Baseball calls off all games following terrorist attacks

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Major league baseball postponed its entire schedule of 15 games Tuesday night following terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, and other sports also called off their events.

Aside from work stoppages, it was the first time since D-Day in 1944 that baseball wiped out a whole day of regular-season play.

"In the interest of security and out of a sense of deep mourning for the national tragedy that has occurred today, all major league baseball games for today have been canceled," baseball commissioner Bud Selig said.

Race tracks around the nation called off their cards and the NFL, criticized for playing after President Kennedy's assassination in 1963, said it wasn't sure what it would do with this weekend's schedule.

Selig called off the baseball owners' quarterly meeting that was set to start Tuesday but did not make any decisions about Wednesday's games.

"I will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and make ongoing decisions accordingly," he said. "My deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the families and victims of this horrendous series of events."

It was only the third time the major leagues postponed an entire day's schedule, aside from labor strife or weather, according to Scot Mondore of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

The others were Aug. 2, 1923, when President Warren G. Harding died; June 6, 1944, when Allied forces invaded France in World War II. Exhibition games were called off on April 14, 1945, two days after the death of President Roosevelt.

In 1945, the All-Star game was canceled because of war-time travel restrictions. The 1918 season ended a month early on Sept. 2 by order of the U.S. War Department.

"I was stunned by the JFK assassination and it took me a long time to get over that. I didn't think that was possible," Selig said at a news conference in Milwaukee. "The (San Francisco) earthquake in '89, the World Series, that was a tragedy. But this is incomprehensible. The greatest country in the history in the world being attacked. So all of this doesn't mean very much today."

Selig said he and his wife were in New York last week, and "we went to the World Trade Centers because I hadn't been there in a while. Now to believe that they don't exist anymore."

Yankee Stadium, perhaps the building that most symbolizes American sports, was evacuated within 90 minutes of the first attacks on the World Trade Center.

Security was tightened outside the 78-year-old ballpark, located in the South Bronx, more than 10 miles from the World Trade Center.

"The ballpark is ringed with police," Yankees spokesman Rick Cerrone said after leaving his office.

The Chicago White Sox arrived in New York just hours before the attacks for the start of their series against the Yankees.

"I didn't have any immediate fear for the club because I knew they were staying in midtown and this was taking place downtown, lower Manhattan," White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said. "So I figured they were OK. Then I got ahold of (general manager) Kenny Williams right away and he said everyone was OK."

Teams didn't know when they would play again. Braves pitcher John Burkett was stuck at his suburban Dallas home because of canceled flights.

"Whenever it's deemed safe to hold large public gatherings again, we'll resume, but I'm sure we won't do it until then," Atlanta Braves president Stan Kasten said.

The NFL was unsure what it would do.

"Regarding Sunday's games, we will make no decision today," league spokesman Joe Browne said. "We'll gather information and speak to several parties within the next 24 to 48 hours."

The PGA Tour canceled Thursday's starts of the World Golf Championship and two other tournaments.

Commissioner Tim Finchem said the American Express Championship in St. Louis, featuring Tiger Woods and top players from tours around the world, would begin Friday with 36 holes.

"This is a sad, sad day in America," Woods said after playing a practice round, which he began about two hours before the initial attack.

The Tampa Bay Classic will open with 18 holes each on Friday and Saturday and a 36-hole conclusion. The same schedule has been applied to the Tour event in Oregon.

The Senior Tour will remain on schedule, with a 54-hole event that starts Friday in North Carolina.

With air traffic stopped across the country, several golfers were unable to get to St. Louis. Among those stranded were PGA champion David Toms, Phil Mickelson and Davis Love III.

The Thoroughbred Racing Association canceled all its cards Tuesday, shuttering tracks at Delaware Park in Stanton, Del; Finger Lakes in Farmington, N.J.; the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J.; Philadelphia Park in Bensalem Pa.; and Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa. Cards also were wiped out at Great Lake Downs in Muskegon, Mich.; Fairplex in Pomona, Calif.; and Moutaineer Park in Chester, W.Va.

Arlington Park is Arlington Heights, Ill., and Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., canceled Wednesday's cards.

The Swiss-based International Olympic Committee expressed a "profound sense of shock and disbelief" at the attacks.

IOC president Jacques Rogge expressed "deepest sympathy" to the families of the victims and sent letters of condolence to President Bush, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee.

The 2002 Winter Olympics are to be held in Salt Lake City in February.

College football commissioners are considering postponing this weekend's entire schedule of games.

The commissioners from all the Division I-A conferences, including the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and Southeastern, discussed their options for staging this weekend's games in a conference call hours after the attacks.

The NCAA said conferences and schools have the authority to determine whether to play college football games this weekend as well as hold other events.

"The games themselves are insignificant in the face of what has happened today," NCAA president Cedric Dempsey said. "Our focus is entirely on the safety of student-athletes, athletics personnel and fans."

NASCAR also was monitoring the situation before making any decision on Sunday's New Hampshire 300, spokesman John Griffin said. The Indy Racing League said it will decide Wednesday on the status of Sunday's Chevy 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

Baseball's minor leagues -- their regular seasons over -- postponed postseason games in all nine leagues that were to play Tuesday.

"Out of respect to the families and friends of those people who lost their lives or were injured in today's tragic events, we have postponed all playoff games scheduled for tonight in the United States," said Mike Moore, president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the governing body for the minors.

The International, Pacific Coast, Eastern, Southern, Texas, California, Florida State, Midwest and South Atlantic leagues were affected.

The stadium of one of minor league baseball team, the independent Newark Bears, has a view of the lower Manhattan skyline, where smoke filled the air after the World Trade Center was destroyed.

Major League Soccer postponed all four of Wednesday night's games.

In Columbus, Ohio, the U.S. Women's Cup doubleheader at Crew Stadium involving the United States against Japan and Germany vs. China was canceled.

In hockey, the Toronto Maple Leafs postponed their trip to Newfoundland after Canadian airports grounded all outgoing flights. The Leafs were to travel to Newfoundland for training camp but decided to work out Wednesday in Toronto.

Eric Lindros and the New York Rangers were set to open training camp at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

"Eric called at 11 a.m. and he said everyone was fine," Lindros' father, Carl Lindros, told The Canadian Press. "He was supposed to be downtown (in New York) to do a TV show but that was canceled."

In Germany, players on the Nuremberg Ice Tigers hockey team, which has Americans Paul Stanton, Chris Luongo and David Emmaunder under contract, voted against playing a game against the Revier Loewens Oberhausen because of the attacks.

In Nyon, Switzerland, the Union of European Football Associations said this week's games will take place as scheduled. UEFA chief executive Gerhard Aigner said there would be a minute's silence at all games.

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