“One unified New York” was the message echoed throughout the Yankees and Mets’ 9/11 pre-game ceremony at Citi Field on Saturday.
The two teams gathered as one ahead of the night’s game as the city commemorated the memory of heroes and New Yorkers lost in the tragic events from 2001. Fans inside the sold out venue were emotional at the sight of first responders and former New York players and managers arriving at the 20th anniversary event.
Former managers Joe Torre and Bobby Valentine were present for the night’s first pitch, while New York’s various first responders — including NYPD and FDNY — on the field incited fans to break out into U-S-A and New York chants.
A pre-game video also gave fans an account of retired Mets catcher Mike Piazza’s unforgettable two-run homer against the Braves on 9/11, and how that win twenty years ago uplifted an ailing city.
Piazza spoke on the home run’s significance after two decades: “I’ve been blessed to have a few home runs and some big home runs that Mets fans recall and remember, but I think, and I’ve heard it said so eloquently by others, that even though the game really didn’t have playoff implications — it wasn’t a postseason game, it wasn’t a World Series game — it had bigger effect and bigger emotional value from all the fans and all the people in the city.”
“It felt like a unified crowd and that was nice to be a part of,” said New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone, reflecting on a night that was bigger than baseball.
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