My how quickly time passes. Hard to believe that it's been five years since the tragedy in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania brought the baseball season to an abrupt halt.
I remember that time period very, very clearly. The M's were on the road, having arrived in Anaheim on September 10th. Although I just had to look up the score, I remember the M's had just beaten the Angels 5-1, and were one win and one Oakland loss away from clinching the division. On September freakin' 11th, they were going to become AL West Champs.
I'd watched some of Monday's game from my wife's room in the hospital. I'd gotten a call at work earlier that afternoon from my wife, that our son was ready to be born. Her OB-GYN was sending her to the hospital to have the baby induced. Having spent most of the day of the 10th in the hospital under observation, my wife was pretty tired. The doctor wanted to hold off until the next day, to make sure my wife could handle the delivery. Since we weren't going to have the baby that day (the 10th), I decided to head home to round up everything I'd forgotten to pack in hastily hurring to get to the hospital that afternoon, and to get some good sleep, because I knew the 11th and the days following were going to be loooong days for us.
Little did I know the real reason...
The morning of the 11th, I woke up to my alarm clock radio. I heard some mumblings about smoke at the World Trade Center, and reports from one of the Seattle station's reporters who happened to be staying in a hotel in the vicinity of WTC. I got out of bed and turned on CNN to watch their coverage of the events, with sandman-encrusted eyelids. I immediately called my wife in the hospital, and she had been watching the news as well.
What a perfect day to have a baby! Um. Not.
While I didn't want to unglue myself from the radio and TV coverage, I had other duties much more pressing to attend to. I showered and got dressed, packed the remaining things into the car and immediately went to the hospital. Together, we watched the tragic events unfold, and were not all together thrilled of the idea of having our son's birthday reminding us of this event.
When the doctor arrived, she went over the tests and observation records from the hospital. Since there was still more than a month until the expected due date, we weren't at all anxious to pluck a fruit off a tree that could stand a few more weeks of ripening. Fortunately the doctor agreed, and sent both of us home. Since my birthday was the following week, and I wasn't about to spend it in the hospital, we agreed that Joey could incubate two weeks longer.
I obviously had other things on my mind, but the Mariners were still very strongly in the forefront. I remember wondering what kind of impact this would have on their momentum. After all, these players were all human beings. They were on the road with no way to get back to their families. As much as I hated them, I remember the Yankees, too, being in my thoughts. Surely these guys had family, friends killed.
When the baseball season resumed on my birthday, I remember just being in a total state of disarray. My brother-in-law is exactly one day younger than I am, and he had a share of a season ticket plan. He and my sister spent the evening of his birthday at Safeco Field. The M's clinched on his birthday, and I remember calling him the next day and saying: "Well, next year, they're gonna clinch on mine!"
Boy was I wrong. The M's really haven't had a meaningful September since.