It’s a trying time right now. The COVID-19 virus that has spread across the world has shut down schools, businesses, and essentially, our lives. This has led to the shut down of every major sports industry including Major League Baseball. Today was supposed to be the day that baseball fans across the world rejoiced at the beginning of a new season. The time of year where every team is a contender and optimism is abundant (except for the Orioles). Instead, it will be the first time baseball will postpone games for something other than rain since 9/11. Yet, there is hope. Why? Because baseball shows us there is.
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Many of us are not truly qualified to talk about the biggest loss of life on American soil since the Civil War. Yet, we all experienced the tragedy together. I hardly remember it, after all, I was four years old. However, it doesn’t take much to understand what happened that fateful September in 2001. Just ask your parents. Much like the COVID-19 virus, 9/11 caused an entire shut down of the American economy. That includes Major League Baseball. Then Commissioner Bud Selig canceled all MLB games scheduled for that week expecting to resume play the following Monday. No one wanted to play, but we needed them to. Even if fans didn’t realize it. We needed to heal. We needed to forget, even if just for three hours of a baseball game.
One of those post 9/11 games was the Mets facing the Braves. It was the first major gathering in New York since the towers fell. It felt wrong and it felt right all at once. We just weren’t sure if we were ready. When the bagpipes came out Mike Piazza wept and so did we. The game really didn’t seem to matter. That was until it got deep into the game. The Mets trailed the Braves 2-1 going into the bottom of the 8th inning. New York needed a win. We all needed a win. There had been too many losses. We needed a win. The Mets had a runner on first with Mike Piazza up to bat. Then, the unthinkable happened. Steve Karsay, who had a 2.35 ERA amidst what was his best season, left a fastball out over the plate. Piazza deposited said fastball over the centerfield fence. The crowd lost it, cheering, crying, absolutely hysterical. The Mets got a win. New York got a win. We all got a win. Hope. That’s what we got from Mike Piazza that day. Hope that everything would be okay. That we, with the help of baseball, would get through this.
If you haven’t seen the home run, I urge you to watch this short clip.
Mike Piazza reminded us that baseball provides hope. Even in the darkest of times. The COVID-19 virus has baseball, and all other sports put on pause. But you can’t fool us. Baseball will be back. We will find hope through these dark times in the wonderful game of baseball. Past and present. Baseball has persisted through tragedy before and will do so again, and so will the people.
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