MLB.com Columnist

Alyson Footer

Never forget: 9/11 ceremonies held around MLB

Never forget: 9/11 ceremonies held around MLB

The tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, were remembered across Major League Baseball on Monday, as teams honored those whose lives were lost and affected following the attacks in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania that changed America forever.

Somber yet respectful ceremonies that included moments of silence were held before every game. The traditional "We Shall Not Forget" MLB silhouetted batter ribbon was also displayed throughout the ballparks.

"We just want to remember and thank everyone who helped out on that day, and to remember all of those who were lost," said Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, whose father is a retired firefighter.

All on-field personnel -- players, coaches and umpires -- wore caps with a side patch of an American flag during games, and special lineup cards and base jewels were used. The Blue Jays, playing in Toronto, wore customized caps recognizing both the U.S. and Canada.

In Toronto, fans were asked to "stand with our friends, the United States," to remember those lost on Sept. 11. The Blue Jays then paid tribute to Toronto firefighters and first responders. Local firefighter Rob Wonfor, who recently heroically rescued a woman from a crane she had climbed up on in the middle of the night, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

In Milwaukee, a touching display greeted fans just outside of Miller Park. The Milwaukee fire department placed 343 fire helmets by the Workers Monument, symbolizing the 343 New York Fire Department heroes who perished on Sept. 11. Ladders attached to two firetrucks held an American flag, and below, giant red and white numbers -- 9-1-1, the date of the attacks, finished the display.

Battalion Chief Christopher Snyder, a 31-year member of the MFD, performed the anthem. The Milwaukee Fire Department Honor Guard presented the flag, and Kevin Hafemann, chief of the Training Academy, threw out the first pitch.

Brewers remember 9/11

Before the game, manager Craig Counsell recalled what it was like to play in the World Series in New York that year, just a couple of weeks after the attacks.

"It's something that stays with you forever," said Counsell, a member of the world champion Diamondbacks in 2001. "The week I spent in New York that year ... I can feel how I felt, still to this day, when I was there for that week. Even though you're doing the thing you most wanted to do in your life and play in a World Series, there was a different feeling, certainly when you're away from the field. It's going to stick with everybody forever, and certainly for me, those feelings are not that far away."

Police and firefighter tributes were the main theme of the day. In Arlington, the Rangers included the American flag being unfurled by members of the Arlington Police and Fire Department, and Tarrant County Sherriff's Department.

 

There was also an Arlington Police Department Honor Guard, and the national anthem was performed by Fort Worth police officer Oliver Hill. The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Dallas firefighter William An.

Rangers' 9/11 tribute

In rain-soaked San Francisco, the Giants and Dodgers assembled for a moment of silence as the colors were presented by the San Francisco Police Department Color Guard. The Giants also hung banners in Willies Mays Plaza to display the names of those whose lives were tragically taken on Sept. 11. Kris Moore of the San Francisco fire department sang the anthem.

In Cleveland, motivational speaker and veteran Mark J. Lindquist performed the anthem, with the 555th Honors Detachment serving as color guard.

Before the D-backs' night game against Colorado, fans at Chase Field saw a performance from the Arizona Fire Service Pipe Band. The anthem was performed by Sgt. Vincent Lewis of the Phoenix Police Department, with a moment of silence before the first pitch.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.