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TON -- Bobby Valentine stood in front of the Fenway Park mound Tuesday, with families of those who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001, beside him.
Eleven years ago, Valentine was managing the Mets when the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked, and it was his Mets team that played the first game in New York afterward. Emotionally, his club won on a two-run homer in the eighth inning from Mike Piazza, one of the hallmarks of Valentine's tenure in New York.
But what meant the most in the aftermath was Valentine's work in the parking lot just outside Shea Stadium. He and his players poured themselves into the relief effort, packing and loading supplies that went out around the city, including to Ground Zero.
"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."
The Red Sox held a moment of silence before Tuesday night's game against the Yankees, with the Green Monster blanketed by the U.S. flag. The Boston fire department presented the colors, and as they do on Opening Day and the start of the World Series, players from both clubs lined up along the basepaths for the national anthem. Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Valentine shook hands.
For all the criticism of Valentine, he's been a boon to community work in Boston, just as he was in New York.
"People stepped up and did a yeoman's job of filling voids in people's lives, filling voids in the community in New York and DC and Pennsylvania," said Valentine. "They filled in voids in the country. 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. I 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."
The Red Sox also held a blood drive at Fenway Park all morning, in conjunction with the American Red Cross and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
David Ortiz, who's essentially done for the season, spoke of the lasting effects of the terrorist attacks.
"It was tough. It was something that I remember," Ortiz said. "Right when this day is about to show up, you just start going back to those memories. There's people that still 10 years later that are still coming out with things that people haven't heard.
"There's not one human being in this country that wasn't affected by the 9/11 [attacks]. I remember everything that I did that day when it happened."