And even more fitting that this game should be played between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves. Normally this match-up delivers bowel-distending unease but something happened before this game started that made me, your neurotic and psychotic Mets fan, take pause.
Before the game, both teams were announced and they took the field along the baselines - the Mets along the first base side, the Braves along the third base side, aligning with their respective home and visiting dugouts. Much to Major League Baseball's dismay, the Mets were wearing FDNY and NYPD caps in lieu of their uniform caps. They would wear these for the duration of the season.
During the national anthem ceremonies which paid tribute to all who'd lost their lives on 9/11, the back outfield opened up and dozens of bagpipers marched onto the field playing 'Amazing Grace'. Everyone wept. Watching at home, I wept. Fans in the stands wept. Mike Piazza wept. And then, just before the game began, I saw something I never knew possible - the Mets and the Atlanta Braves met in the infield and embraced one another. I thought of the woman from Georgia who'd I'd spoken to on the phone and I hoped that she was a Braves fan and that she'd be watching right there at that moment.
That night delivered a great game. The Braves were winning 2-1 going into the eighth inning until Mike Piazza delivered a 2-run blast to left-center. It is, to me, the most significant home run by a New York Metropolitan. Ever.
And more miraculous was Armando Benitez being able to shut the Braves down in the ninth. Among his strikeouts was BJ Surhoff, shown here taking a bat to the Shea Stadium visitors' dugout after the game. Class.