Texas Rangers third base coach Gary Pettis said it is important for Major League Baseball — and all Americans — to take a moment to remember Sept. 11.
Pettis has vivid memories of that day 12 years ago when two hijacked jets were flown into the World Trade Center towers. Pettis was then a coach for the Chicago White Sox, who had arrived in town only a few hours earlier for a scheduled game against the New York Yankees that night.
"You could smell the smoke. It wasn’t a good feeling that day," Pettis said Wednesday before the Rangers played the Pittsburgh Pirates. "It’s so sad that so many people lost their lives and it’s ruined other peoples’ lives. ... It’s like it was a movie, it’s like that wasn’t something that actually happened. I still can’t believe it."
MLB players, coaches and umpires wore American flag patches embroidered on the side of their caps on Wednesday. Special lineup cards were to be used, and patriotic on-field tributes were planned for the 15 games Wednesday, involving all 30 teams.
There was a moment of silence before the game in Texas, and the Pirates lined up in front of the visitors dugout at Rangers Ballpark.
The 531st U.S. Air Force Quintet performed the national anthem instrumentally, with the presentation by the color guard from Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in nearby Fort Worth. The honorary first pitch was thrown out by former prisoner of war Jessica Lynch, who was 19 when she was captured along with five others after the U.S. Army’s 570th Maintenance Company took a wrong turn and came under attack in Iraq in 2003. She was held for nine days before being rescued.
Flags at Rangers Ballpark were at half-staff, as were those at Progressive Field in Cleveland and Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
The Cleveland Police Department presented the colors before the national anthem before the Kansas City Royals played the Indians.
In Cincinnati, where the Reds hosted the Chicago Cubs, a steel beam from the World Trade Center was on display courtesy of the Cincinnati Fire Museum. More than 20 soldiers from the 10th Battalion of the Army Reserve Careerist Division were on the field before the game for reenlistment in the United States Army.
Pettis and the White Sox had arrived in New York 12 years ago around 2-3 a.m., and he was awoken by a phone call from a friend checking to make sure he was OK.
"I said, ‘Yeah, I’m OK, I’m asleep.’ He said, "you don’t know do you?" Pettis recalled. "I turn on the TV and I see that the building — smoke’s coming out of the building, and they said there had been a plane crash."Next Page >
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