SBD/September 9, 2011/Sports In Society

Teams, Leagues Plan Tributes On 10th Anniversary Of 9/11 Attacks

Several leagues and teams plan to pay tribute Sunday on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. The NFL is “planning tributes on the field, inside stadiums and during broadcasts of certain games.” The league “plans to synch its pregame salutes during the Sunday afternoon games on CBS and Fox, followed by a special Sunday night presentation from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on NBC” for the Cowboys-Jets game. The pregame events that will be televised nationally also “will be shown on videoboards in each of the stadiums hosting games that day.” The games will feature “a video introduction followed by performances of ‘Taps’ from near the sites of the attacks and moments of silence.” Coaches, players, local first responders and other "heroes will come together to hold field-length American flags for the playing of the National Anthem prior to each game.” Cowboys-Jets “will feature additional pregame and halftime presentations.” Players, coaches and sideline personnel will “wear a special NFL 9/11 ribbon as a patch or pin,” and all stadiums hosting games Sunday “will feature the ribbon logo on the field.” Meanwhile, MLB is “planning a special video message being produced by MLB Productions to play at all stadiums; an on-field moment of remembrance and silence; commemorative base jewels and line-up cards; a 9/11 MLB remembrance logo in-stadium; and the singing of ‘God Bless America’ during the 7th inning stretch” (ADAGE.com, 9/2). MLS will ask fans at its games Friday for a 30-second moment of silence prior to the singing of the national anthem, while all players and referees will wear black armbands featuring the logo of the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan (MLS).

AROUND NEW YORK: The Mets are planning to wear the "hats of first responders and service agencies” for Sunday's game against the Cubs. Several members of the '01 Mets team will be involved in pregame festivities, including Brooklyn-native John Franco throwing the ceremonial first pitch to Mike Piazza. Then-Mets manager Bobby Valentine will participate with Todd Zeile and Robin Ventura in a pregame ceremony (AP, 8/31). The NFL Giants are asking their fans to help create a mosaic honoring the memory of those who lost their lives and helped during the attacks. The team will present the finished artwork to Tuesday’s Children, a non-profit organization providing support and services for the children of 9/11 and others impacted by global terrorism (Giants). YES Network will premiere an hour-long special called “9/11 Remembered” that highlights how New York sports, and the Yankees in particular, played a role in bringing the city together after the tragedy (YES Network). Meanwhile, the Yankees are playing in Anaheim Sunday, and two former FDNY officials, including one "who survived the attacks on the World Trade Center, will be part of a special ceremony" at Angel Stadium (LATIMES.com, 9/8). The Yankees Wednesday held a pregame ceremony with longtime Yankees employee Hank Grazioso throwing out the game's ceremonial first pitch. Both of Grazioso's sons “died at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.” Wounded Warriors from Walter Reed National Military Center and Fort Belvoir in Virginia also were on the field during the pregame ceremony, with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld escorting them (MLB.com, 9/5).

MOTORSPORTS TRIBUTES
: NASCAR will hold a special in-race tribute during Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond Int'l Raceway. The track will observe a moment of silence from laps 9 through 11, and fans attending will wave American flags. ABC’s broadcast of the race will feature a NASCAR Foundation PSA that encourages fans to pay tribute by pledging to perform good deeds, support charitable causes and volunteer in honor of 9/11 victims, survivors and those who served in response to the attacks. Driver Tony Stewart will feature a special “Honoring Our 9/11 Heroes” paint scheme on his No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevy during the race. Meanwhile, NHRA driver John Force unveiled a commemorative 9/11 paint scheme in advance of the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals Sept. 15-18. zMAX Dragway is honoring all first responders with a buy two, get two free ticket offer for the races (THE DAILY).

MEDIA PLANS: ESPN will commemorate the anniversary throughout its coverage Sunday. The net will observe the national moment of silence at 8:46am. “SportsCenter” and “Outside The Lines” will feature a roundtable discussion with Valentine, then-Jets coach Herm Edwards and then-Yankees manager Joe Torre. “Baseball Tonight” will include coverage of pregame ceremonies at Citi Field during the 7:00pm show leading into the Cubs-Mets game on “Sunday Night Baseball” at 8pm (ESPN). Meanwhile, Fox will include several features during its NFL coverage Sunday, including one "narrated by former president George W. Bush" that will air at the beginning to the net's "Fox NFL Sunday" pregame show at 12:00pm (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 9/8).

OTHER TRIBUTES: The Rays during their game against the Red Sox Sunday will have “displays in and around Tropicana Field, on-field ceremonies, a video tribute to the victims and recognition of the Tampa Bay area's first responders.” The first 30,000 fans “will receive a miniature American flag, and the first 10,000 kids 14 and under will receive a Rays Fire Helmet presented by Chili's” (MLB.com, 9/1). The Pirates will collect donations "for the Flight 93 memorial and offer complimentary tickets to emergency personnel.” Volunteers will collect donations “outside all PNC Park entrances” for the Pirates' Sept. 10 and 11 games against the Marlins (POST-GAZETTE.com, 9/2). A 150-pound piece of steel from the World Trade Center South Tower (2) stairwell will be on the field during the Vikings-Chargers game Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium (Chargers). The Univ. of Minnesota is “planning a tribute” during Saturday’s football game against New Mexico State for alum Tom Burnett, one of the passengers of Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania (STARTRIBUNE.com, 9/8).
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