The Day A Baseball Rivalry Turned Into A Joint Celebration

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On this day baseball was more than a game. 


On May 1 2011 the New York Mets played the Philadelphia Phillies in a game that took place at Citizens Bank Park in Philly. 45,713 fans were on hand.

Jimmy Rollins (photo, articles.philly.com)

These two teams don’t like each other. Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies shortstop at that time, said: “I didn’t like the orange, black, and blue.” It’s often that way between New York and Philadelphia–in anything.

The game started at 8:09 p.m. local time. The game was uneventful until 9:45 p.m. in the bottom of the 6th inning with the Mets leading the Phillies, 1-0.

At that moment The White House announced there would be a Presidential News Conference.

The game continued on.

At 10:48 p.m. (the bottom of the 8th inning with the Mets still leading, 1-0) cell phones started going off with breaking news.

Courtesy: CBS NY Local

Somebody in the press box yelled, “They got him!” Reporters checked their phones.

OSAMA BIN LADEN HAS BEEN KILLED.

The producer ran to the announcers and said: “We’ll announce it at the end of the 8th inning.”

In the meantime, a short pop fly fell into left field. The Phillies had tied the game, 1-1.

Once the inning was over, cameras cut to the announcers in the booth and they announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Then cut to a commercial.

By now it was 10:57 p.m. and the game was in the top of the 9th, still Mets 1, Phillies 1. But the big news this night wasn’t about a baseball rivalry. It was about Bin Laden. And it was about a celebration.

At that point, the only people in the park who didn’t know what was happening were the players on the field and those in the dugouts.

News spread like wildfire. Sarah Fullam, a Phillies fan, attended the game with her fiancee. She nudged him saying,: “Oh my god! They got him!”

Fans began chanting, “USA!”

Robin Fogden, a camera operator, was told by the producer to get as many shots of the crowd looking at their phones as possible.

As the chant grew louder, Ryan Madson, who was pitching for the Phillies, wondered what was going on. He had trouble focusing.

When the inning was over both teams went to the dugout and the trainers gave players the news.

It’s 11:10 p.m. now and the game is in the bottom of the 9th. The inning went quickly with the score remaining 1-1. But the chant continued in Philadelphia.

At 11:35 p.m. President Barack Obama addressed the nation, announcing that Bin Laden had been killed.

Back at the park, the game went on for 14 innings. The chant, “USA!,” never stopped.

The Mets eventually won the game, 2-1.

After a Phillies’ batter struck out to end the game, the teams met on the field–not to shake hands, but to hug each other. The chant continued as they did.

Mets and Phillies fans–fans who don’t like each other–were giving each other high fives, taking pictures, and crying together.

This night was about more than baseball. It was about The United States of America.

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About Matthew Paris

I grew up an avid Houston sports fan. After graduating from Texas Tech University in Theater and English Literature I worked as a marketing rep and coach for I9 Sports, coaching baseball, flag football, soccer, and basketball. I’m currently with Austin Sports Academy as a marketing coordinator, baseball and football coach, and coordinator of middle school and high school open play nights. I’ve written three short films for Looknow Productions and have also written articles on film marketing, producing, and directing. I really enjoy writing about sports and being an active contributor to The Sports Column.



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