Van Horne recalls 9/11

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:24 AM ET

For Graeme Lloyd it was a day to forget.

Pitching with a 4-2 lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in the fifth inning the Montreal Expos lefty faced five hitters and didn’t retire a man.

Expos manager Jeff Torborg hooked Lloyd as the Phillies scored six on the way to a 12-4 win over on Sept. 9, 2001.

The Expos headed to Florida and after an off day awoke to news of an attack on New York.

Dave Van Horne, this year’s winner of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented by the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and the voice of the Expos for 32 years, was in his second season broadcasting Marlins games.

His wife, Josee, had left the house early with their daughter Madison for a doctor’s appointment.

Van Horne took us through his day ... now known as 9/11.

It began like most every other day, watching the TODAY show.

Tommy Hutton, Marlins TV analyst, stopped to give Van Horne some extra tickets needed for the Expos series.

With the TV on in the background, Hutton and Van Horne stood talking in the kitchen when they heard the first report that a plane had apparently struck one of the buildings of the World Trade Center.

“Very quickly, NBC had a shot of the smoke billowing from high atop the North Tower, it was an alarming sight of course,” Van Horne remembered of where he was 10 years ago.

“While the hosts were trying to gather facts, get a handle on what we were seeing, Tommy said: ‘I better get home’ and he left. I stood in front of the TV watching in horror as the mornings events unfolded.

“After the second plane hit the South Tower a little after 9, it was becoming more and more difficult to get a grasp on what was happening. I sat, unable to move from the TV set.”

Van Horne watched in shock and disbelief as things got worse and worse.

The report of the airliner that crashed into the Pentagon.

The news of a plane going down in western Pennsylvania.

“I wondered when it would all end, what was next and how could this happen in our country and who had attacked us?” Van Horne said. “It was almost too much handle. I remember feeling sick to my stomach.

“I was speechless, in shock, watching in horror, as the North and South Towers crumbled to the ground. I don’t think I moved away from the TV all day.”

There were phone calls to and from family and friends seeking comfort, an explanation of why?

The Expos-Marlins game was called. Commissioner Bud Selig cancelled all games.

“Our world as we knew it had come to a stop,” Van Horne recalled. “Our lives would change forever and that thought actually crossed my mind several times that day.

“By the time we tried to go to sleep, late that night, it was impossible to get the images of the horrible attack out of our minds. It was difficult to give baseball a thought at that time.”

Briefly

Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t mind asking anyone for their opinion. The Montreal native sat for two innings with former Expo Pete Rose last weekend at Cashman Field in Las Vegas watching the Jays top affiliate. He asked Rose about a couple of players and Rose, who is banned from baseball for betting, gave a thumbs-up to reliever Chad Beck. Beck was added as one of the six call-ups ... Kyle Drabek roomed in a house with Scott Richmond of North Vancouver, Brett Lawrie of Langley, B.C. and Adam Loewen of Surrey, B.C. at Vegas “I almost have a Canadian accent. I’m going to forget how to speak Texican when I go home,” said Drabek jokingly ... Jays say none of their three phone calls to lefty Jake Eliopououlos were returned before the Aug. 15 signing deadline ... Gregg Zaun does an excellent job on Sportsnet, being frank, honest and critical. We can just hear the words from the truck into the ear piece: “Uh, Gregg could you please be a little more positive.” ... When Tampa Bay’s B.J. Upton hits his next homer, he and Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton will become the first brothers in history to have 20-homer, 20-steal seasons. They’ll be the seventh set of siblings with 20 homers each.

AS GOES PEDROIA

The Boston Red Sox arrived in Toronto, 21/2 games back of the New York Yankees, who had just swept the Blue Jays.

Time to make up ground right? Boston left losing three of four.

Dustin Pedroia was 1-for-20 with six strikeouts in the four games, is 1-for-23 in his past five games and is hitting .298 going into the weekend. It’s the first time his average has dipped below .300 since July 25, a span of 45 games.

