ATLANTA – On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C., Bally Sports South and Bally Sports Southeast broadcasters share their stories about where they were and what they remember from September 11, 2001.
Chip Caray, Play-by-Play
“I was in Chicago working with the Cubs. My wife told me I needed to turn on the news. There was something strange going on in New York. Just as I turned the TV on, I saw that the second plane had hit the World Trade Center. I looked out of my apartment and saw a line of planes waiting to land at O’Hare. F-15s were flying alongside to make sure none of them got out of line. The streets in Chicago were empty.
A couple of weeks later we went to New York and visited Ground Zero. Seeing that devastation in person was beyond horrific. It was a scary day, obviously, but it was very important that baseball came back when it did. At the first game back in Wrigley, I will never forget Sammy Sosa running out to right field with an American flag in his hand. There was such a great sense of unity, patriotism and pride after that day.”
Kelly Crull, Host/Reporter
"It was my senior year of high school. My three best friends and I had a sleepover to “paint our cords.” It was a perfect night to stay up late working on this project because honor roll seniors had open periods the next morning. Around 9 a.m., Emily came racing downstairs yelling, “Turn on the tv, turn on the tv!” Little did I realize the deadliest foreign assault on American soil was being televised right before my eyes. When we arrived at school that morning, we were shocked to be among the over 100 students locked out of the building and left standing in the parking lot! There was a safety protocol, a Code Red for corporation wide lock down. We entered an hour later and tragic news updates and stories televised in our classrooms all day. No matter how much time passes, we will never forget those who were lost and the day that changed everything.”
Jeff Francoeur, Analyst
“I was in my newspaper class my senior year of high school. It was second period and my teacher turned on the TV, and we ended up seeing the plane fly into the second tower. There were probably 15 people in the class and for at least an hour you could hear a pin drop. That was the biggest thing to happen in our lifetime. Our football game that week was canceled because everyone was trying to put the pieces together. That was all anything anybody talked about for at least the next two weeks at school.
I will never forget the Braves game at Shea Stadium 10 days later and being able to talk to Bobby Cox about that game when I got called up. He said it was the only game he ever managed that he didn’t mind losing. Anybody old enough to remember, remembers that day. I don’t think we’ll ever forget.”
Tom Glavine, Analyst
“I was in Atlanta and was scheduled to pitch that night. My wife came in and told me a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. Like everyone, I was trying to digest what was going on and it just wasn’t an easy thing to do. We had a couple of little guys in school, so shortly after that we went to get the boys from school. I don’t know what word you can use to describe that day. It was unbelievable, such a sad day.”
Brian Jordan, Braves LIVE Analyst
“I was asleep at home in Atlanta and my phone kept vibrating. The message said, ‘turn the TV on.’ I was in disbelief at what was going on. It was a scary moment. The first thing I wanted to do was get my kids out of school. There was a scary waiting period afterward wondering if this was going to happen in other areas. It was a terrorizing time.
When we played in New York against the Mets just 10 days later, there was nervousness about being there. Seeing the site where the World Trade Center once stood was horrific. The game needed to happen to show America that we are strong and can bounce back. Before the game I saw the wife and sons of someone who had lost their life. I didn’t know what that felt like, but I knew at that moment I needed to go and embrace that family. It was a moment I will never forget. It was destiny for the Mets to win that game with Mike Piazza hitting the home run to put them in the lead. I was okay with it and embraced the moment. It was a great night for New York.”
Angel Gray, Play-by-Play
“It’s hard to grasp that it’s been 20 years since that day. I was in middle school in the Atlanta area at the time. We didn’t get to watch the morning news like we usually did. We were hearing that students were being checked out. Something had to be wrong, we just didn’t know what. As soon as my mother checked me and my siblings out of school, we learned of the horrific moments that had occurred. Like most, I was scared, confused and heartbroken for those were involved. That day will always be used as a moment of reflection. That sting, I don’t think, will ever go away.”
Tabitha Turner, Analyst
“I was in ninth grade band class when my director rolled over and turned on the old school TV-on-a-rolling cart in front of the class. He asked us to stop everything we were doing and watch the breaking news. I didn’t realize what I was looking at as the towers fell before my eyes. But I DID know it was serious. I couldn’t believe people were leaping out of windows. We all knew at that moment our world would never be the same.”
