How Major League Baseball Responded to 9/11

From SABR member Rob Neyer at SB Nation on September 11, 2011:

Contrary to popular opinion, everything didn’t change that morning.

A lot did change.

Commissioner Bud Selig quickly canceled that evening’s games. Later in the week, he canceled all games through the end of the week, with the season to resume the following Monday and the season pushed back one full week. There was a great deal of talk about “perspective” and the relative irrelevance of baseball and professional sports, generally. Perhaps just as important, nobody really wanted to fly even after the American skies were reopened.

Within the game, the largest impact was obviously felt by the Yankees and Mets. The Yankees had been in New York during the attacks on the World Trade Center. Some players headed to their families; Roger Clemens, for example, drove to Texas. Others remained in the city, and worked out on the 15th; afterward a delegation, led by manager Joe Torre and including stars Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams, visited various sites to comfort emergency workers, victims, and relatives of victims.


For the most part, though, 9/11 has not had a lasting impact on Major League Baseball. Unlike previous conflicts, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not claimed the lives or careers of professional baseball players. Of course, one might argue there’s been an indirect impact, as the wars have presumably led to the ballooning deficit, which has in turn contributed to our Great Depression, which presumably has hurt baseball attendance. Which isn’t to suggest that Major League Baseball hasn’t been highly profitable through much of the last decade.

There is heightened security still, particularly at Yankee Stadium. And just as “The Star-Spangled Banner” went from being played at ballparks only on special occasions to being played regularly during World War II, “God Bless America” is now played during the seventh-inning stretch at Yankee Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Safeco Field, Turner Field.

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Originally published: September 13, 2011. Last Updated: September 13, 2011.