With the Mets in the midst of a pennant race, Daniel Murphy, Steven Matz, Michael Cuddyer and Bobby Parnell shifted their focus to something bigger Tuesday.
The four visited FDNY Rescue Company 4 in Queens, which lost six firefighters in the Sept. 11 attacks after two died in a fire earlier in 2001. It continued a Mets tradition of visiting a firehouse on or around Sept. 11.
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"To try and visualize what this firehouse went through on that day, it's unimaginable,'' Cuddyer said.
Matz, the rookie lefthander who grew up in Stony Brook, said the visit "hit home.''
"A lot of these guys are from right around where I'm from,'' Matz said, "so it's really nice to pay your respects to these guys and all the work they put in.''
Although Parnell isn't a native of the metropolitan area, the visit resonated with him as well. He was born in Salisbury, North Carolina, where his father is the fire chief.
"My brother just got into the fire department as well, and I was a volunteer through high school,'' Parnell said. "I grew up in a firehouse, it's one of the things I know and cherish.
"The things that they've been through over the last few years, what they keep doing day in and day out, is unbelievable. We can't thank them enough. They're the ones running into burning buildings when others are running out.''
Murphy added: "It's always nice to take a step back and honor the real heroes in this world.''
The Mets' magic number entering Tuesday night's game against the Marlins was 10, and they have a weekend series with the Yankees approaching. Matz said his first Subway Series will be "really exciting,'' but the players all agreed that some things are more important than baseball.
"We're just ballplayers,'' Cuddyer said, "so it's very humbling to come out and realize you have an impact on people's lives. We go out and hit a baseball and throw a baseball. The true heroes are the ones that give their lives for the benefit of others.''