Bob Rathbun, Play-by-Play
“I was at the gym in Atlanta, ending a workout, when I glanced at the TV and saw what was happening. Those days, I was calling the Braves games for us (in addition to the Hawks) and I remember telling our producer, ‘there is no way we are playing baseball anytime soon.’ Our next game would be in Philadelphia. I remember getting on that flight—it was basically empty—and recalling just how spooky it was. Not a word was spoken by anyone the entire flight.
Later that year, the Hawks team took a trip to Ground Zero. Another solemn moment. Not a word was said as we filed off the bus and stared into an enormous hole as rescue workers unearthed the damage. It looked like a Hollywood set. For anyone who lived it, these memories will never fade.”
Renee Montgomery, Hawks LIVE Analyst
“I was a freshman at Capital High School in West Virginia. I had been dropped off that morning, still excited about starting a new school year at a new school. Early in the school day there was an announcement that we would be put in groups for a shelter in place. We began to see the scary news clips and pictures from New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. Students who lived near the school began to get permission to leave school and go home. I wasn’t able to reach my mom until lunch because she was conducting a testing session that morning and didn’t know what was going on. She assured me that I would be OK and was coming to get me. It was a day I will never forget.”
Dominique Wilkins, Analyst
“I was supposed to catch a flight from Orlando to Boston that morning, but missed my flight. I was watching the news afterward and it was like something out of a movie when I saw the second plane hit the other tower. I knew at that moment it wasn’t an accident, it was a terrorist attack. It blew me away. It was a scary moment.”
Kevin Egan, Play-by-Play
“I was 16 years old and in high school in Ireland. We had just finished our one-hour lunch break, where most of us stayed at school to play soccer in the yard. I’ll never forget how the mood switched once we returned to the classroom. A couple of friends went home for lunch and they came back talking about the first plane crashing. When my teacher told us there was a second crash, fear took over. For us in Ireland, New York was always seen as this untouchable beacon of opportunity and hope - a destination for dreamers, not terrorists.”
Jillian Sakovits, Host/Reporter
“I was in Spanish class in my hometown of Millbrook, NY. Our teacher let us know the World Trade Center had been hit by airplanes. I remember asking why didn't they fly to an empty space or field? The concept of a terror attack was completely foreign and impossible to understand for us all. The whispers and panic started amongst kids, whose parents, neighbors or family worked in the city. We went through the entire school day confused and trying to piece together what was unraveling 80 miles south. I have two uncles that fled downtown that day on foot amongst thousands. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and the people who continue to live life with 9/11 related illnesses.”
Abby Labar, Host/Reporter
“It might be the earliest memory I vividly remember from being a kid. I was in first grade in Charlotte, but even at that age, I'll never forget the fear I felt witnessing the emotions around me. Our teacher turned on the news and one by one, each kid was being called out of class for early dismissal. I didn't know if or when my name might be called because my dad traveled for work. He was on a plane almost every week. I was terrified as we watched it all unfold, hoping my dad was safe at home. I was able to call my mom from the school and she confirmed my dad was safe. Each year I am reminded of that feeling, but there were thousands of families who never received a phone call of relief. We mourn with those families, share our love and support and honor the heroes who sacrificed their lives for us.”
Mike Maniscalco, Play-by-Play
“I was the afternoon host for SportsRadio 910 in Richmond, Virginia, and I was at home when the phone rang. My now wife was already at work and called me to ask if I was watching the news because a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers. It seemed like it was just a few minutes later that the second plane hit the other tower. I was witnessing, for the first time in my life, the United States was truly under attack. The feeling for me can’t be summed up in simple terms. It was more a shock of ‘how could something like this be happening?!’ It’s still a moment that I won’t ever forget.”
Tripp Tracy, Analyst
"I was riding the bike at a gym in Raleigh and saw the devastation on the TV screen. I got a call from a Harvard college hockey teammate of mine who was working near the World Trade Center at the time. I remember shortly after flying with the Hurricanes to Training Camp in Fort Myers/ Naples, Florida. I was grateful that we were all together at such an unimaginable time. Jim Rutherford, our General Manager, delivered very meaningful remarks to all of us when we arrived in Florida.”
