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By Samantha Carr
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Even during America’s darkest days, baseball provides a little light.
On Friday, Sept. 11, newlyweds Jason and Jody Seigel visited the Baseball Hall of Fame as part of their honeymoon. The date could not have been more significant for Jason.
During their visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Seigels were wearing shirts to honor victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
“We try to wear these shirts once a year on this date to remember what happened on 9-11. For me, it always feels like I got a second chance at life that day. I lost about 23 friends in those attacks,” said Jason.
Back in 2001, Jason was asked to be the best man at a friend’s wedding. He was living in North Carolina at the time, and planned to travel to the New Jersey area for the wedding. As a Mets fan, Seigel thought it would be fun to catch a ballgame with his friend – who is a Phillies fan – as a bachelor party-type celebration of the wedding.
“We decided the two of us would go to the Labor Day game between the Phillies and the Mets (in Philadelphia),” said Seigel.
Despite having seats just a few rows from the third base line, Jason’s friend had to miss the game due to a scheduling conflict.
“So without hesitating, I thought of all the games my dad took me to as a child and decided it was time to pay my dad back with a trip to the ballpark,” said Seigel.
On Sept. 3, 2001, Jason and his dad watched as the Mets beat the Phillies 10-7.
“We had a great day, we spoke to each other as two adults do, talking not only as father and son, but also as two dads. We discussed our jobs, our marriages and we drank in every moment of the close game.”
During the game, Seigel found out from work that he’d be back up north in a week for a business meeting in New York City. His dad suggested instead of making two trips to try and hold the meeting a week early and save himself the time.
“The baseball game we watched had made me feel very close to my dad, and put me back in a place I used to be as a child – taking advice from him as if he could do no wrong by giving it,” said Seigel.
Seigel took the advice and arranged plans with his boss to hold the client meetings the following day – Tuesday, Sept. 4.
“So you see, if I had not gone to the game with my father, and took his advice, I would have been in (World Trade Center) Tower One at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, and not a week earlier on Sept. 4.”
Jason will never forget how baseball saved his life.
“For me, baseball was always an island of peace when I was growing up. I’d go to the game with my dad and we’d just talk about baseball, not about school or what I might have done wrong that day. Just baseball. It is still an island of peace for me.”
Samantha Carr is media relations coordinator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.