The next day, Nov. 4, a Sunday, the town of Ridge-wood held a memorial service for its 12 residents who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. Family members were invited to place mementos in a communal time capsule that would then be buried. Brendan placed his baseball card collection in the large glass vault. When the service was over, the mourners were handed helium-filled balloons and instructed to let them go together. Brendan watched his balloons sail higher and higher in the cloudless sky, watched them until he could see them no more.
Much later, far into the evening, the Yankees lost Game 7 Because it was a school night, Brendan had gone to sleep long before the deciding ninth inning. The following morning he woke up, took the bad news in stride and marched himself across the street to school.
The ballplayer could not have been kinder or gentler with the boy. The day before Thanksgiving, Piazza took Brendan, Nancy and Bill Jr. to lunch in Manhattan. Brendan asked a series of excellent questions.
Do you have a best friend on the Mets?
Who is it?
How many grand slams do you have?
Twelve, I think.
Have you ever hit for the cycle?