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Call from mom puts Guillen at ease

Outfielder's mother, a NYC resident, is fine. But Guillen and Rays remain shaken.

By KEVIN KELLY

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 12, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- She could have been walking near the World Trade Center when commercial jets pierced both towers Tuesday morning.

Jose Guillen didn't know.

"I was so scared," the Rays outfielder said. "You never know where your mom is going to be walking at that time. She might be walking around there. I was just so scared, so nervous that something could've happened to her."

After several attempts to reach his mother, Nobesta Rebrom, who lives in New York City, Guillen got the ring and the answer for which he prayed and pleaded.

"She told me everything was fine," he said, "and that made me relax a little bit."

Guillen, his teammates and coaches spent most of the day watching television after commissioner Bud Selig canceled all scheduled games, including the Rays' game against Boston at Tropicana Field.

"When you go to New York and play and you start walking through downtown to those big buildings, man -- they went down," Guillen said. "Who knows how many people were inside those buildings. You just feel sorry for all those families."

Catcher Toby Hall, like many, awoke to the news.

"It's just amazing," he said. "It's just devastating. It just shows how it affects the whole country to where we're not playing tonight.

"You can't be out there playing a game when thousands of people have died. I think it's the right call."

Said manager Hal McRae: "You always think it can't happen, so I was kind of shocked when I heard about it."

The Red Sox arrived in Tampa at 3 a.m. from New York and were not affected by the FAA's shutdown of air traffic later in the morning.

Many players spent the unexpected off day milling about the Renaissance Vinoy Resort, walking the few blocks to BayWalk for lunch or visiting with family and friends.

"It's a sad day," Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez said as he rocked in a wicker chair on the hotel's front veranda.

It was not clear whether tonight's game will be played. A decision was expected this morning.

When there is a game at Tropicana Field, fans can expect to see more security personnel in the short term.

"We'll have heightened security," said Rick Vaughn, Rays vice president of public relations, "but not to the point where it will interfere."

McRae said he would do what is "appropriate to do" to address the tragedy when he next sees his team.

"We have our daily concerns about winning ballgames, but life is more important than a game," he said. "Although we play to win and hate to lose, the game of life is a much tougher game. There are a lot of people that will have more problems than we can imagine.

"Some people are going to know people that worked there. Some people are probably going to have friends. Some people are going to have family members. There's so many different degrees of involvement. It's tough to say how long it's going to take to get back in the swing of things."

* * *

RAYS TICKETS: The Rays ask that all fans who had tickets to Tuesday's game against the Red Sox hold onto them until Commissioner Bud Selig decides whether all 15 major league games canceled will be made up or not. Fans can call 1-888-FAN-RAYS for updates regarding tickets and the status of tonight's game at Tropicana Field.

BLOOD DRIVE: In an effort to help the many victims of the terrorist attacks Tuesday, the Rays and Florida Blood Services will hold a blood drive starting at 8 a.m. today at Tropicana Field. The FBS bloodmobile will be parked outside of the rotunda at the stadium.

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