Sports World Pays Tribute


CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cleveland Indians will join Major League Baseball in remembering the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Cleveland Police Department, the Cleveland Fire Department and local E.M.S. crews will take part in a pregame ceremony. They will assist in unfurling the American flag in the shape of the United States. Members of the American Red Cross will be holding red, white and blue stars in the outfield, and the Cleveland Police and Fire Bagpipe Band will perform in centerfield. The 40-piece bagpipe band will also play "Amazing Grace" while the game's first pitch is thrown.

Also, Rootstown Elementary School students will sing "America the Beautiful" and "America Stand Strong," a poem written by one of the Rootstown students that has been turned into a song.

Elsewhere, seven white balloons floated into a gray sky above U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters in one of several ceremonies in the sports world marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

At the complex in Colorado Springs, Colo., about 100 athletes and USOC members surrounded the Olympic flame, which was lit in the morning and will burn for 24 hours.

Flags were at half-staff, and two minutes of silence were observed. The balloons represented the four hijacked jetliners, the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon.

"We, like all Americans, felt the need to do something in remembrance of the heroes and the families that lost loved ones," USOC spokesman Jeff Howard said. "We advocate peace and goodwill and world unity and we just felt the need to just do something."

That feeling spread throughout the country -- and abroad.

At Bucharest, tennis players Adrian Voinea of Romania and Irakli Labadze of Georgia stood on court for a minute of silence before their match in the Romanian Open.

Cyclists in the Tour of Spain observed a moment of silence before Wednesday's fifth stage. The U.S. national anthem played while the flags of the United States, Spain and the European Union were raised -- all marked with black sashes.

All major league baseball games Wednesday night, including the Indians game, were to pause in silence at 9:11 p.m. local time, with videotapes airing in memory of those who died in the attacks. During afternoon games, the moment of silence was scheduled for the seventh-inning stretch.

"I think it's important to play, for the same reason the president said it was important to try to get things back to normal," commissioner Bud Selig said. "It's a sensitive question, and I can see both sides. It's very personal. There's no right or wrong."

The Meadowlands Racetrack and Monmouth Park were closed. The Meadowlands had a thoroughbred and simulcast card scheduled, and Monmouth Park had simulcast racing scheduled. Belmont Park switched its regular off day this week to Wednesday instead of Monday.

In England, Scotland, Germany, Italy and France, a minute of silence was to be observed before soccer games. Players were to wear black armbands in the English Premier League.

Tennis tournaments in Brazil and Uzbekistan also marked the day.

In central England, officials observed silence at the Rockingham Speedway -- site of CART'S Rockingham 500 on Saturday -- beside an oak tree planted in memory of the Sept. 11 victims.

English horse racing held a minute of silence at Doncaster, Epsom and Hereford. All jockeys were to wear black armbands. At Hereford, there was a three-minute ceremony of prayers and silence as the entire day's racing was dedicated to the bond-trading firm Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost two-thirds of its New York employees in the World Trade Center.

Record-holding jump jockey Tony McCoy donated his riding fees and prize money to the Cantor Fitzgerald UK relief fund, which was set up to support families of the 658 Cantor Fitzgerald employees who died.

In English cricket's county championships, players observed a minute of silence before the start of matches.

Even though the NFL does not play Wednesday, the Kansas City Chiefs have their own tribute.

A small replica of a football found among the debris of the World Trade Center will take an honored place in their locker room. The item was found in the debris from the North Tower and bears the Chiefs' logo. Coach Dick Vermeil said a New York police officer found the item while sifting through debris.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)