Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Major League put on hold

Baseball becomes an afterthought after terror grips the nation

MILWAUKEE -- Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and his wife were in New York last Thursday night, and decided to take a drive through the city after dinner.\n"We went to the World Trade Center because I hadn't been there in a while. Now to believe that they don't exist anymore," a stunned Selig said Tuesday, slowly shaking his head. "It's beyond human comprehension. There is nothing in any of our backgrounds to even begin to prepare you for this."\nWith the start of the playoffs only three weeks away, baseball became little more than an afterthought Tuesday after terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.\nTuesday's entire schedule was canceled -- the first time since D-Day in 1944 that a whole day of regular-season play was wiped out -- and Selig said he didn't know when play would resume.\nAt Qualcomm Stadium, where San Diego had been scheduled to play Los Angeles, a news radio station was playing over the clubhouse speakers.\n"For a lot of people my age, we've only read about history, and haven't really felt the impact of terror that we're dealing with," Padres reliever Trevor Hoffman said.\n"Generations before us have been through some world wars, and not that we haven't been through the Gulf War and some other issues, but to have something happen on our own soil, is a bit frustrating, it's angering, it's scary," he said. "A lot of emotions that I don't think a lot of people have ever dealt with."\nChicago White Sox bullpen coach Art Kusnyer, in New York for a series against the Yankees, was looking toward the smoke at the World Trade Center when he saw a horrible sight.\n"All of a sudden, the whole tower just collapsed," he said. "All those poor people. It was hard to watch."\nBaseball's quarterly meeting, scheduled to begin in Milwaukee Tuesday afternoon, was canceled.\n"I believe we are a social institution," Selig said. "We have a lot of responsibilities, but above all, we have a responsibility to act in a manner befitting a social institution."\nInstead of spending their day in meetings, owners who arrived before the attacks huddled around a television at the Pfister Hotel, watching for the latest developments. Cellular phones rang as friends and loved ones checked in.\nHouston Astros owner Drayton McLane had a son who was in New York on business; he called McLane's wife to say he was OK. Arizona Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo reached his son Bryan, who was in Milan, Italy, and told him to stay put. Bryan Colangelo is president of the Phoenix Suns.\n"We can't worry about our game, our business," Colangelo said. "What were we all doing here? The people who were here, waiting for a meeting to take place. How silly."\nSelig heard the news when he was at home, riding his exercise bike as he does every morning. Stunned, he flipped through the channels, only to see the same horrific images everywhere.\nHe spent most of the morning making sure everyone who works in the Commissioner's Office was safe, and tracking down owners who were supposed to be traveling to Milwaukee.\nBecause the meeting wasn't scheduled to start until late afternoon, most owners planned to fly in Tuesday morning. About a quarter made it, and a few more were stranded on their way. One owner was in Des Moines, Iowa, while another was diverted to Cincinnati.\nSelig told the others to stay home. While baseball has some pressing issues with the current labor agreement expiring Oct. 31, now isn't the time to worry about them.\n"Right now I'm not concerned about any of them (issues), to be frank," said Selig, whose Milwaukee office was evacuated as a precaution because it's in the city's tallest building.\nSame for the games.\nWith fewer than 20 games left for most teams, these next few weeks are critical for clubs in the playoff hunt. Seattle is the only team that's clinched a playoff spot.\nArizona leads San Francisco in the NL West by just 11/2 games. The Giants lead the NL wild card race by only a half game.\n"I don't think it's correct to focus on that right now," said McLane, whose NL Central-leading Astros were to begin a crucial series against the Giants Tuesday night.\nColangelo agreed.\n"I don't care if they're all canceled," he said. "When it's deemed safe to proceed or it's in the interests of our country to go forward, that's when we should resume. Whenever that is.\n"If it's 24 hours from now or if it's a week from now, I'm just not concerned about it."\nIn the past, baseball has been a healing force during national tragedies. President Franklin Roosevelt ordered games to continue during World War II. When an earthquake devastated San Francisco in 1989 and delayed the World Series between the Giants and the Oakland A's, the city asked baseball to keep playing.\nSelig hopes baseball will help heal the nation again. But with emotions so raw, it's too soon to even think about it.\n"It's got to be done right. It's got to be done with only healing in mind," he said. "We're going to do this when it's the right time and the right thing to do. Not for us. This is one time we're not going to think about us.\n"We're going to think about what's best for the country"

Get stories like this in your inbox
Subscribe