CHICAGO -- Joe McEwing was part of the Mets when the atrocities of 9/11 took place 18 years ago.
Time has moved forward, but the memories of that horrible day have not faded in the mind of the White Sox bench coach.
“I remember everything vividly,” McEwing said prior to Wednesday’s contest against the Royals. “It’s a day you’ll never forget. Obviously just to see somebody, individuals, with hate, who would put people in jeopardy and take lives, take innocent lives, it hurts. It still does.
“To see the country come together and unite, it shouldn’t take a tragedy for that to happen. It shows you the strength of our country. There were so many people reaching out. It didn’t matter race, color, anything. It was everybody united. That’s a special moment. Like I said, it shouldn’t take something that terrible to bring everybody together.”
The 2001 White Sox were in New York, scheduled to face the Yankees, when two planes were hijacked and flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, causing thousands of senseless deaths. The White Sox remembered the countless people affected by that day on Wednesday with a moment of silence at Guaranteed Rate Field.
McEwing joined his Mets teammates as part of the crew operating out of Shea Stadium, which was used as a sort of relief center.
“They used the stadium, lined the hallways, all the auxiliary locker rooms with cots, so in between their shifts, they could come back and sleep,” McEwing said. “We would pack tractor trailers with supplies.
“We worked six, seven hours a day. We packed the tractor trailers to take them down to Ground Zero to help with water, food, boots, socks all the things necessary for them to be able to work for long periods of time.”
Traveling became a much more heightened, a much more aware experience, immediately after 9/11. To some extent, it still is.
As to whether things have changed since that tragic day, McEwing pointed out everyone’s lives changed on that day.
“A sad day,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “All of us feel for all those that were lost. I don't think we'll ever forget that. And I hope nobody ever forgets. That's my thinking, and what I believe about Sept. 11 is that should never happen to us again on our soil.”
“When you have an open mind and you don’t see any color, any race, and you think about the goodness in every single individual you come across ... that’s how I was raised,” McEwing said. “Your goal is to make everybody’s life around you better. I believe that’s what we are put on this Earth for. The more people we are able to touch and make them better people, the better off we are going to be as a country.”
Renteria backs staff
Renteria believes his entire coaching staff will return for the 2020 season, at least he did on Wednesday with a little more than two weeks left in the 2019 campaign.
“I believe so,” Renteria said. “We haven't had our conversations about anything moving forward, but I believe we will.
“If there is any change coming, you will all know what happens, if it happens. But all our guys do a great job.”
Renteria added this staff works “well together.” He watched a good portion of Tuesday’s victory from his ballpark office after his surgically repaired right rotator cuff began to feel uncomfortable in its sling. Looking in much better condition on Wednesday, Renteria intended to be in the dugout for the evening contest.
Robert capable of handling stardom
There’s no question Luis Robert, ranked as the No. 5 prospect overall by MLB Pipeline, has the ability to become a standout Major League player. The 22-year-old outfielder also has the right mindset, according to White Sox director of player development Chris Getz.
“He's handling it really well,” Getz said. “Some guys are just kind of made for this, and I think he's one of those players. He doesn't shy away from attention. He's not looking for too much attention.
“He lets the game and his performance speak for who he is. He's very comfortable in his own skin and he's a professional, and once he joins our Major League club, he's going to blend in and blend in quickly.”