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A touching tribute at The Ballpark
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09/11/2002 8:37 pm ET 
A touching tribute at The Ballpark
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com

Lou Piniella was thinking of those who lost loved ones a year ago during Wednesday's tribute. (Ben Margot/AP)
ARLINGTON, Texas -- On the day the nation remembered the tragic events of Sept. 11, the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners also did their part.

At 11 a.m, the Rangers opened a Children's Patriotic Art Exhibit at The Ballpark in Arlington. From 5:45 to 6:15 p.m., several Texas players distributed T-shirts and American flags at The Ballpark gates.

"I think it's on all of our minds and will be for a long time," Rangers second baseman Michael Young said. "We are still dealing with emotions like anger, sadness, but I hope playing ball can give people something to enjoy during this time."

During a pre-game ceremony for the annual Texas Rangers Law Enforcement/Firefighter Appreciation night, the club honored representatives from more than 30 cities and 10 counties. Members of the Mariners and Rangers joined the law enforcement officials on the base lines. The marching band from the University of Texas at Arlington also performed several patriotic songs and an emotional video tribute captivated the crowd soon after.


"[Today] revives some bad memories. The healing process goes on, but we will revisit this day for a long, long time," Mariners manager Lou Piniella said. "Something happened that you can't imagine, and it put a bad scar on everybody's brain. It was even worse for the people who lost family and friends."

Rangers radio broadcaster Eric Nadel read a letter from President Bush, and there was a moment of silence followed by a 21-gun salute.

"I think it's important that our organization shows appreciation for the people who protect us, considering everything that has happened," Rangers pitcher Aaron Myette said. "I don't know how we will feel out there, because this is still something that happened only a year ago. A lot people are still being affected."

Officer Ray Hosack and Jonathan Spells of the Arlington Police Department performed the National Anthem, and detective Elizabeth Edmonds-Hayes of the Arlington Police Department, lieutenant Jimmy Stewart of the Grand Prairie Fire Dept., and Buddy Mass from the International Firefighters Association all participated in the ceremonial first pitch.

During the middle of the seventh inning, the Rangers are scheduled to play a taped version of "God Bless America." At 9:11 p.m., the game will stop for a moment of silence followed by another video tribute.

"I am really inspired by what the fans in New York do during the seventh inning. When they sing "God Bless America," you can hear a pin drop," Rangers manager Jerry Narron said. "This really hit home across America, and it really hit home in New York. I think we have to continue to pay respect to those who died and the real heroes who gave their lives helping others out." On Wednesday, The Ballpark in Arlington paid respect.

Jesse Sanchez covers the Texas Rangers for MLB.com. He can be contacted via email at jsanchez@texasrangers.com..This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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