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Sept. 11: One year after

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Play or not on 9-11? Baseball forges on

By Ben Walker, Associated Press

John Franco stacked medical supplies and Joe McEwing drove a forklift. They worked side-by-side with other New York Mets wearing "FDNY" and "NYPD" caps in the parking lot at Shea Stadium, a staging area for the relief effort at ground zero.

Yet even now, a year after visiting hospitals, comforting families and tirelessly trying to help ease the city's pain, the teammates find themselves on different sides of a most difficult issue.

Should games be held on Sept. 11?

"Personally, I think we shouldn't play. I think we should pay tribute to the victims," Franco said.

"Yes," McEwing offered. "Baseball, being our pastime, it's something that should be done to take our minds off the day."

The games will go on, with all teams in action Wednesday on the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Ultimately, commissioner Bud Selig had to make the call. Most major leaguers agreed with the decision.

"I think it's important to play, for the same reason the president said it was important to try to get things back to normal," Selig said. "It's a sensitive question, and I can see both sides. It's very personal. There's no right or wrong.

"If fans want to come to a ballpark, gather in a public place as they did last year -- like a catharsis -- and sing 'God Bless America,' then they can. If they want to stay at home and have a quiet time of reflection, I completely understand that."

There will be 16 games Wednesday, including a day-night doubleheader between the Mets and Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. At every ballpark, there will be tributes to the victims and those who tried to rescue them.

Games will pause at 9:11 p.m. local time for a moment of silence, to be followed by a video presentation honoring those who died. A design featuring the words "We Shall Not Forget" will be placed on the field, outfield walls and bases -- all fans will be given T-shirts with that emblem and encouraged to wear them.

Several miles from the World Trade Center site, a plaque will be hung at Monument Park at Yankee Stadium before New York plays Baltimore.

"That's the place you really want to be at that time," Orioles reliever Buddy Groom said. "The place is going to be packed, and there's going to be something special done there to honor the victims."

"I think we should play," he said. "It was a tragic thing and it affected a lot of lives and a lot of families. But this is a way that we can honor those people on that day."

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa agreed.

"If it's a national holiday, where everything is shut down, then we shouldn't be playing. But if people are going to work, as they are, then we should do what we normally do," he said.

Last year, baseball paused for six days after the attacks. Then, awash in red, white and blue, the games returned.

Minnesota Twins closer Eddie Guardado said he thought there should be no games on Sept. 11. He favored a day off, a time for people to reflect with their families.

"It's a tough question. For me, that day should be a holiday," he said. "I'm going to be praying for people. It's going to be a sad day for everybody."

The day holds special significance for Chicago White Sox coach Art Kusnyer and catcher Josh Paul. They were in New York last Sept. 11 -- Kusnyer was walking around in midtown and saw one of the towers collapse and Paul lost a friend in the tragedy.

"I think there should be baseball on that day. They shut it down, those terrorists. We should play in honor of all of those people that perished on that terrible day," Kusnyer said.

Paul concurred.

"If people want to spend their day enjoying a ballgame, why not? I don't think it's disrespectful," he said. "We play on Labor Day. We play on Memorial Day. We play on all those other days. It was different a year ago when it happened. Now why can't we just move on? That's my feeling."

The White Sox start a series in New York on Sept. 13. Kusnyer and Paul have different schedules for the weekend stay.

Paul plans to visit the site, Kusnyer will not.

"I'd rather just remember the sight of the buildings still standing," Kusnyer said.

The date already is significant in baseball history.

The Boston Red Sox won their last World Series championship on Sept. 11, 1918, beating the Chicago Cubs in Game 6 at Fenway Park. Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb's career hits record with No. 4,192 on Sept. 11, 1985. Ellis Burks' birthday is Sept. 11.

Ken Griffey Jr., like many ballplayers, can see all sides to this year's question.

"Nobody knows. That's the biggest thing," the Cincinnati star said. "It's going to be tough that day. We'll see."

Mets star Mike Piazza, who left Shea a few days ago holding a book of photos of ground zero, felt the same way.

"It's a tough issue to try and strike a balance. I was kind of split down the middle," he said. "Pearl Harbor Day is observed in a sense that it is a day of reflection and remembrance, that's what it should be."

Today's news:
Ceremony at Ground Zero
Mass. remembers victims
Silence, tears mark day at Logan
Under alert, Mass. carries on
Bush faces day with resolve
World remembers attacks in US
Memorial in Shanksville, Pa.
Updated wire coverage

Photo galleries:
Families mourn, remember
Ceremony at Ground Zero
Ceremony at the Pentagon
Ceremony at Pa. crash scene
Remembrances worldwide
Remembrances in Boston

NECN RealVideo:
Moment of silence observed
Ceremony at State House
Gettysburg Address read
Procession at Ground Zero
A somber travel day at Logan
Images of Sept. 11, 2001



Preparing for the worst
Security has become the new norm in Greater Boston.


Fear and children
Children's responses may shed light on human anxiety, resiliency.


Muslim minds
The US effort to win over Muslim hearts and minds is failing.


Science vs. terrorism
New chemical, biological threats spur nation's top minds.


For those deported after Sept. 11, the losses are wrenching.


A special Magazine issue
A Sept. 11 narrative by former Massport chief Virginia Buckingham, plus an essay by Christopher Hitchens.

A special Arts section
How culture has changed since Sept. 11, including a gallery of art inspired by the attacks.

A special Focus section
A look at how the lives of six Americans were altered.

Everywhere USA
Terrorism comes to God's country.


Where is Al Qaeda?
How have bin Laden and his terrorist group eluded US forces?


Two cities
New York and DC one year later.


America remembers
The US looks back at the terrorist attacks.

Victims and survivors
A year later, still hurting.

A time for bells and remembrance
A clash of views on terror
Limited damage to the economy
Families build support system
NYC's healing process
Finding comfort in the kitchen
Bailey: A day of atonement

From the Associated Press:
Tribute paid with tattoos
Charities changed by 9/11
White House calls home
9/11 stole innocence, love
Man escaped earthquake, 9/11
Update on 9/11's famous faces
Firemen still burying dead
A mother's note to a lost son
9/11 created heroes in death
Voice mails bring comfort
Little things hold memories
87th floor survivor copes
Sampling of 9/11 memorials
Pentagon survivors move on
Moments of silence on Sept. 11
Survivors try to move forward
Families cling to chances
Sept. 11 widow trying to forgive
Widow becomes an advocate
Workplace response varies
Graphic: Funds offer relief

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