They are thought of as celebrities. Superstars. Larger than life.
But on Sunday night, the New York Mets were just like everyone else: trying to put their emotions into words as they expressed their relief over the news that terrorist Osama bin Laden had been killed.
"It brings some closure to a pretty significant event in our history," said knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, following the Mets' epic 2-1, 14-inning victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, which capped an unforgettable night for America.
"I was on the bench about the sixth inning," Dickey continued. "Our trainer came up and whispered in my ear that they had gotten Osama bin Laden. And then after that, I came inside and saw it running across the wire and heard a part of [President] Obama's address updating the country on what had happened.
"It’s great. At the same time, it’s not the end. It also brings some significant closure to an enormous event in our recent history. That’s a big deal. But the hope is that it won’t ignite a martyr type situation, surely. But I think it’s a pretty significant victory for us."
The sellout crowd of 45,713 at Citizens Bank Park began chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" in the ninth inning upon finally hearing the news.
"I don’t like to give Philadelphia fans too much credit, but they got this one right," said third baseman David Wright, who didn't find out what had happened until two innings later.
Wright, who has spoken at several firehouses and police stations during his eight-year career with the Mets, said he immediately thought back to last Tuesday, when the team visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
"The emotions that those guys must be going through hearing that same news -- as proud and as great as the moment was being on a baseball field, you multiple by that by a million and that's probably what they're feeling at the firehouses, at the police stations," Wright said. "At the places like Walter Reed, it's just an incredible moment, and like I said, for more than a split second, you kind of come together, you've got the New Yorkers, and Philadelphia the city to kind of come together for a common cause. It put a smile on my face before I even knew what was going on. It made me feel a lot better after I found out."
Right-hander Chris Young, who threw seven scoreless innings on Sunday night, thought about the firehouse near his Upper West Side residence that lost nine firefighters in the Sept. 11 attacks.
"It was the first thing that popped into my head," Young said. "I don’t know if thrilled is the right word, but just thinking of those nine people and everybody that lost their lives on Sept. 11, and certainly the city of New York. I wouldn’t say they have a lot to celebrate, but I think it’s uplifting to know that we’re winning the war.
"It’s probably a night I’ll never forget. I came inside and heard the news. There are some things bigger than the game and our jobs. You could hear the crowd chanting, 'U-S-A!' And I got chills hearing that. It was a pretty neat atmosphere and place to be to get that kind of news. It’s certainly a historic night and a great victory for the United States and the war on terrorism."