9/21/01 Mets Help The Healing Process
By Jay Horwitz
I didn’t know what to expect when I drove into the Shea Stadium parking lot 20 years ago tonight. We were about to play the Atlanta Braves in the first sporting event in NYC after 9/11.
Police were all over the place. It was like an armed camp. I told my best friends Linda and Mark Emr not to come to the game because of the unknown. Could there be another attack?
The locker room was quiet pregame. Some of us didn’t really know if this was the time and place to start playing baseball again. Remember over 3,100 people had lost their lives just 10 days ago.
Well the evening turned out to be the most meaningful in my long career with the Mets. As John Franco has said on numerous occasion we helped put an small bandit on a large wound.
Mike Piazza’s home run in the eight inning gave reason for people to smile for the first time in days.
We won, 3–2 that night but that night winning was secondary. What I remember most about 9/21/01 was our players coming up the dugout after the game and signing autograph for the kids who lost a parent on 9/11.
I remember meeting Carol Gies for thee first time. Her husband Ronnie, a firefighter, was killer in the rescue efforts. Carol was there was there with all of her son, Bobby, Tommie and Ronnie Jr., who went on to all four become firefighters.
When I think aback upon that night I feel blessed to have worked with such a great bunch of guys, who stepped in in such a horrific time of tragedy. They all were great, Bobby Valentine, John Franco, Al Leiter, Robin Ventura, Todd Zeile, Glendon Rusch, Jay Payton, Lenny Harris, Armando Benitez, Joe McEwing, Vance Wilson Rick White, Benny Agbayani, Mookie Wilson and Edgardo Alfonzo. They never said not to any charity request that came our way.
I was fortunate to get a ring in 1986, but my fondest Mets memory is what our team did after September 11. We helped NYC heal. I am just glad I was able to play small part of that.