By Ed Coleman
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The Mets couldn’t have been prouder as a team. And it had absolutely nothing to do with finally landing on the right side of a 1-run game. Even if it came at the expense of the arch-rival Phillies – a 2-1, gut-wrenching, hard fought 14-inning victory, payback for the 2-1 defeat administered by Doc Halladay the day before.
No, this was much more than that. This was payback of a different sort, on a different level. The Mets represent the city of New York, a city that had suffered the worst possible body blow on September 11, 2001, while the man responsible for delivering that carnage and suffering – Osama bin Laden – still haunted and taunted this country while remaining free for close to a decade.
Now bin Laden was dead, killed by U.S. forces in his hideout in Pakistan. And as word slowly filtered through the stands and down onto the field in the late innings of the game, the spectacle became surreal, and the game itself became secondary.
Perhaps this was all pre-destined, somehow fitting that bin Laden’s death would coincide with the final game of this Mets’ road trip. Before the trip even began on Tuesday in Wahington, the team made their annual visit to Walter Reed Hospital to meet, greet, thank and salute convalescing soldiers just back from Afghanistan and Iraq.
As usual, they were taken aback by the soldiers’ resiliency, courage and desire to return to their units and be alongside their comrades, despite suffering serious injuries or losing limbs. Normally after a dramatic victory, Manager Terry Collins’ first words would be about his players – on Sunday night, they were about those who he had met at Walter Reed.
Pedro Beato shut down the Phillies for 3 innings – the 10th, 11th and 12th – on Sunday. The kid has yet to allow an earned run in 17 innings of work thus far, and this may have been his best performance to date. Beato, a native of Queens, was a freshman at Xaverian H.S. in Brooklyn on 9/11 in 2001 and remembered that day vividly.
Beato didn’t really know the full implications of the 9/11 attacks back then, but 10 years later and wiser, he fully understands what the death of bin Laden means now.
Chris Young had just pitched 7 brilliant innings, his second masterful start against the Phillies this season, and was in the clubhouse in the trainers’ room. What kind of impact did it have on him?
Young was a student at Princeton in September of 2001, and currently lives on the upper East Side of the city.
David Wright was standing on 2nd base, talking to Phillies’ infielder Pete Orr, when the chants of “U-S-A” started wafting down from the Philly fans at Citizens Bank Park.
Wright has spent as much time as any athlete in New York visiting firehouses and attending benefits for 9/11 victims and their families, so it was easy to know where his thoughts were.
A .500 road trip after a 2-0 start? Who cares. The Mets – and America – came out ahead on this one. At least we hope so.
C U soon
Were you watching the Mets game when you found out about bin Laden? Let us know below…