Sunday, September 11, 2011

Baseball makes 9/11 feel a little better

Today, on the 10th anniversary of the darkest day in American history, baseball made things a little better.

I woke up today and quickly turned on the television, which I don’t normally do on Sunday mornings. But I wanted to watch the 9/11 remembrance ceremonies and offer silent prayers for the victims and their families. And cry. I couldn’t help feeling the sadness and pain all over again as I sat there listening to the names being called one after another. The hardest part was watching the kids who lost parents participate in the roll call. I do know what it’s like to grow up without parents, but I didn’t lose mine in such a horrific, unimaginable way. I can’t even imagine how tough this day is for them.

But baseball has a way of easing some of that pain, just as it did 10 years ago. Somehow just watching two teams putting all they have out there on the field has an inexplicable way of making a lot of people feel better. It started with the moving ceremonial first pitches by the first responders throwing to Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera of the Yankees and Torii Hunter, Mike Scioscia and Jered Weaver of the Angels.

Then there was a game of baseball played under clear blue skies, much like that horrific day in New York City 10 years ago (that’s one of my clearest memories of 9/11, walking up Broadway and thinking about organizing a mass hooky party at work for an afternoon of volley ball before the world changed). It wasn’t the crispiest baseball every played, but that hardly mattered, especially with the feel good story of Austin Romine’s first major league baseball game. Imagine being that kid, unexpectedly receiving a call from Joe Girardi calling him up to the big leagues to play in a game against his older brother, who plays for the Angels, 10 minutes from where he grew up, with his parents in attendance. The game ended with the newest Yankee catching the oldest, the great Rivera as he closes in on the all-time saves record. Really, does it get any better than that?

That’s the beauty of baseball. Somehow watching a baseball game today made me feel better, just as it did 10 years ago after our world was torn apart. So a day that started with sadness ends with a little bit of joy, just as it should.

Thanks to Derek Jensen via Wikipedia for the photo.

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