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Baseball Brought Hope Back After 9/11

It is hard to believe that it has been fifteen years since the most tragic day in American history. The events of that day and the recovery following it have been well documented over the last ten years. The anniversary will always be a time of remembrance but it will also be a time to reflect on how far America has come since the events of September 11th.
Image courtesy of Thomas Shea, USA Today Sports
It seemed that all of America came to a standstill as the events unfolded in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. The professional sports world took a time-out as people realized that there were more important things in life than the sports that can consume people's lives. MLB stopped all of their games for over a week in the middle of the pennant races. At the time, it was the right thing to do as the nation tried to piece itself back together.
The Twins were in Detroit on September 10th and they found themselves in second place and only six games out of first place. It would be the last year Tom Kelly would manage the team. It was also the first year the team would finish higher than fourth in the division since 1992. For eight days, the Twins waited to get on the field again and all of America waited for relief that might not appear.

"The only two things that got my mind off of [9/11] were baseball and my son's football games"- New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani


The nation needed to get back to some semblance of a normal life and for many that meant the return of America's Pastime. The Twins took the field on September 18th for the first time since the tragic events of September 11th. There was a pre-game ceremony in the Metrodome where two hot air balloons were inflated. One bore the image of the American Flag and the other was black and white to honor prisoners of war and others still missing in action. Donnele Burlingame, the cousin of the pilot of the hijacked plane that crashed into the Pentagon, held an eagle at home plate during the pre-game ceremony.

Brad Radke was masterful for the Twins after the long layoff. In front of a small crowd of 10,878 fans, Radke took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and he had a perfect game through six innings. At the end of the night, he would finish with a 7.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER. The Twins offense pounded out 18 hits including three hits from Corey Koskie and Luis Rivas. The team also got home runs from Koskie and Christian Guzman and three RBI from Torii Hunter. The final score was 8-3 and many of the players expressed their emotions after returning to the field:

"I don't know how I did it. I don't think anybody's mind was on baseball."- Brad Radke

"I was hoping he'd get [the no hitter]. It would've meant a lot with all that's been going on."- A.J. Pierzynski


Radke was not perfect during this game but in a way that was a fitting tribute to the heroes of September 11th. There was much that still needed to be accomplished at Ground Zero and a perfect game from Radke might have taken some of the light off of the things that were left to accomplish. The focus of the nation was on recovery from the events of that day and rebuilding the crumbling parts of our lives. Baseball offered fans a glimmer of hope at the end of a dark tunnel.

After being the team to watch in the first half of the season, the Twins struggled through some rough patches in the second half to finish in second place in the AL Central. On this night, it was not about playoff races, multi-million dollar contracts, or winning and losing. Baseball's return brought hope back to nation struggling to find it's identity. It brought groups of people together to celebrate something that is truly American and it allowed players and fans to pay homage to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.


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8 Comments

"It is hard to believe that it has been fifteen years since the most tragic day in American history".
September 11, 2001 casualties were 3,000 dead and 6,000 injured.
It has actually been 153 years since the Battle of Gettysburg where there were 51,000 casualties.
Because of battlefield medical inefficiency, many of the 5000 wounded died within weeks.

Not ALL American history began when we were born.
    • ChiTownTwinsFan, Thrylos, scottz and 2 others like this

 

"It is hard to believe that it has been fifteen years since the most tragic day in American history".
September 11, 2001 casualties were 3,000 dead and 6,000 injured.
It has actually been 153 years since the Battle of Gettysburg where there were 51,000 casualties.
Because of battlefield medical inefficiency, many of the 5000 wounded died within weeks.

Not ALL American history began when we were born.

 

Agreed, but just a technicality:Gettysburg was a 3 day battle.Technically the singular most devastating day in American history was Antietam with 22,720 casualties. 

 

But that was before US Major General Abner Doubleday, who commanded the First Corps in the aforementioned Gettysburg, supposedly invented baseball ;)

 

But, yes, it was amazing to watch the first baseball game after 9/11, just as it was to watch the jet lines of clouds on the sky again...

 

 

    • ChiTownTwinsFan likes this

I don't recall America struggling to find it's identity. I do remember a lot of pissed off Americans.

    • ChiTownTwinsFan, Thrylos and Mike Sixel like this

But that was before US Major General Abner Doubleday, who commanded the First Corps in the aforementioned Gettysburg, supposedly invented baseball ;)

The greater shame was that General Doubleday played baseball rather than researching anesthesia.

 

The greater shame was that General Doubleday played baseball rather than researching anesthesia.

 

Anesthesia was ok at that time period.The principles of infection (and cleanliness) were not.And pain management was ok too.

    • wsnydes likes this

Anesthesia was ok at that time period.The principles of infection (and cleanliness) were not.And pain management was ok too.

Always a pleasure to post a comment and receive an educational correction lecture in return. If my point is so easily missed, that lecture should be on my communication skills rather than my failure to verify diddly.

Always a pleasure to post a comment and receive an educational correction lecture in return. If my point is so easily missed, that lecture should be on my communication skills rather than my failure to verify diddly.

As my wife would tell me, "you are about one correction away from sleeping on the couch...or two corrections away from divorce.
Photo
Bark's Lounge
Sep 11 2016 08:48 PM

I remember this day well. When the news broke, I was running a printing press and I remember the customer's job I was running. The loss of life is extreme and depressing.

 

It is unfortunate, but nothing good came from this day that leads us to 9-11-16.

 

It was GW Bush, but it could have been Gore, some kind of military action would have happened either way. I think we would end up in the same place anyways to a certain extent.

 

Since WWII, our country has interfered with things they should have not. Whether it be monitory gain or other menial things. Iran being the big blemish. Maybe they US should have thrown their support into a regime that would have countered the Wahabist Saudi Arabian elites.

 

I certainly have hope for the future of our world, but we are complicent with the crimes of today. We, along with other nations have made this a mess and it will take many decades to make a right out of the overall wrong.

 

The United States of America is not doing itself any favors with this presidential election.

 

I am willing to eat a spoonful of this ****, but not a gallon... Cripes!!!


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