“He’ll be all right,” said David Ortiz told reporters. “He’s a machine who wants to produce every day. The games have their ups and downs that you have to deal with. Even going through tough times right now, he’s still having a great season. It’s him coming out of one game and getting a few hits and watching him go again.”

COPY AND PASTE STATS

That was not a typo in the box score Wednesday from Cleveland.

The starter’s pitching lines were identical:

Oakland’s Rich Harden: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.

Indians’ Ubaldo Jimenez: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.

Dave Smith of Retrosheet.org said it was only the second time since 1995 that both starters had the same line.

The first time was in Colorado on June 28 when Gavin Floyd of the White Sox and Jason Hammel of the Rockies each pitched seven innings, allowing six hits, two runs, both earned, walking two and striking out zero.

The only other instance since 1980 according to Smith was Aug. 19, 1995, when the Braves’ John Smoltz and the Cardinals’ Donovon Osborne had the same line: Three innings, four hits, four runs, four earned, two walks and three Ks.

WEATHERING STRASBURG'S RETURN

Only 368 days after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Stephen Strasburg made his 2011 debut Tuesday. He had surgery to replace the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow a year ago.

The Washington Nationals right-hander tossed five scoreless against the Dodgers, allowing two hits, walking none and striking out four in his 56-pitch outing. His fastball was clocked at 96-97 m.p.h.

Strasburg did all this despite a cloud of uncertainty leading into his start. With a forecast of 100% rain in D.C., on Tuesday, the Nationals were not going to let him take the mound if there was any chance of a delay or poor field conditions. Somehow, the rain held off and he got in five dry innings.

The forecast produced the smallest crowd Strasburg had pitched in front of in the big leagues. Official paid attendance was 29,092.

STEWART 'THE FUTURE'

Ex-Blue Jays prospect Zach Stewart threw a one-hit shutout over the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.

Stewart, moved by the Blue Jays to acquire Colby Rasmus, took a perfect game into the eighth inning and bounced back from a one-out double by Danny Valencia to get the next five outs. He used his sinker-slider combination to pile up nine strikeouts in the game, throwing 114 pitches to 28 batters.

“He’s the future,” catcher Tyler Flowers told reporters. “Hopefully, we put a run together. But if not, it’s good to have that kind of arm for the next few years.”

HOW TO NOT MAKE THE BOSS LOOK GOOD

First baseman Chris Parmalee called fellow Minnesota Twins call-up centre fielder Joe Benson to ask what he’d wear to Target Field in Minneapolis for their first game.

Paramelee went out and bought a suit. Benson already had one.

Manager Ron Gardenhire saw them and said: “That’s 100 bucks apiece because you just made me look bad in my blue jeans.

“That was their first welcome to the big leagues.”

Benson and Parmalee were drafted in 2006, Parmalee taken with the 20th overall pick, Benson in the second round. They’ve moved up — and down — the system together.

CANUCKS MAKING WAVES

When Adam Loewen of Surrey, B.C., made Blue Jays debut on Wednesday, he became the 26th Canadian to appear in the majors this season.

In other Canadian news ...

Etobicoke’s Joey Votto hitting .317 is trying to become the first Reds players since Hall of Famer Ernie Lombardi to bat .320 or better in three consecutive seasons; Lombardi did it for four straight (1935-38).

The cycle by Markham catcher George Kottaras of the Milwaukee Brewers last week was the first of the season and came 399 days after Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies. Since 1920, the longest period between cycles was 1,027 days between that of Don Mueller in 1954 and Lee Walls in 1957.

Last week, the Red Sox used a left-handed starter in three straight games — Jon Lester, Andrew Miller and Erik Bedard, of Navan, Ont. — for the first time since 1995. the trio of Sox southpaws that year was Vaughn Eshelman, Zane Smith and Rheal Cormier, of Moncton, N.B.


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