Postponements continue in wake of attack

Updated: September 12, 2001, 1:55 PM ET
By Tom Farrey | ESPN.com

Like the rest of the country, the sports world was thrown in a state of uncertainty and fear with the apparent terrorist attacks against the United States.

The tragedies forced the postponements of games Tuesday night and Wednesday, into the weekend and perhaps for days or even weeks, as leagues and teams scramble to evaluate the risks to fans and players attending those venues.

Major League Baseball postponed its entire schedule of 15 games for the second straight day Wednesday. All of Thursday's schedule was postponed as well. On Tuesday, baseball postponed a full schedule of regular-season games for the first time since D-Day in 1944.

Baseball has not addressed when play will resume, or if the postponed games from Tuesday through Thursday will be made up.

However, a major-league general manager told ESPN's Peter Gammons that baseball's tentative plan is to resume Friday and that all the postponed games will be made up at the end of the regular season.

That would push back the start of the playoffs from Tuesday, Oct. 2, to the weekend.

"Given the continuing national horror and the many significant challenges faced by our government, our cities and our citizens, I believe it is appropriate to postponed all Major League Baseball games for Wednesday," Selig said in a statement. "I will continue to monitor the situation daily as to all remaining games."

Baseball hadn't postponed more than one straight day of games since cutting the 1918 season short by almost a month because of World War I.

The White Sox, whose three-game series against the Yankees was postponed, left New York early Wednesday morning, taking a bus to Cleveland.

The New York Mets, who were staying in a hotel across the street from the William S. Moorhead Federal Building in Pittsburgh, moved to the suburbs after their general manager consulted with baseball's security chief.

Selig issued a statement Tuesday shortly after the attacks: "In the interest of security and out of a sense of deep mourning for the national tragedy that has occurred today, all Major League Baseball games for today have been cancelled. I will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and make ongoing decisions accordingly.

"My deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the families and victims of this horrendous series of events."

The NFL was mulling whether to postpone this weekend's schedule.

"Regarding Sunday's games, we will make no decision today," league spokesman Joe Browne said. "We'll gather information and speak to several parties within the next 24 to 48 hours."

The NFL is putting out word to teams that no decision on this weekend's games will be made for at least 48 hours, unless information comes earlier making it easier to render a decision.

The Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins closed their offices following a request in the Washington, D.C., area to cut back on phone activity.

Games are scheduled Sunday in New York, Washington, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, sites either where or close to where Tuesday morning's tragedies occurred. Team executives seem to have different feelings about what to do next.

Two airplanes, apparently hijacked, crashed into the World Trade Center around 9 a.m. ET. Both towers of the WTC eventually collapsed.

Two other planes were also reportedly hijacked. One of the planes that went down was 80 miles outside Pittsburgh.

Another reported crashed into the Pentagon.

Also:

  • The PGA Tour announced that Thursday's first round of the World Golf Championship -- American Express Championship in St. Louis -- has been postponed. The tournament now will be 36 holes on Friday and 18 holes on Saturday and 18 holes on Sunday. The Tampa Bay Classic won't play on Thursday, but will resume with 18 holes on Friday, 18 holes on Saturday, followed by 36 holes on Sunday. At the Buy.com Oregon Classic, there will be no play on Thursday, 18 holes on Friday, 18 holes on Saturday and 36 holes on Sunday.

    "We will continue to monitor this situation and make any further adjustments to our tournament schedules that appear to be appropriate or necessary," said Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.

  • The decision to play college football games this week, beginning with games Thursday, is expected to be made Wednesday in a conference call with the 10 NCAA Division I football conference commissioners. Thursday's Penn State-Virginia game has already been postponed, as has the Ohio-North Carolina State game. San Diego State and Ohio State postponed their Saturday game until Oct. 20

    Conference commissioners all agreed Tuesday to hold emergency Wednesday morning teleconferences with their respective athletic directors after potentially the worst-ever terrorist attacks on the United States earlier Tuesday in New York and Washington D.C.

    The conference commissioners will then conduct a conference call Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET to discuss the games after briefing with their member schools.

    "There are travel considerations for those teams and a lot of situations to consider, especially large gatherings but its still too early for a final decision," ACC spokesperson Brian Morrison said.

    Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, told ESPN.com that his organization is taking the position that if any game is cancelled this weekend, they all should be cancelled.

    "Whatever decision is made (by the NCAA, conferences and schools), it has to be unified," he said. "None of the coaches I've talked to are of the mind that we must play or not play."

    "We urge schools to make sound decisions about proceeding with contests today and in the coming days," Dempsey said.

    Meanwhile, the ACC already postponed four games: a soccer match at Florida State against Miami (Fla.), a Charleston Southern at Wake Forest soccer match, a home Florida State volleyball match and a Virginia at Georgetown volleyball match, which was postponed by Georgetown.

  • The U.S. national women's soccer game against Japan in the Nike Cup, scheduled to held in Chicago on Tuesday, has also reportedly been cancelled.

  • Major League Soccer postponed four games scheduled for Wednesday.

  • NASCAR has officially canceled qualifying for the New Hampshire 300, but the race itself is still on this Sunday.

    "We are monitoring the situation closely and are in touch with the Bahre family (track owners) at New Hampshire International Speedway, and will keep everyone abreast of any developments," NASCAR said in a release.

    NASCAR also temporarily postponed adding any new editorial content to its official Web site, NASCAR.com, out of respect and mourning for the victims of Tuesday's carnage.

    At least one race team that was taking part in a two-day testing session at the new Kansas Speedway -- the No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac driven by Johnny Benson -- canceled its second day of testing due to the tragic events of Tuesday morning.

    What's more, with the Federal Aviation Administration putting a complete halt on all domestic takeoffs for an indefinite period of time, Benson and other team members elected to make the roughly 700-mile drive back to Charlotte, N.C., in automobiles.

  • All minor-league baseball playoff games were postponed Tuesday and Wednesday. Playoff games were scheduled for Tuesday night in nine leagues: International; Pacific Coast; Eastern; Southern; Texas; California; Florida State; Midwest; and South Atlantic.

  • The governing body of European soccer said this week's games will take place as scheduled despite the terrorist attacks on U.S. targets.

    The league offices for Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NFL and NHL are not located in the same part of Manhattan as the World Trade Centers.

    Complicating matters for Major League Baseball, nine teams had off days on Monday, so many players remain at their homes away from the cities where they play. Nationwide, airports were shut down shortly after the attacks, and many players live beyond a short driving distance from their teams.

    The events also may have an impact on the some of the biggest stories in sports this year. Barry Bonds is on pace to break the record for single-season home runs, for instance.

    ESPN's Chris Mortensen, ESPN.com baseball editor David Schoenfield, motor sports writer Jerry Bonkowski, college basketball writer Andy Katz, the Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report

    Tom Farrey | email

    Writer, Reporter
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