"USA! USA! USA!"
September 21, 2001, Shea Stadium, Flushing, Queens, New York, NY Mets vs. Atlanta Braves
It was the first sporting event in New York after the attacks of 9/11.
Mike Piazza came to the plate in the bottom of the 8th, with the Mets trailing 2-1 and Desi Relaford on 1st base.
Piazza hit a towering home run to left-center to put the Mets on top 3-2. It has been called the "Healing Power of a Swing." It was a moment of release for the fans in attendance and the people of New York. They were able to get excited about something for the first time in 10 days. We'll let a New Yorker describe it:
"It’s hard to explain to someone how one home run by one man completely uplifted an entire city, but I remember. With the smoke still billowing in downtown New York MLB lifted their hiatus on playing games with uncertainty. Was it to soon? Would people want to come to the games? Nobody knew for sure, especially the Mets, who were playing their long time rivals, the Atlanta Braves, at home."
"But they came in droves and filled the entirety of Shea Stadium."
"With the worst American tragedy in history only a little over a week in the past, New Yorkers were…happy."
"But it was that home run in the eighth inning by Mike Piazza that made people really happy, if only for a minute."
"Sports has had a lot of negatives over the years, but I think it’s important to also understand how positive they can be as well. Sports can excite, encourage, strengthen, and put things into perspective."
"And perhaps, save an entire country with one swing of the bat."