Terrorist attacks lead to muted celebrations

Thursday, September 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ The terrorist attacks that shut down the sports world last week muted its celebrations.

The Seattle Mariners decided on a moment of silence on the pitcher's mound instead of a champagne celebration in the clubhouse after clinching the American League West on Wednesday night.

And Roger Clemens was in no mood to celebrate after becoming the first pitcher in major league history with a 20-1 record.

``It just doesn't take on as much meaning as it would have because of the circumstances,'' Clemens said after pitching the New York Yankees to a 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox.

The Mariners clinched the division when Oakland lost 10-4 at Texas, then won two hours later behind Jamie Moyer's career-high 18th win in a 5-0 win over Anaheim.

After the game, the Seattle players gathered at the mound and knelt for a moment of silence to pay tribute to victims of last week's terrorist attacks.

Mark McLemore hoisted an American flag into the air and led his teammates around the base path as others raised their arms in the air and tipped their hats.

``It was just something that came together,'' McLemore said. ``It wasn't choreographed. I don't think I could be any prouder to be an American than I am tonight.''

In other AL games, it was Cleveland 11, Kansas City 3; Detroit 6, Minnesota 2; Tampa Bay 12, Boston 2; and Toronto 4, Baltimore 1.

Oakland's game ended when the Mariners were in the fourth inning. Manager Lou Piniella shook hands with players and offered hugs in the dugout, while others slapped high-fives.

The sellout crowd of 45,459 at Safeco Field gave the Mariners a standing ovation and cheered madly for several minutes when ''2001 AL West champions'' flashed across every scoreboard between the fourth and fifth innings.

After the final out, a banner reading ''2001 A.L. WEST CHAMPIONS'' was unveiled in center field. Streamers shot into the air. Fans waved flags and cheered.

The Mariners didn't spray champagne in a toned-down clubhouse celebration in the wake of last week's events, choosing to sip it quietly instead.

``What happened today, I've never experienced anything like it in baseball,'' Seattle's Edgar Martinez said. ``It just felt emotional. I was just bawling the whole time as we were walking around the field.''

Yankees 6, White Sox 3

Clemens, 39, reached 20 wins for the sixth time in his career and became the oldest 20-game winner in the AL since Early Wynn in 1959.

The Rocket allowed three runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings and struck out a season-low one. It was his first start since Sept. 5, when he beat Toronto and joined Rube Marquard as the only pitchers since 1900 to go 19-1.

``It just doesn't have the same feeling it would have two weeks ago,'' said Clemens, who was hugged by his teammates and got the game ball.

Clemens has won 16 straight decisions, his only loss coming May 20 at Seattle. His career record improved to 280-143, and he is the favorite to win his record sixth Cy Young Award.

Derek Jeter homered twice, including a two-run, go-ahead shot in the fifth, as the visiting Yankees won their sixth straight game.