few months out of college, with a job assisting a Japanese sportswriter. However, I wanted to be a play-by-play announcer. Because of this job, I had a Mets press credential (since my boss regularly covered Tsuyoshi Shinjo) and I would use it to get into Shea before sneaking into the upper deck to call games into my tape recorder.
This game was one of the ones I called. I remember my call of Piazza's homer like it was yesterday: "Karsay sets at the belt...the pitch...hit DEEEEEP to centerfield...Andruw Jones is baaaaack...FORRRR-GET IT!...Mike Piazza with a two-run homer to give the Mets a 3-2 lead!"
That winter, that call was the first one on my demo tape that I made looking for a broadcasting job in the minor leagues. That tape landed me a minor league job for the 2002 season and I've covered baseball in the minors and majors every year since.
August 30, 2011
1) This is one "Mets Classics" I DON'T mind being a constant rerun at all. 2) SNY should start a program called "METS TOP 10 MOMENTS" since the 50th anniversary of the team is coming up next year and in the category of "TOP 10 HOMERUNS IN METS HISTORY", Piazza's emotional dinger in the 8th would be #1; END OF STORY!
January 23, 2013
I still get chills and a lump in my throat when I see Piazza's home run on Mets Classics (A replay that will never get boring). Without a doubt the greatest Mets home run in their 50+ years.