Saturday, September 22, 2001

KFWB radio reporting for Saturday, September 22nd, 2001

That the fans actually sang along with the National Anthem at Shea Stadium here last night was such a shock to performer Mark Anthony that it threw him from his rhythm. That has not happened at a New York baseball game since the 1970's.

That New Yorkers are serious about continuing their life as well as their lives was indicated by the Mets' expectation that 30,000 might attend, compared with the actual crowd: 41,235.

That baseball, or any other entertainment, or any other public assembly, serves as defiant notice to terror, was clear, when ex-Dodger Mike Piazza hit a dramatic eighth inning home run to give the Mets a vital victory in the pennant race and after the game ended, thousands of fans refused to leave the stadium.

That there is still anxiety here, and yet also, still humor, was shown when a bomb-sniffing dog swept through the Mets' dugout hours before the game. With her back to her handler and six camera crews, she stopped. Breaths were held. That's when the handler noticed she'd found... a puddle, and was enjoying a drink of water.

Metaphor enough for the meaning of last night's first large-scale public gathering in this city since the attack on the World Trade Center.

David and Carlo

David Laub says people keep asking him to compare Ground Zero at the World Trade Center to a major earthquake. He says there's no comparison: he's seen both, and there's more damage here, in a small area, than any earthquake could do in an entire community. You and I will have to take his word for it.

David Laub, and his friend Carlo Loffredo, are L.A. County firefighters, here in New York to lend whatever help they can. They paid their own way. Carlo, from Burbank, got the first flight that left for New York a week ago this morning. He was very proud of that, he said, until he got here and found two other Southland firemen already at the Trade Center. They'd ridden the bus. It took three days.

Laub said his first day, he worked 23 hours straight at the site: more manual labor than true firefighting. "But it's therapeutic," he added. "I couldn't stand there and not do something."

Their t-shirts, with "L.A. County Fire" over the heart, were an odd site. We were on the subway coming back from the Mets' game. Four out-of-town firefighters had gone when the gate-keepers realized who they were, all four were admitted even though they only had three tickets. "Typical," said Carlo. "We've been treated like kings," said David. "I still can't used to it. It's like we're heroes or something."

No "something" about it. Not to the people here.