Ichiro and 9/11

The Mariners were in Anaheim on September 11, 2001. Said Ichiro…

The game that day was cancelled, as was the next day’s game, which was the final game of the series. All I could do was rest back at the hotel, since there was no way to get back to Seattle. No planes were flying out of Los Angeles, so they decided to take us by bus to Sacramento. But everything was so confused we didn’t know if there’d be any planes flying out of Sacramento or not. In the end we found out we’d be able to leave from L.A. in a few days, so we flew back to Seattle from there.

Added Yumiko, Ichiro’s wife…

That’s one of the trips a lot of the wives went on because they were likely to clinch the [American League West] division title during that series, so I happened to be there, too. I would have worried if we hadn’t been together. It was a relief we were together. Our magic number for clinching the division title was two, but the team was resigned to the season ending right then and there. For the rest of my life I’ll remember the shock I felt when I saw the World Trade Center on TV.

The season resumed on September 18 (when the above photo was taken), with the Mariners back in Seattle. Ichiro again…

To me, that game a week after the attack wasn’t even like a game in the pennant race. It meant something far more significant: that baseball had returned to America. It went way beyond winning and losing… I could feel up close the unexpected unity Americans showed after the terrorist attacks of September 11. I never would have experienced that had I not been part of the major leagues.

The M’s clinched the American League West the following night.

Quotes taken from Ichiro on Ichiro: Conversations with Narumi Komatsu (Sasquatch, 2004).

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