Between the spontaneous cheering at Citizens Bank Park to military discounts offered by several MiLB and MLB teams, baseball is reacting to the news that Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on America, was killed by American forces.
Baseball and 9/11 were closely intertwined: the 2001 season was in its final stages, and the New York Yankees were in the midst of a penant race. Baseball shut down for a week while the nation responded to the tragedy, but MLB proved to be a necessary step in everyone responding to President George Bush’s call to return to a normal life.
The Yankees didn’t end up winning the World Series — it was won by the Arizona Diamondbacks — but their presence there was still an inspiration.
Now, with the death of bin Laden, there’s a closure of sorts. In Philadelphia, the response of the crowd at the Sunday night Phillies-Mets game was a spontaneous cheer of USA! USA!, as the heated rivalry between the two teams dissipated under the warmth of patriotism. The Mets followed up the game with a Tuesday night game — the first played in New York City following the announcement Sunday night — with a pregame ceremony that saw reps from all five branches of the military throw out first pitches, 4,000 veterans on hand thanks to a ticket giveaway, and video greetings from military in the Middle East. The Washington Nationals had a similar ticket giveaway last night and will be giving away many more during the course of the season as part of the Patriotic Games series; the Arizona Diamondbacks are giving away tickets for the current series as well, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are giving free tickets to military personnel for the entire month of May. We’re sure every team will
Several MiLB teams announced free tickets for military personnel, including the Altoona Curve (Class AA; Eastern League) and the Visalia Rawhide (High Class A; California League). (Other teams, by the way, did already have in place free-admission policies for military personnel.) “This is a proud moment in history for the United States in our fight against terrorism,” said Curve General Manager Rob Egan. “We can’t sufficiently express our gratitude for all that the men and women of the military do for us to protect our freedom. However, we would like to invite them out to the ballpark for the next three nights to say ‘thank you’.”
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