New York Mets & Yankees Remember 9/11 This Weekend
Nothing can ever take away the pain of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Certainly the game of baseball was far down the priority list for most Americans. However, part of the healing process is focusing on distractions from your pain. For the people of New York City, and maybe the country, baseball was a needed distraction. Most of the 2996 who perished in the attacks were New Yorkers. Unbeknownst to the players themselves, the Big Apple needed their baseball teams in many ways.
This weekend Major League Baseball did the right thing and scheduled the New York Mets to play the New York Yankees at Citi Field, in Flushing New York. Flushing is about 17 miles from the World Trade Center. Yankee Stadium in the Bronx is about 13 miles from "ground zero." Many of the people visiting Citi Field this weekend have connections to people with loved ones lost in the World Trade Center on that day.
This week on The Drive with Charlie & Dan, we spoke to Glendon Rusch, who was a member of the 2001 New York Mets team and Buster Olney from ESPN, who was covering the Yankees at the time. Rusch talked about Bobby Valentine, the Mets manager at the time, organizing the players to set up the Shea Stadium parking lot for an emergency supply hub. Rusch talked about visiting first responders and how much it meant to the players to be providing some type of relief.
Buster told a story about Bernie Williams of the New York Yankees visiting the families of missing people lost in the collapse of the towers. Williams turned to one woman and said "you look like you could use a hug." Olney said from that moment, Williams and many of the Yankees knew the importance of their role.
The memory that sticks out for many, is Mike Piazza's historic home run in the bottom of the 8th inning on September 21st at Shea Stadium. The Mets were in a pennant race with the Braves but that didn't really matter. What mattered was the celebration. People had been sad, even crying for weeks. Mike Piazza gave the people of New York one small moment to really celebrate and they did. I know I did.
I knew 4 men that lost their lives that day because they went to work. Two gentlemen that I played sports with in high school and a guy I knew from UAlbany, all worked in the World Trade Center. My friend's brother was a fireman. He fearlessly went into those towers to do his job and save people. He never came out. I'll never forget any of them or the senseless reason they were taken from their families that day.
The Mets and Yankees play a 3 game series this weekend. You can listen to all of the action right here on 104.5 FM WTMM.