09/16/01 6:00 PM ET
Yankees show support with Manhattan visit
Torre's troops visit victims, rescue workers at Trade Center
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- During the Yankees' visit to downtown Manhattan on Saturday, Bernie Williams was left speechless by the sights he saw. While at the Armory, where hundreds of families await word of their missing loved ones, Williams had a moment he is likely to never forget.
"There was this lady, I never even got her name, but she was introduced to me by a paramedic," Williams said. "She had a look on her face of total devastation, and what can you say to a person like that? The only thing I could come up with was 'I think you need a hug.' I hugged her and she started crying. It was very emotional, and something I'll never forget."
Williams was one of a dozen or so Yankees players and coaches to caravan around the city, stopping at the rescue staging area at the Javits Center, the Armory and St. Vincent's Hospital.
"I hope it made a difference," said Scott Brosius. "You could say hello, shake someone's hand, take a picture with them, and just for a moment, get a smile from them. I know it was good for us to go down there, I hope it was good for them also. I hope we were able to lift their spirits for a few moments."
The Yankees piled into vans after their workout on Saturday, heading into Manhattan just five days after the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center, leaving more than 5,000 people missing.
"It was tough, but we had an opportunity to talk to a lot of people and make them smile, which is a good thing," said Derek Jeter. "It really makes it hit home even more, because though you realize how bad it is, you meet with all of the firemen, rescue workers and volunteers, then you go to the Armory and see the families grieving over the people they lost, it really hits you."
At the Javits Center, players were able to show their support for the firefighters and rescue workers who continue to look for survivors.
"You could see they looked tired," Brosius said. "But you could also see that they were in pretty good spirits as far as continuing their work, doing what they had to do."
According to Manager Joe Torre, one injured rescue worker at the hospital even attempted to bring himself a little luck, following one of Jeter's superstitions.
"Someone said to Don Zimmer, 'Come here, I want to rub your head, like Jeter does, for good luck,'" Torre said.
Every Yankee who went on Saturday said that the Armory was the most difficult place to visit, as Torre admitted that they were unsure whether it was even appropriate to visit a place occupied by grieving families.
"We had some hesitancy about going into the Armory, wondering if it was going to be of any benefit. We proceeded slowly, and the longer we were in there, the more confident we became," Torre said. "It was heart-wrenching, no question about that. When we walked in, we didn't know how we would be received, but when we left, we knew it was a very important stop for us."
"That was probably the most difficult of all the stops," Brosius said. "What do you say to the people? More than anything else, you just lend an ear and lend your support. At this point, it's not about being a ballplayer, it's about being one human giving support to another."
"It was good for us to go there, because people were happy to see us there," Williams said. "If it was able to lift them a little bit, I'm glad that I did it. We didn't want to be a distraction, but in my mind, I think we did some good."
Mark Feinsand is the site reporter for Yankees.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.