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Tuesday, September 10
Updated: September 12, 2:54 AM ET
 
Baseball reflects on Sept. 11 anniversary

ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Joe Torre wiped his eyes as saxophonist Branford Marsalis played ''Taps.'' Fans held hands or wrapped their arms around each other.

Stadium no-fly zones
On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration once again imposed an indefinite ban on aircraft flying over sports stadiums. Aircraft are not allowed to fly within three nautical miles (about 3.5 miles) and cannot be any lower than 3,000 feet.

A note on the FAA Web site reads: "There is continuing and general concern over the risk posed by flight operations occuring within the airspace of major sporting events. This concern arises from a possible scenario in which an aircraft could be used to crash into a large stadium and cause mass casualties and catastrophic damage."

Major League Baseball and the National Football League did not requested the implementation, by its teams, of any new security precautions as a result of the Tuesday's Orange-level terror alert -- raised from a significant risk of terror activity to high risk on Tuesday by the Office of Homeland Security in response to what it perceived to be credible threats against U.S. interests in South Asia and the Middle East.

The new alert was not enough for government officials to recommend the cancellation of any games, though in an orange-level alert, federal departments and agencies are urged to take additional precautions at public events to ensure safety. Precautions could include possibly moving venues or even cancelling the events altogether.

"I don't believe that the analysis or the information has led us to consider the cancellation of events," Attorney General John Ashcroft said Tuesday afternoon. "If we believed that was appropriate, we would not hesitate to do so."

Major League Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said he knew of no new memos sent out to teams given the new high state of alert, but did say that a directive was sent out a couple of weeks ago "requesting clubs to review and implement various security precautions for games on and surrounding Sept. 11."

Greg Aiello, spokesman for the NFL, said no determination has been made as far as increased security for this week's games.

"We don't have games until Sunday, so we will be assessing the situation as it develops throughout the week."

Yankees spokesman Rick Cerrone said that the heightened state of alert will not significantly change security procedures at Yankee Stadium, where the team was in the midst of a 14-game homestand.

"We're doing the same procedures as far as hand and wand searches go," Cerrone said, "but we're not doing anything completely different from what we've been doing all year because of this alert."

On July 3, the FBI mentioned in its weekly bulletin that potential terrorists viewed sports stadiums, including the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis and the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, on a Web site. Bruce Sommer, director of America's Center, which includes the Edward Jones Dome as well as the adjoining convention complex, said Tuesday that, since the bulletin was issued, stadium officials have had no conversations with the FBI.

RCA Dome officials have also not had any contact with the FBI since the July 3 bulletin was issued, said Barney Levengood, executive director of the RCA Dome and Indiana Convention Center.

FBI officials did not return calls from ESPN.com seeking comment about any recent specific threats on sports venues.

Yankee Stadium, the scene of so many emotional moments in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks last year, felt like a giant cathedral on the anniversary Wednesday night.

Fans and ballplayers from New York to San Francisco stood through stirring ceremonies, remembering victims, honoring heroes and making a statement about the national spirit.

The Yankees unfurled a flag recovered from the World Trade Center and unveiled a memorial inscribed ''We Remember,'' in Monument Park beyond the center-field fence. After the singing of ''God Bless America'' and the national anthem fans broke into chants of ''U-S-A, U-S-A.''

''We were tough and united right away after the attacks a year ago, and this is a night when everyone can show how tough and united we still are,'' Torre said. ''We don't need to relive what happened, but we need to remember. I went through a range of emotions, from scared to mad to proud of how the city and country was dealing with it.''

The monument in center field, Torre said, ''opens a book of memories and sadness that's not going to go away. ... It happened on our turf. It seems like it happened 10 days ago, 10 minutes ago.''

American flags flew at half-staff in every ballpark. Songs such as ''Imagine,'' ''I Will Survive,'' ''Let it Be'' and ''Bridge Over Troubled Water'' played during batting practice instead of the usual bubble gum pop music. And the electronic boards throughout the country carried a simple message: ''We Shall Not Forget.''

President Bush wrote a letter that was read throughout the majors.

''During the past year, baseball helped to bring Americans together,'' Bush wrote. ''In the aftermath of the attacks, an exciting pennant race and World Series were an important part of the healing process.''

There was a moment of silence at 9:11 p.m. local time at all night games, with a videotape in memory of those who died in the attacks. During afternoon games, the moment of silence and video tribute came during the seventh-inning stretch.

At 9:11 p.m. in Milwaukee, the scoreboard for the Brewers-Cardinals game went dark and fans donned ''We Shall Not Forget'' T-shirts given to them when they entered. When the scoreboard lit up again, the tribute was played while fans waved American flags and chanted, ''USA! USA!''

Commissioner Bud Selig, former president of the Brewers, attended the game and said that baseball had agonized over whether to play on the anniversary.

''It's the right thing to do,'' he said. ''You can see in people's reactions that they want to share in the emotion of the ceremony and the day.''

Millions of Americans spent the day remembering and mourning and paying homage, and those who came to the ballparks said the ceremonies and songs were important to the nation.

''It feels very special. I wouldn't have missed it. It's something the whole country is looking at,'' said Jim DiCaprio, 41, Yonkers, N.Y. ''It was beautiful, very dignified. That flag with the stars missing was very touching.''

In Chicago, fan Geraldine Mrozinksi said she first felt guilty about coming to Wrigley Field for a Cubs-Expos game.

''But once we got here,'' she said, ''it seems like the perfect place to be. Here, we'll commemorate it in the proper way.''

Many Cubs fans sported U.S. flags in Wednesday afternoon's game at Wrigley.

Many NFL teams paused during practice to observe a moment of silence. Most sports events went on Wednesday as on almost any other day, despite the government's decision to raise the United States' security alert warning to ''high risk.''

In Colorado Springs, Colo., about 150 Olympic athletes lined the streets outside the Olympic Training Center for a candlelight vigil honoring the victims and heroes of the attacks.

There were similar observances around the world. English horse racing held a minute of silence at Doncaster, Epsom and Hereford, and jockeys wore black armbands. At the women's world volleyball championship in Bremen, Germany, the United States observed a moment of silence and wore black ribbons in their victory over Cuba.

In England, officials observed a moment of silence at the Rockingham Speedway -- site of CART's Rockingham 500 on Saturday -- beside an oak tree planted in memory of the Sept. 11 victims.

Cyclists in the Tour of Spain took a silent moment before the fifth stage. The U.S. national anthem played while the flags of the United States, Spain and the European Union were raised -- all marked with black sashes.

At the Pirates-Reds game, the first pitch was thrown out by 14-year-old Andy Moskal, whose father, William, was killed at the World Trade Center.

Before the Dodgers-Giants game at Pac Bell Park, there was a tribute on the big screen on the center-field scoreboard reading ''9.11.01 We will never forget,'' with a series of black-and-white photos from the events of one year ago.

Instead of a ceremonial first pitch, the ball was placed on the mound by a man whose father died in the attacks. As bagpipes skirled, members of the San Francisco Fire Department tossed wreaths of white flowers into McCovey Cove from a fireboat outside the park.

''We're here to play baseball, we're here to entertain and we're here to hopefully help people heal,'' San Francisco Giants manager Dusty Baker said.

Information from the Associated Press and ESPN.com's Darren Rovell is included in this report





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