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September 11 tribute precedes New York Mets-Yankees game

Sep 11, 2021; New York City, New York, USA;  Members of the New York Yankees and New York Mets line up next to each other during the September 11 pre-game ceremonies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; Members of the New York Yankees and New York Mets line up next to each other during the September 11 pre-game ceremonies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

With players from both the New York Mets and New York Yankees standing shoulder-to-shoulder at Citi Field, tribute was paid Saturday night to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks exactly 20 years earlier.

“When this date comes by every year, it is difficult to kind of look back and the images for me — and for I’m sure a lot of people — are very vivid in their minds,” said Mets Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza.

“It doesn’t really get much easier.”

Piazza was one of almost a dozen players from the 2001 Mets, plus manager Bobby Valentine and coach Mookie Wilson, to attend the game.

Those 2001 representatives stood along the warning track with members from the New York Police Department, the Port Authority Police Department, New York City emergency management, Department of Sanitation, Department of Correction and New York State Supreme Court officers.

The starting pitchers for the middle game of the Subway Series — Corey Kluber for the Yankees and Taijuan Walker for the Mets — paused their preparations during a stirring version of “America The Beautiful” by Anais Reno.

In a scene reminiscent of the moments before the Mets-Braves game on Sept. 21, 2001, the Mets and Yankees exited their dugouts and exchanged hugs and handshakes before going a step further and standing next to each other.

A 30-second moment of silence was held in memory of the victims.

As the national anthem was performed by the NYPD Cops and Kids Chorus, cameras lingered over the city’s aces — the Mets’ Jacob deGrom and the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole — standing next to each other.

Valentine and Joe Torre, who managed the Yankees in 2001, threw out the ceremonial first pitches.

The Mets wore the hats of first responders, as the 2001 team did in the games following the attacks, as well as the uniforms the 2001 Mets wore for their first home game against the Braves.

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First baseman Pete Alonso, who bought 9/11-themed cleats for his teammates for the Mets’ game on Sept. 11, 2019, visited Ground Zero on Saturday morning.

“Just seeing everything and people there paying their respects to loved ones, falling comrades, it’s just really sobering,” Alonso said during a pregame Zoom. “For me, it’s just to be able to show my respect to everybody involved in that day and people who were involved every moment after with the cleanup and the search and rescue teams.”

–Field Level Media