Who’s On Base?: A Time for Action After the Reaction

By John A. Poole
Updated: October 28, 2008

Osama Bin LadenGLEN BURNIE, MARYLAND — It only took a matter of hours for the Attack on America to become an Attack on the World. By now the images of the World Trade Center bombing has been embedded in our minds forever and hatred for Osama Bin Laden has grown to a level that may have surpassed that toward Adolf Hitler. But did Bin Laden really understand what he was doing? In his own twisted effort to seek revenge on the United States and destroy a sense of safety and unity among Americans, Bin Laden has, in all likelihood, sealed his own fate along with the fate of many innocent people for years to come.

What happened to the United States on September 11, 2001 is, undoubtedly, the worst single, terrorist attack in the history of our being. As Americans, we’ve been violated to the highest degree. And, now, it is time for us, as a country, to unite and fight back. Fighting back does mean grabbing weapons and heading over to Afghanistan and looking for Bin Laden. No, it entails standing our ground and letting all terrorists – and their supporters — know that they can knock us down, but there is no way in hell they can knock us out!

Standing united this week is what our country did. And it was done with great pride and with enormous sympathy and respect for the people killed and injured throughout the day on Tuesday. For the first time since sports have been played, an entire week of sports was called off. And even in the midst of what was going on, the main question of the week was: “Was it the right decision to cancel the games?”

To quote a very large figure in the professional wrestling business, “It doesn’t matter.” That quote was taken from “The Rock” of the World Wrestling Federation.

Sports has been a major part of many peoples lives for a long time, but in the midst of the disaster in New York, people suddenly realized that sports had become unimportant. Every day of the week, millions of people routinely tune into ESPN, CNNSI and FOX Sports Net to find out what has happened that day in sports and learn what is on the coming schedule. It’s almost as if we need sports in our lives just to be able to move forward in our lives.

Well, for the week of September 11th, thousands of lives were cut short altogether, while millions of others felt like life, as we had known it, had stopped completely, frozen in space and time. As a true sports fan, I found that this past week and, even more so, the weekend were exceptionally different and difficult. As fans, we have become programmed to the sports world and without it we feel a void in our lives. But these last few days, it didn’t feel like something was missing.because something so much larger had happened. Sports were put on the backburner. Our only focus – our only focus – was on how we could help our fellow Americans.

Many of us felt this bonding, this need to reach out as we heard President Bush speak at “Ground Zero” and from within the White House. It swelled our hearts to see the New York Jets out there with the fireman and police officers, not as football players trying to do the” right thing,” but as everyday people trying to show support for their fellow Americans. They were not out there to sign autographs, but to help. In addition, the Atlanta Falcons played flag football to support the firefighters and policeman and, in the process, they raised over $100,000 for the cause.

Yet, for me, the biggest lift of all was seeing baseball players out on the field on Monday. It was so much more than having our games and players back. It was the sports community telling everyone that the American way of life will not be compromised! Coming into Monday, no one had any idea how the first day back would turn out. But it was obvious that America was ready for the return of “America’s Game.”

Philadelphia Phillies manager Larry Bowa broke down in tears during the singing of the National Anthem, as did many fans and players as well. Also showing their support for the firefighters and police were the NY Mets, who wore hats with the NYPD and FDNY initials on their hats. It was a feel-better, all-around, communal effort to bring life as close to normal as possible.

With the stopping of play last week, not much baseball news has come up. The biggest news of the week is that Pedro Martinez will not play for the rest of the year. He will be out with a partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

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Edited by Pam Gare