Today: Jul 23, 2024

Sports Commentary: Rivals become part of American history

PAT LONGOBARDI, SPORTS WRITER:
Late Sunday night, on May 1, 2011, the sports world was caught in the middle of a historical event in the United States.
During Sunday Night Baseball between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies advance into the ninth inning, fans at Citizens Bank Park received word that Navy Seals headed an operation that had shot and killed Osama Bin Laden, the leader behind the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, at a mansion in Islamabad, Pakistan.
During the top of the ninth inning, fans put the game on hold as they started chanting “U.S.A.” after the news broke. As we approach the 10 year anniversary of Sept. 11, it’s ironic that New York and the Mets are again a part of such a historic moment.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, both the baseball and football seasons were delayed.
When baseball resumed, the Mets were the first team in New York, due to their schedule, on Friday, Sept. 21 at Shea Stadium as they hosted their division rivals, the Atlanta Braves.
I remember it all well. The players were wearing N.Y.P.D. hats, and there were emotional performances by Diana Ross (“God Bless America”), Marc Anthony (“The Star-Spangled Banner”), and Liza Minnelli (“New York, New York”) during the seventh-inning stretch.
Then, there was one of the best moments of my life. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Mets catcher Mike Piazza hit a two-run home run off Steve Karsay which hit the tower in center field to take the lead and eventually win the game, 3-2.
The home run brought more than 50,000 to their feet, and provided some comfort during some tough times. The Mets gave myself, and this country one of the most emotional games in sports history. It is only fitting that this time, they win again, 2-1, in a 14- inning thriller.
This recent game will also go down as another sporting event during an event in American history. Others include the earthquake during the 1989 World Series, and the O.J. Simpson chase during the 1994 NBA Finals.
It is only fitting that the Mets, the team that sparked New York and this country 10 years ago, are again a small part of United States history, this time as a part of justice. It did not matter whether you were a Mets or Phillies fan, this game turned into a moment that put things in perspective. The troops are fighting so we can enjoy things like baseball games and rivalries, and most importantly, freedom.

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