"And it's hit deep to left-center. Andruw Jones on the run. THIS ONE HAS A CHANCE. HOME RUN! MIKE PIAZZA! AND THE METS LEAD, 3-2!"

Howie Rose said those iconic words 20 years ago today, and they still give me chills.

The date is September 21, 2001. The New York Mets returned home to Citi Field to play their first home game since the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. The team had played already, coming off of a sweep in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. The team had not, however, played a game at Citi Field, and 41,235 screaming New Yorkers packed the stands to welcome their team home.

They were treated to one of the most important home runs in New York baseball history.

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Take a moment to re-live the home run:

Here's a great look at the day leading up to the home run, courtesy of MLB Network:

It was the bottom of the 8th inning. The Atlanta Braves, the night's opponent, had just scored in the top of the inning to take a 2-1 lead. The team brought in Steve Karsay, a reliever who had been acquired from the Cleveland Indians, and who would spend the next three seasons with the team's cross-town rival, the New York Yankees.

Edgardo Alfonzo reached base, and was pinch-ran for by Desi Relaford. As Relaford took his lead, Karsay delivered the pitch, and Piazza hit it deep into the night.

The Shea Stadium crowd went wild, not just with excitement, but also, with a sense of relief. Charlie and I have written about this concept before, but the Yankees and Mets were sources of joy and relief in a way that no team had ever been before in 2001. The eruption from the crowd that night, was an eruption from a group of people who were happy to be smiling again.

Twenty years later, the chills are still as palpable as ever.

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