Ten days ago, we mourned the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, on its 15th anniversary.
So naturally, on Sept. 21, 2016, we celebrate the 15th anniversary of a joyful event that gave New Yorkers and baseball fans across the globe a little extra hope: Mike Piazza's go-ahead home run in the first sporting event in New York City after 9/11.
The Mets entered the night 74-73, five and a half games back of the NL East-leading and visiting Braves. Bobby Valentine's team, donning hats acknowledging FDNY, NYPD and other first responders, trailed Atlanta 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning when Piazza came up with a runner on first and one out. The catcher belted a moonshot over the center field fence, giving the Mets a 3-2 lead, which Armando Benitez closed out in the ninth.
"I remember looking up and praying to God, saying, 'Lord, please give me the strength to get through this, because I don’t know if I can,'" Piazza said in a recent MLB Network Presents documentary. "It's amazing, when you're in the right place and the right time, and you believe in yourself and you have a lot of people pulling for you, and you feel it… It was just this incredible release of emotion, and I think it became evidently clear that people just wanted to cheer -- cheer about something.
"I've got to be honest with you, I truly feel uncomfortable when people say, 'You’re a hero -- that home run.' I have disavow myself of it. I don’t feel like a hero. I really don’t."
Piazza, who entered the Hall of Fame this past summer, finished his career with 427 home runs (his 396 as a catcher are a record for the position), but no other dinger had the drama of that fall 2011 blast.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.