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Mike Quade remembers 9/11 a decade later

Baseball will share the stage with a national audience on Sunday, when the Mets and Cubs play at Citi Field on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The Mets will mark the occasion with a pregame remembrance ceremony, and they've offered free tickets to New York City first responders and their families. Brooklyn native and former Mets reliever John Franco will throw out the first pitch, and the national anthem will be sung by Marc Anthony.

"I don't consider it a celebration," said manager Terry Collins. "A remembrance is one thing. But to honor those people that risked their lives on that day, they should be honored somehow. They should be. And so to be a part of that game -- and obviously the Mets were the first team to play back in New York after that -- to have that honor again I think is going to be special for the players."

The Mets and Cubs have split the first two games in this series, and Chicago will match Matt Garza against veteran Miguel Batista in Sunday's finale. Garza has gone 4-3 with a 2.54 ERA in 11 starts since the All-Star break, and Batista is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts for the Mets.

Both teams come in with several younger players that weren't in the Majors 10 years ago, and both managers think their players have something to gain from the environment.

"We'll talk about it a little bit," said Chicago manager Mike Quade. "It's funny because I was thinking about some of the kids that might be in the lineup tomorrow, and they were 10 or 11 or 12 at the time. So that versus adults around this group, everybody's got a little different feel for it. I know a couple of the guys went to Ground Zero and maybe got a better feel that didn't really understand.

"I don't think it's upon me to inject my thoughts on it. Everybody's aware of where we're at and what took place. We've got a baseball game to play and we take a moment to remember what took place, and then we get after it. I'm more of a guy who lets these guys reflect on these things themselves."

Collins, perhaps because of his team's proximity, wants his players to remember everything.

"I told the guys yesterday, 'Take your time and go visit with these guys, and talk to them about what they experienced,'" he said. "You have to understand what they went through. Because once you understand that, the meaning of the day is going to be much more than what you anticipated. Ten years is a long time to a lot of people. There's the logo that came out, 'We'll never forget' -- people have. Make no mistake about it, there's people that have. You can't pick up the paper today without reading about somebody that thinks we ought to stop fighting terrorism or get out of there. But those guys that were there, it's truly an amazing story and we'll be certainly glad to have them out here."

Cubs: Castro staying hot
Starlin Castro has tied a career best by hitting in 11 straight games, and he's the first Cubs player to have at least four double-digit hitting streaks in the same year since Mark Grace in 1992. Castro, just 21 years old, had an 11-game hitting streak in August and is hitting .308 since the All-Star break.

Mets: Batting title within reach for Reyes
Jose Reyes is closing in on becoming the first Mets player to win a batting title, and he went 1-for-5 Saturday to extend his hitting streak to a team-best 13 straight games. New York's leadoff man is batting .333 and narrowly leads Milwaukee star Ryan Braun (.331) with fewer than 20 games to play.

9/11 Remembrance Ceremony
The ceremony will start at 7:30 p.m. ET and will include members from nearly every branch of city public service. First responders and families from Tuesday's Children will unfurl an American flag during the ceremony, and American Idol star Pia Toscano will sing God Bless America in the seventh inning.

Worth noting
• Castro has reached base safely in 23 straight games, a career-best streak.

• With one more home run, Aramis Ramirez will join Hall of Famer Billy Williams as the only Cubs with six seasons of 30 doubles and 25 homers.

• The Mets have 29 come-from-behind wins this season.

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