Shane Willis, Hurricanes LIVE Analyst
“I walked into the Canes locker room with some of my teammates after the first tower had been hit. The players were supposed to leave that day for Ft. Myers for training camp. We stood in the locker room discussing what was happening. It was a feeling of shock and uncertainty. I remember making several calls to loved ones that day to check on them and make sure everyone was home and safe. I’ll remember this day for so many different reasons of terror, sadness, heroism, patriotism, and a country’s drive to overcome.”
Ashley ShahAhmadi, Host/Reporter
“I was in fourth grade and I remember our teacher crying, but she wouldn’t tell us why. She said it would be best if we found out from our parents. We were sent home early that day and I remember coming home to my mom staring in shock at the TV. She started explaining to my brother and me what was happening. It was absolutely devastating. Years later, the 9/11 memorial in New York is one of the most powerful things I’ve ever experienced.”
Rob Fischer, Host/Reporter
“I was in St. Louis and on my way to golf with a friend when the first tower was hit. I pulled up to my friend’s house when the second tower was hit, and we knew it was something bigger than we could ever imagine. We canceled golf and were glued to the television for the next 12 hours watching our country under attack like we had never seen before. It was terrifying and heartbreaking. To this day I can remember virtually every second of that day. Every year on Sept. 11, I still reach out to the friends I was with that day. It’s a day we shared that we’ll never forget.”
Brevin Knight, Analyst
“That day was such a blur for me because I was separated from my family: I was in Memphis and they were in Charlotte. My concern was just to make sure they were safe and how could I get to them. After finding out what was happening, I immediately checked on my family in New Jersey, only to find out my aunt was working in the city at the Verizon building when this happened. There were tense moments for a while because no one had heard from her. We didn’t know she was ok until she got to my grandparent’s house that evening covered in ash. She witnessed some horrific actions such as people jumping from windows. It was the scariest day of my life!”
Pete Pranica, Play-by-Play
“I was with the Portland Trail Blazers at the time, so with the three-hour time difference, I woke up after both towers had been hit. I remember reading an online headline that there had been a collapse at the World Trade Center. At first, I thought a floor had collapsed, not a whole building. My then-wife and I watched it all unfold with a sick feeling in our stomachs. We were both news junkies but finally got to a point where we had to turn it off. Later that week we gathered with some friends just to talk and vent and grieve. That November, the Blazers were playing in New York and I visited one of the firehouses in Manhattan that was covered in cards, flowers and letters of thanks to the first responders. It was heartbreaking to read the raw emotion poured out in those notes.”
Willy Daunic, Play-by-Play
“I was getting ready for my afternoon sports talk show that afternoon when I was notified by our neighbor to turn my TV on. My wife Erin and I watched the coverage throughout the day. A personal concern was for my brother Rhys, who lived in Brooklyn. As it turned out, he had actually taken the subway from Brooklyn to East Harlem to teach a PE class, going underneath the World Trade Center that morning before everything started. He ended up walking all the way back down through Manhattan to Brooklyn with thousands of people. Many were covered in dust. There was a great sense of looking out for one another-- making sure people were safe, had water, etc. Rhys even pushed along a man in a wheelchair for several blocks as they made their way home. Eventually he was able to touch base with our family via email after several hours. We all broke down with all kinds of emotions at that point.
Days later, I learned through former Vanderbilt baseball players that we had lost a teammate - Mark Hindy, a New York native who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center. We all still think of him often. Reflecting back twenty years to that time, there are so many thoughts and emotions that are difficult to put into words: sadness, courage, loss, resilience, grief. We will always remember.”
Lyndsay Rowley, Predators LIVE Host
“I was in the eighth grade. Students were talking about airplanes crashing in New York. My grandmother took tour groups to New York City at the time so that was the first thing to cross my mind. As it turns out, she was not there at the time. I remember being in gym class when my parents came to pick me up and explaining what was going on.
Words can’t explain the compassion I feel for those who lost loved ones through the tragic events that occurred. When I think of what a hero is, I think of the men and women who made sacrifices and showed such bravery on that day 20 years ago.”