Mariners, A's participate in 9/11 tribute

Mariners, A's participate in 9/11 tribute

OAKLAND -- Mariners manager Scott Servais remembers being at the latter end of his career in Houston on Sept. 11, 2001. His wife and three kids were in town, and they had to drive back to their home in Colorado because every airport had been shut down.

"I don't think anybody will forget where they were and what they went through at that point," said Servais.

Fifteen years later, Servais, the Mariners and the A's remembered the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on that tragic day with an extended pregame ceremony, including a moment of silence, at Oakland Coliseum.

The events also included an on-field motorcade in honor of Oakland's annual Law Enforcement Day. The Oakland Police Department presented the day's colors and members of the Oakland Fire Department spread a large American flag in center field.

Ciara Lunger, sister of fallen Hayward Police sergeant Scott Lunger, sang the national anthem while a baseball sat on the mound to commemorate those who lost their lives. She also sang "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch.

MLB's We Shall Not Forget silhouetted batter ribbon was displayed on the ballpark's jumbotron throughout the pregame activities.

For A's reliever Sean Doolittle, the events of 9/11 hit a little closer to home.

Not only has Doolittle worked closely with several veterans' groups since then, his father served in the Air Force as a navigator on the KC-135 in-air fueling tankers and was deployed twice during the Iraq War.

"You remember the pride and the patriotism that you felt on that day and the days right after," Doolittle said. "That's one of the motivating forces behind some of the work that I try to do with our veterans. It was 15 years ago and some of the stuff's been forgotten. As a country, I think we could do a lot of good if we got back to that sense of patriotism and unity."

Doolittle was two weeks shy of his 15th birthday when the planes hit the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center. He distinctly remembered hearing the news and how baseball was part of the healing process afterward, beginning with the Sept. 21 game between the Mets and Braves, the first game in the Majors following the terrorist attacks.

He also applauded the A's and baseball for continuing to commemorate the tragic event.

"It was the first game after 9/11, and what's more American than a baseball game?" Doolittle said. "They go hand in hand. I felt the A's did an awesome job with the pregame ceremonies, remembering some of the first responders and heroes of the communities that were affected by it. It's a special day for sure."

Both clubs, as well as every Major League team, wore caps with a side patch of an American flag. The tributes are part of the league's continuous effort to honor those whose lives were lost and affected. Proceeds from sales of those caps will be donated to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Pentagon Memorial and the Flight 93 Memorial.

"There's meaning for everybody," Servais said. "Major League Baseball will always be tied to 9/11. We're wearing the flag on our hats today, which is great, symbolic of everybody pulling together and understanding that this is a moment nobody should ever forget."

Justin Wise is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.