The New York Yankees pay tribute to the victims of 911 at Yankee Stadium on their first home game back since the tragedy (file photo Society for American Baseball Research)
20 Year Memories of 911 – And Baseball
That’s Amaury News and Commentary
By Amaury Pi-González
Refreshing our collective memories: September 11, 2001 game #2 in New York the Oakland Athletics (wild card) were to play the Yankees who easily won their division. Games were canceled on this day because of the 911 attacks. The Yankees lost the first two games in New York, and then they took the next 2 games at Oakland to tie the series, as the series returned to New York where they eliminated the A’s.
That Yankee team later eliminated the Seattle Mariners in the American League Championship Series; Mariners that year won a record 116 games. A few weeks later the World Series took place and the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the New York Yankees.
Prior to moving to the Bay Area, I lived in New York after my US Army Honorable discharge in 1969. I worked for a Stock Brokerage company on Wall Street, although I lived in Queens just a couple of stops on the Flushing blue line from Shea Stadium where the Mets used to call home, I often traveled to the Bronx to see the Yankees at the Stadium.
I cannot forget how many times I had lunch right outside Cortland Street where I used to work just across from where the second tower of the World Trade Center was been build. That area was always busy and very dusty, I could see (when I walked around the construction site) how much water was been pumped from the ground, all the time. Later that summer of 1969 I moved to Northern California.
Move the clock all the way to the year 2001, when terror stopped baseball and the country. A coordinated attack using commercial planes (4 planes) hijacked by suicide-terrorist on the World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and one more plane that crashed in an open field in Pennsylvania which was headed to Washington, D.C. Major League games were canceled and for the first time in history, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded all civilian air travel in the United States.
We lived through one of the most evil planned attacks in history. No guns were used, not one shot was fired, but Islamic terrorists with box-cutters hijacked US commercial planes filled with gasoline used as suicide bombs.
Move the clock forward again to the year 2021, today, twenty years later. Who can forget? I was broadcasting Giants baseball back then. That early morning I watched on television (like most in the world) the horrific live scenes, as the second plane crashed in one of the towers of the WTC.
Later the third plane crashed in the Pentagon Building. The US was under attack at home, Wall Street (Financial), Pentagon (Military), and Washington D.C. (seat of government). This was (if anything) a declaration of war against the United States.
After and when the attacks happened, baseball, at that time, was the last thing on my mind. I thought like many others, this was the beginning of WWIII, just like when I was a teenager in Miami recently arrived from Cuba I thought it was going to happen during the Cuban missile crisis, the face-off between the US and the Soviet Union, over nuclear missiles in Cuba. These two events provided some of the scariest days I can remember in my life.
This Saturday, September 11, 2021, we remember the many who died (nearly 3,000) on that faithful day including those heroes, crew, and passengers who crashed the fourth plane in a Pennsylvania field, one that was headed with terrorist kidnappers to either the White House or the Capitol Building.
This Saturday many teams and fans will remember 911, for a while many teams (after the attacks) played God Bless America during their regular season games at home. 2021 the New York Yankees are the only remaining team in baseball to regularly play “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch of their home games.
September is always the ‘home stretch’ month in baseball for many teams still in contention, but on September 11, 2001, baseball took a back seat to one of the biggest events in history.