Saturday, January 30, 2016

Piazza's Healing Homer 1/30/16

Hey baseball fans!

Growing up in the suburbs of New York, 9/11 has always been an important day for me, my friends, and my family. For my young kid readers who aren't familiar with why this date is significant, on September 11, 2001, four planes were hijacked by terrorists and flown directly into the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and a field in Pennsylvania, killing thousands of people. The United States and especially the area surrounding the Big Apple was devastated. Professional baseball games in New York City were cancelled after the attack, but even when they resumed, it was hard to forget the events that people had just witnessed. One ballplayer needed to step up and bring the nation together. That player would turn out to be 2016 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, Mike Piazza.

Mike Piazza struck fear into any pitcher he faced throughout his 16-year career from 1992-2007 with the Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Padres, and A's. The 62nd-round pick by LA became a perennial All Star, with 10 Silver Slugger Awards, 427 career home runs, a .308 lifetime batting average, and a .545 slugging percentage. Arguably the best hitting catcher of all time, Piazza became a fan favorite in the Mets organization, thanks to him being one of the driving forces in the Mets' 2000 National League pennant run, and he was still playing his home games in Shea Stadium when the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01 occurred.

Ten days after those attacks, baseball resumed with a game at Shea Stadium, pitting the Mets against the Atlanta Braves on an emotional night for the entire USA. Atlanta was leading 2-1 entering the bottom of the eighth, when Piazza stepped up to bat with one out and pinch-runner Desi Relaford at first base. At the second pitch he saw from Braves reliever Steve Karsay, Piazza crushed the ball into deep left-center field for a two-run, go-ahead home run! Click here to see the home run. All of New York and the United States rejoiced as the Mets, on the back of the Piazza homer, won the game, 3-2.

Congratulations, Mike Piazza, on your ticket to Cooperstown. You had a wonderful career, but to be honest, you could have had that one at-bat against the Braves and still made it into the Hall. That's how huge that shot was for baseball and the United States. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

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