NEW YORK—They resumed their season in Chicago Sept. 18.
The Mets returned to Pittsburgh, but Valentine stayed behind an extra day to continue his work in the Shea parking lot. On Sept. 21, the Mets, wearing the hats of the New York's police and firemen, played the first-place Braves in the first sporting event in New York since the attacks. Mike Piazza, the team's star, won the game with a dramatic home run and the Mets started winning games, nearly pulling off a miracle, but fell short of winning the NL East.
They lost the first two games of the World Series to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and came home for Game 3, the president of the United States warming up under the stands to throw out the first pitch.
"The blood was pumping through my body so hard, the ball felt like a shotput," President George W. Bush told USA Today. "I said, 'Pal, you used to be a mediocre pitcher. Don't bounce it."
Despite the helicopters circling the stadium, the snipers, and the exhaustive searches everyone passed to get into the Stadium, the president's appearance — and his willingness to jog out into the open — seemed to reassure everyone in the packed Stadium that nothing bad would happen that night.
The Yankees won 2-1 and then came two of the most dramatic baseball games ever played. In Games 4 and 5, the Yankees were trailing and down to the last out, but tied both games on home runs, first by Tino Martinez and then by Scott Brosius, and they won both in extra innings to take the lead in the Series.
In both games, the tying and winning hits brought such stomping, the upper and middle tiers of the Stadium literally shook, something Stadium regulars remembered happening only a handful of times.
"It was as loud as I ever heard it in Yankee Stadium," Jeter said.
As the ongoing efforts to clear ground zero, treat the wounded, find and identify the victims went on, the fear and the sadness was put on hold each night at 8:30 p.m. as the city watched to see if the Yankees could win the championship. Even on the road, the Yankees, normally heckled, were cheered as their bus pulled up at airports, hotels and ballparks, because they were representing New York in a way they never had before, or had since. They nearly did it, but the Diamondbacks rallied in the ninth inning of Game 7 to win that World Series on Nov. 4.
"Our goal was to win the championship for the city and we came up a little short," said Rivera, who lost that game. "We took them away from reality for a while, for just a little while."
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