Atta boy, Mike. (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
On September 21, 2011, the Mets and Braves met to play the first professional baseball game in New York City since the World Trade Center attack ten days earlier. The two teams combined for 17 hits, though we're only going to talk about this one.
Let's assume that of the millions of people residing in the greater metropolitan area there is one who saw every swing Mike Piazza ever took at Shea Stadium during his time as a New York Met. That person would have witnessed exactly 100 of them produce a result similar to the cut Piazza took against Steve Karsay in the bottom of the eighth on September 21, 2001. The point being, if you watch the clip linked to in the paragraph above, eyes alone won't tell you why that home run is special. If anything, it's the audio comes closest to capturing the power of the moment. Note how loud the crack of the bat is. How sharp it sounds over the crowd's low murmur. The volume of the 41,235 in attendance rises as the ball does. Howie Rose, making the call for those who are watching elsewhere, starts to shout over the roar. "This one has a chance!" he yawps, even though the ball is already making its final descent into the camera tower well behind the left center field fence.
The camerawork jumps around at this point. In lieu of a defining image, many are presented: Piazza rounding the bases. Bobby Cox in the opposite dugout. Kevin Appier's back briefly. The roar, on the other hand, remains constant. It goes on.
- Turning 28 today is Joaquin Arias, who hit .200/.250/.233 for the Mets in 2010, but distinguished himself mainly by not being the man he was traded for: Jeff Francouer.
- Also with a birthday today is two-sport star D.J. Dozier. The 31st greatest Met of All Time turns 47.
Game of Note
What a difference five days makes. When this space last checked in with the 1973 Mets, Tom Seaver had just turned in his worst start of the year according to game score, a 10-3 pasting at the hands of the Pirates. Facing Pittsburgh again on September 21, he put up this line: 9 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 8 K. For a mortal pitcher, that'd be a hell of a performance. For Seaver, it was the 12th best of a season that would win him a second Cy Young Award. In any event, it was more than good enough to secure the Mets a 10-3 win and a half game lead in the NL East with eight left to play.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
It was seventy-five years ago today that readers first learned of a little fellow by the name of Bilbo Baggins, as J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit was published on this date in 1937. The book has since spawned multiple sequels, numerous filmed adaptations, and a baseball bat dubbed Orcrist that is wielded with aplomb by everyone's favorite knuckleballer/goblin cleaver, the inimitable R.A. Dickey.