"I just remember being on the line for the national anthem and I said, ‘Lord, please, just help me get through this night.’"
That's Hall of Famer Mike Piazza, reflecting on the post-9/11 game where he launched the most memorable home run of his career, admitting despite the rush of hitting a game-winning shot, the moment is still "bittersweet."
It's all part of an interview with the Mets legend, conducted by OSDB (a large online sports database created by Aaron Rodgers and his biz partners), where MP opens up about the unforgettable game.
Of course, it was the night of September 21, 2001 ... 10 days after America was attacked, and thousands of innocent people were murdered.
Baseball, after taking a week and a half off, was back ... but there was a sense of uneasiness in Shea Stadium in Queens -- only 14 miles from the site of Ground Zero.
That was until the now 53-year-old slugging catcher hit a massive 2-run, go-ahead dinger in the 8th inning off reliever Steve Karsay ... giving the Mets a 3-2 lead over the Atlanta Braves.
The lead held up in the 9th ... and the Mets won the game. But, it was much more important than a dub ... or 1 home run out of Piazza's 427 career long balls.
The HR helped bring those inside the stadium -- and the entire country -- back.
“Afterward, obviously we were excited to win the game and we were excited to give the people something to cheer about and it was enriching for us to get a feeling that people wanted to be together and people wanted to hug and be at the ballpark and try to take the first small steps to getting back to living,’’ Piazza explained.
The HOF'er says this time of year brings back difficult memories, but regardless of how tough it is, "it’s very prudent and very appropriate that we continue to remember and memorialize the tragedy of the events of 9/11."
In fact, Mike says he still finds it hard to talk about his epic home run ... but he obliges fans because he understands it's important to them.
“It’s a little overwhelming for me. I always try to treat it with reverence. At times, I’m uncomfortable when I talk about it. I just do the best I can but I feel that people do want to talk about it so I kind of owe them that.’’
Saturday will mark the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.