Baseball After 9/11

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I just finished the 30 for 30 short “First Pitch” on ESPN, where they discuss President Bush throwing out the first pitch before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series and how that all came about. As always, this was a great short film that took us back to that time where in a lot of ways innocence was lost. The best part of it for me was recognizing how vital baseball was for this country to help it heal and try to move on from the tragedy of 9/11. Yesterday was the 14th year anniversary of that ominous date in history and rather than me write about, I felt a gallery of pictures from when baseball returned on September 17, 2001 was more fitting(and a few from when the Yankees returned to Yankee Stadium. They played the 17th in Chicago against the White Sox). This was the first day that Major League Baseball would return to playing games after 6 days off and it is hard not to see all the heavy hearts in these photos.

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New York Mets Mike Piazza rounds the bases on his two-run home run in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium in New York, Friday, Sept. 21, 2001.  (AP Photo/Jeff Zelevansky)   Original Filename: BRAVES_METS_NYS216.jpg
                    (AP Photo/Jeff Zelevansky)

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New York Police Department Counter Terrorism Agent Sgt. Kevin Mikowski watches from a camera platform during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony before the New York Mets baseball game against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
                 (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
The Citizenship Through Sports Alliance (CTSA), a national organization that promotes sportsmanship among athletes, announced Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2002 that this photo by Associated Press photographer Mark Lennihan won first prize in CTSA's Good Sportsmanship Photo Contest.  The photo, from the first Major League Baseball game played in New York after the Sept. 11 attacks, shows New York Mets' Rick White, wearing an NYPD cap, embracing Atlanta Braves' Chipper Jones before their game at Shea Stadium Friday, Sept. 21, 2001 in New York. CTSA says it sponsored the photography competition to raise awareness of the value of good sportsmanship. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
            (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

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394801 05: New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani gestures before the Mets'' game against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium in Flushing, NY September 21, 2001 in the first major sporting event in the New York area since the World Trade Center disaster. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Allsport/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Allsport/Getty Images)

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Some of baseball’s great announcers also helped put this day in perspective. Here is former Cardinal’s announcer Jack Buck’s 9/11 poem:

Maybe most remembered for the day baseball returned was Mike Piazza’s dramatic late inning home run:

I could write more about this topic, but I feel in some ways I won’t be able to do it justice. There is always discussion about how baseball isn’t ‘America’s Pastime’ anymore, that football has passed it. But when times are hard, we turn to baseball. Baseball is woven into the fabric of America, so in some ways it will forever be what we turn to for escape from the reality of life. Fourteen years ago, we needed baseball and baseball needed us.

 

 

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