Mark Buehrle was sound asleep at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when his phone rang. It was Kip Wells, one of his teammates on the Chicago White Sox.
“It was 7 or 8 o’clock in the morning, and I remember saying to him, ‘You’re calling me this early? I don’t wake up this early,’ ” Buehrle said. “He said the [World Trade Center was] getting blown up, and I said, ‘Who cares?’ I didn’t even know what the World Trade Center was.”
It didn’t take long for Buehrle and the rest of the White Sox to figure out what had happened. They were huddling in rooms, watching events unfold. By the end of the day, Buehrle was so rattled by the tragedy that it bothers him to this day even being in New York.
“Now, every time I go to New York, I’m not really crazy about it, just because of that,” Buehrle said.
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The pitcher isn’t the only Marlin who was in New York that day. First baseman Carlos Lee was also on the White Sox at the time. Like Buehrle, Lee was asleep when his phone rang.
“One of my teammates, Magglio Ordonez, called me and said the United States was being attacked,” Lee said.
“I said, ‘Whatever. Who’s going to attack the United States, a powerful country?’ ”
Later that day, during a team meeting in the hotel lobby, Lee said orders were given to evacuate the hotel because of a bomb scare.
“While we were in the lobby, somebody said there was a bomb in Grand Central train station, so everybody started running,” Lee said. “They told us to evacuate, so we just started running down the street, just trying to get away from the train station.”
It turned out to be a false alarm.
Major-league games were canceled and, because the New York airports were closed, the White Sox returned to Chicago by bus.
“Once we got on that bus,” Buehrle said, “it was just freedom.”
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