Like 16 Years Ago, Mets Won’t Play on 9/11
With the attacks of the 9/11, all Major League Baseball games were cancelled. They would be cancelled until September 17th. Back then, we all knew and agreed no one should be playing then. It was too soon. If the country wasn’t ready, we knew New York wasn’t ready.
There was work to be done with a city left to mourn. Players went about and did all they could do. They visited different fire stations. Shea Stadium was used as a staging ground for supplies for the rescue efforts that were occurring around the clock. Even when baseball wasn’t being played, baseball was present and part of the healing process.
It was again part of the healing process when baseball games resumed. There were questions whether it was time to return on September 17th. For most, it was time to get back to something that seemed normal. It was time for the healing to begin. Healing did not mean we forget. That was the refrain, “Never Forget.”
Perhaps, there was no more beautiful reminder of that when the Mets took the field in Pittsburgh wearing First Responder caps. It was a beautiful and poignant moment when Brooklyn native, John Franco, who just like the rest of us lost loved one on 9/11, earned a win the Mets first game back while wearing a FDNY cap. With that the healing began.
The healing would continue with the Mets being the first New York team to play a game back in New York. There was a strange aura around that game, one that could never be repeated at a baseball game. There was a mixture of nervousness, pain, hope, and, yes, some curiosity. It all came out as euphoric release as Mike Piazza hit a home run that still resonates to this day:
That moment was important for not just Mets fans, but all of New York. It was safe to go to a baseball game. It was alright to take joy in something as seemingly unimportant as baseball.
Between the relief efforts and that home run, the Mets played a small but important part in the grieving and healing process after 9/11.
Gone might be the 9/11 inscriptions on the sleeves of the jersey. The First Responder caps are certainly gone. Shea Stadium is an ever distant memory. Still, the images of 9/11 and everything that happened in the aftermath life forever.
Sixteen years ago, we knew the Mets shouldn’t be playing on 9/11. However, it feels different now. It seems like the Mets should be playing. At least from a baseball perspective, the Mets were important. Using Shea Stadium as a staging ground was necessary. The players helping at Shea and visiting fire houses mattered. The First Responder caps meant something to people and still do today. That Piazza home run still resonates.
The pain of 9/11 still resonates for many. There are many more important concerns in the world. To that end, it’s not the worst thing in the world the Mets have the day off. It’s far from a travesty. Still, for all of baseball and all of New York, the Mets should be on the field today wearing those First Responder caps.