When terrorists attacked the Twin Towers on
Sept. 11, 2001 in New York, Valentine was in the middle of the mayhem. Then
the manager of the New York Mets, he immersed himself in the community in an
attempt to aid those around.
There, Valentine made frequent visits to the site of the disaster.
There, he consoled a firehouse in Queens that lost a handful of
firefighters. His actions prompted mayor Rudy Giuliani to present him with the
key to New York City.
These days, the Red Sox manager's heart still aches for the people
affected by the catastrophe.
"I don't know if I can put all that into words,"
Valentine said. "For people who are still healing, who were personally
aggrieved by that tragic event, every day is an anniversary. Every day is
another day that they're reminded that their lives have changed. On an
anniversary, all I can say is I thank all the people who without a doubt gave
more than others."
Despite his reputation as a polarizing figure, Valentine's dedication to New York in the aftermath of Sept. 11 can't be questioned. In the
days after the attacks, he helped load supplies into trucks to help those in
need among other contributions.
When baseball resumed six days after the attacks, Valentine's
Mets provided a brief distraction from the trauma. Catcher Mike Piazza belted a
game-winning home run in the eighth inning of the 4-1 victory over the Pirates
that amped up fans in attendance.
Reflecting on those moments on Tuesday, Valentine believes
baseball aided the healing process.
actually do [think it helped]," Valentine said. "As crazy as it
sounds, I think that it helped."
however, offered the credit to the real heroes — the policemen, the
firefighters and all the volunteers that came to the city's rescue on the heels
of appalling tragedy.
stepped up and did a yeoman's job of filling voids in people's lives, filling
voids in the community in New York and D.C. and Pennsylvania, they filled in
voids in the country," Valentine said. "I'm grateful that I worked
side-by-side with a lot of people who gave a damn. I think they made a little
bit of a difference.
think that we should never forget and I don't think it's going to ever be the
same. All I can say is that I continue to try to do everything that I can, and
I don't think it's enough."