In the immediate wake of 9/11 America was looking for something that would unite them, to make them feel whole again. No one wanted to give in to terrorists, and when the New York Yankees learned that President Bush was coming to game 3 of the World Series, they knew that it would be a special night.
New York City had become the most heavily guarded city on the planet. 9/11 changed how we experienced public events for the rest of our lives.
Getting into Yankee stadium took longer because everyone was getting patted down and wanded.
Bomb sniffing dogs were now the norm as well in the locker rooms.
President Bush arrives onboard Marine One.
He walks the tarmac already warming his pitching arm up.
World Series Umpire, Jim Joyce, shares what it was like for him,
“As we walked into the locker room there was a gentleman standing there we had never seen before. He says, ‘President Bush is going to come, and he’s going to throw out the first pitch, and we need a Secret Service agent on the field. And so I’m going to dress as an umpire.”
“He had communications he had guns. He had things hooked on the back. He had things hooked on the front. I said, ‘How’re you gonna hide all that stuff?’ ‘Don’t worry it’ll disappear.'”
All of a sudden there was a knock at the door, and President Bush walked in the room. There he stood the leader of the free world. The man, America was looking to for guidance and leadership to rally a nation, and point them in the right direction.
Bush has always been great at conversation and making people feel at ease. He joked around with the team in the locker room signing baseballs for everyone.
President Bush admitted it was first World Series, and that he vowed he would never go unless the Rangers were playing. “I changed that vow.”
“I wanted to make sure if I was going to throw out the ball I was able to do so with a little zip!”
“I didn’t want people to think their President was incapable of finding the plate.”
President Bush was fitted with a bullet proof vest.
Derek Jeter came over to meet the President, and to give him a few pointers.
Derek Jeter recalls,
“I asked him if he was going to be throwing the first pitch from the mound or in front of the mound?”
Jeter told President Bush that he should really throw from the mound. “Otherwise you’re gonna get booed. This is Yankee stadium.”
He gave the President one last piece of advice, “Don’t bounce it, or they’ll boo ya.”
The time had come for President Bush to step into roll of Commander in Chief and take the field.
“I never felt what I felt before when I walked out of that dugout.”
“I felt the raw emotion of Yankee fans.”
The crowd erupted in an overwhelming chant of “USA! USA!” All of the pent up emotion Americans everywhere had been harboring was released in one moment.
It was a rare moment in time where everyone willingly laid down political differences and united behind one man, and became countrymen and brothers.
Mark Grace, Diamondbacks first baseman shares what he remembers watching that moment unfold.
“President Bush is standing out there like a brick wall. I’m not afraid of terrorists. I’m gonna stand all out here, and I’m gonna give you a thumbs up, and I’m gonna throw a strike.”
“My personal feelings about him as a politician was gone,” says author, David Fisher.
Watch the full video below.
God bless America!