- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2001

The sports world reacted to yesterday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington with extreme caution and a deep sense of mourning, calling off all of last night's scheduled events while facing the likelihood of more cancellations in the coming days and possibly weeks.
Major League Baseball postponed its entire schedule of 15 games yesterday by order of commissioner Bud Selig, marking the first time since President Franklin D. Roosevelt's death in 1945 that baseball wiped out a full day of regular-season games because of a national tragedy.
"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," Selig said. "I will continue to monitor the situation from a baseball perspective on a daily basis and make ongoing decisions accordingly."
Selig, who has not yet decided when play will resume, also canceled the baseball owners' quarterly meetings that were due to convene yesterday in Milwaukee.
"I believe we are a social institution," he said. "We have a lot of responsibilities, but above all we have a responsibility to act in a manner befitting a social institution."
In Baltimore, the Orioles announced last night's scheduled game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards, the opener of a seven-game homestand, was being postponed by order of the commissioner's office. Team offices were closed, and employees were instructed to go home at noon, about three hours after the initial attack on New York's World Trade Center.
Elsewhere, three college football games scheduled for tomorrow night Penn State vs. Virginia, Ohio vs. N.C. State and Texas Tech vs. Texas-El Paso were postponed while commissioners from all NCAA conferences will meet today to discuss whether this weekend's slate of games will be played.
"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."
The PGA Tour postponed tomorrow's scheduled starts of three events, including the American Express Championship in St. Louis, which will begin Friday with 36 holes. Both the PGA Tour's Tampa Bay Classic and Buy.com Tour event in Oregon will hold 18-hole rounds Friday and Saturday and a 36-hole round Sunday.
Major League Soccer canceled four games on today's schedule, including D.C. United's match against Dallas at RFK Stadium. A doubleheader of U.S. Women's Cup matches in Columbus, Ohio, including the United States vs. Japan, was also called off.
NASCAR canceled qualifying for the New Hampshire 300, but the sanctioning body made no decision concerning the actual race.
All of yesterday's scheduled minor league baseball postseason games were postponed "out of respect to the families and friends of those people who lost their lives or were injured in today's tragic events," said Mike Moore, president of Minor League Baseball.
The world of sports has not been subject to such a massive shutdown in recent history. When President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle allowed the league to continue as scheduled despite the pleas of many to cancel games out of respect. Super Bowl XXV went on as planned in January 1991 during the Gulf War, though with intensified security. The 1989 Bay Area earthquake delayed play of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics for 10 days before Games 3 and 4 were completed at Candlestick Park.
Other than Roosevelt's death, baseball experienced a full day's worth of canceled games (aside from labor problems) in 1923 when President Warren G. Harding died and on June 6, 1944, when Allied forces invaded France on D-Day.
Given yesterday's closing of all American and Canadian airports and the uncertainty surrounding their reopening, teams could face logistical travel problems that may make the continued postponement of games necessary. Nine baseball teams, including the Orioles, had off-days Monday, and many players remained away from the rest of their team yesterday.
Additionally, with the regular season in its final three weeks, few if any off-days remain for potential makeup games, complicating matters for the stretch run. The Atlanta Braves, battling the Philadelphia Phillies for the NL East title, are one of several teams scheduled to play every day through the rest of the regular season.
Thus, baseball faces the real possibility of shortening the regular season or rescheduling the postseason, which is supposed to commence Oct. 2.
"I don't care if they're all canceled," said Arizona Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo, whose team leads the Giants by 1? games in the NL West. "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.
"If it's 24 hours from now or if it's a week from now, I'm just not concerned about it."
* The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide