Before the Mets and Yankees embarked on the second game of the Subway Series on Saturday evening, first baseman Pete Alonso reflected on his emotions with today being the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
"Today obviously is an extremely emotional and special day, not just for us players, not just for everyone here in New York, but a very emotional and special day in a lot of ways for our entire country," Alonso said.
"Going to Ground Zero today was really an emotional rollercoaster for me. Seeing everything and people there paying their respects for loved ones, fallen comrades. It's really a sobering sight. For me to just be able to show my respects for everybody involved in that day, and people who were involved every moment after with the cleanup and the search and rescue teams. It's just truly remarkable."
Although Alonso was born-and-raised in Tampa, FL., he has called New York his home for the past three years. During this time, the fans have embraced him as though he is a true native, which has left him forever grateful and wanting to give back to the city at every chance he gets.
"Being a part of the city, people have treated me so well here, and I'm just forever thankful," Alonso said. "It's truly amazing being here part of this city, and I'm really really blessed and want to continue to give back."
Alonso went onto reveal how honored he is to be able to play in a game like tonight's matchup, which unites an entire community, including two fan bases that typically don't get along with each other.
As for former Met and Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza, the pain suffered two decades ago hasn't gotten any easier as time has gone by.
"Well perspective in so far as, I don't think it really gets any easier as the years go on," Piazza said. "I think time sort of has a healing effect. For me, especially when this day comes by every year, it is difficult to kind of look back. The images for me and for I'm sure a lot of people, are very vivid in their mind.
"I think it's a wonderful thing that we do to continue to honor them on this day. I don't think it gets, as I said it, any easier as affection, the years goes by. The positive effect is that you see a lot about the outpouring of love and affection, and the same sentiments that I think we had after the attacks in the city. Unfortunately you do have to experience tragedy to see triumph, and see courage and bravery. As much as I'm sad to see and remember the sad events, it's still uplifting to see the positive stories that came out of that week."
Piazza of course, hit the famous home run to beat the Atlanta Braves in the Mets' first game at Shea Stadium following the attacks, which took place 10 days after September 11.
"I'm honored. I said recently, it will always be with me, it will be on my Hall of Fame plaque even when I'm gone," said Piazza.
His former teammate Edgardo Alfonzo described the emotion of Piazza's homer, as a similar feeling to winning the World Series.
"That was a great moment, we were so happy... it was feeling like we won the World Series, that was because of what happened. Everybody's feeling was different," said Alfonzo.
Tonight, the Mets will be sporting similar all-white uniforms to those worn by the 2001 team. There will also be a 9-11-01 patch on the sleeve, and New York letters across the front of each jersey. In addition to the custom jersey for this evening's commemoration, the Mets and Yankees will also wear first responder caps during the game.