Citi Field, home of the first-place New York Mets, played host to the Battle of the Badges baseball game between the NYPD and FDNY Thursday night, Aug. 11. In a thrilling game, the NYPD overcame an early deficit to win 9-6.
Players for both teams each played baseball at some level in the past. Some players played for their high school and/or college teams and others even played minor league baseball. The field-level seats behind the first base dugout were packed with fans cheering on the FDNY, while NYPD fans filled up the seats in the sections behind the third base dugout. For the officers and firefighters who took part in this game, playing in a Major League Baseball stadium was a dream come true.
“This is the biggest stadium we’ve played in and it’s huge for us and the cops too,” said FDNY member Scott Miller. “Obviously, before this game, we practiced like crazy.”
For FDNY starting pitcher James McGee, it meant a lot to be able to take the mound on a Major League Baseball stadium. After playing for the baseball team at Queens College, he admitted to being a little nervous, but was certainly excited for this opportunity.
“I grew up in Flushing and never really thought I’d be pitching on this mound,” McGee said. “To be able to do it is one of the coolest things. There’s a little bit of nerves that go with it, but I’m more just excited. I stopped playing college baseball a couple years ago and thought that was it for my baseball career, but now I’m getting the chance to start at Citi Field. Words can’t describe how thankful we are to [the Mets organization] for allowing us to play here.”
For Anthony Carnacchio of the NYPD team, it meant a lot to be able to play a Battle of the Badges game at Citi Field. Having taken part in the event for ten years, this was the first time he would play it on a MLB park.
“This is a dream come true,” Carnacchio said. “I’ve been on this team 10 years, love playing with these guys and one of the captains. The fact that the Cohens are allowing us to do this finally is a dream come true for a lot of us.”
New York Mets catcher James McCann was also in attendance for the game. A big supporter of both the NYPD and FDNY, he was happy to see them have the opportunity to play at Citi Field.
“What the NYPD and FDNY do for us on a daily basis is important,” McCann said. “Sometimes I feel people forget how much they do for us. Just being able to let them come out and have a fun night is great. They’re not thinking about their job, they get to come out and have fun and they get to play in front of their families and friend. Getting a night to play on a Major League stadium, I think that’s extremely special.”