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Saturday, September 10, 2011

REMEMBERING 9-11: WHY BASEBALL MATTERED AFTER 9-11

Ten years ago, I was still too young to understand how the tragedy of September 11th was going to change the world we live in. This is the first historical moment that I have been a part of that I can really identify with. I have lived in Arizona for most of my life, but I was born in New York and can’t say I identify with anything here. Most of my family lives in New York, and in my mind that is where I belong.

On September 11, 2001 I remember waking up and getting ready for school. I had an early 7:30am class so I was awake at 5:30am just starting my day. I had the television on as I was getting ready, I was listening to CNN. At 5:46am Mountain Standard Time, the first plane hit the North Tower but I didn’t think more than it was just a freak accident. At 6:03am the second plane had crashed into the South Tower, and by then I couldn’t pull myself away from the television.

I didn’t really start to understand what was really happening until I was in the car, driving myself to class. I searched the AM stations for some news, and listened as I drove through traffic. By the time I got to class, my Political Science teacher started to give us all the information he knew at the time. We were supposed to have an exam that day, but due to what was going on 2,500 miles away he postponed it and I decided to skip class the rest of the day, nothing else seemed important. I have an uncle who used to work in the World Trade Center, so my mind was already wondering, and I was thinking about other family in the area. After September 11, we all searched for a way to cope…and America’s favorite past time was a big part of that.After the attacks, Bud Selig cancelled baseball games until September 16th, making this the third time in history that baseball activities have been interrupted due to war or a security threat. Games were previously cancelled on D-Day and also in the 1918 season when the United States entered in World War I. Even when baseball activities resumed, the Yankees opened up their stadium on September 23, 2011 to 23,000 people to hold memorials in honor of those who lost their lives. Baseball…some may just call it a game, but it really means more because it helped bring us all together.By the time the postseason came around, it seemed like the Yankees were the favorites to win. People were rooting for them out of respect. Whether people were fans or not, the team captured the hearts of many around the country who wanted this win for New Yorkers everywhere and it was a big morale boost. I only watched parts of the World Series that year, but what I did see, I remember vividly. Living in Arizona, the World Series was a huge ordeal; it was the first time our new team even had the chance to compete here. Everywhere you went, baseball took over the entire city.
I remember watching Game 4, seeing Tino Martinez hit his game tying two-run homer and feeling relieved. I watched the 10th inning in amazement as Derek Jeter hit that walk-off home run. I felt like for the first time, New York was getting something to celebrate, but it didn’t last long. Game 7 was a heart breaker for me. I watched the ball leave Mo’s hand, and I had already declared victory. As soon as Luis Gonzalez hit that bloop single and I saw the ball land I felt like the wind was knocked out of me. Unlike most other people in Arizona I was on an island, I wanted a “do-over,” I wanted New York to finally have a reason to celebrate, but it was not going to happen here.

In the weeks after September 11th, we all searched for something to distract us, to make us feel alive again. Baseball is more than just a game that year; it is also a part of our history. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know it helped me try to get back to “normalcy” and it helped the healing process begin.




--Jeana Bellezza --BYB Writer and Editor



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