NEW YORK – A group of A’s players who visited the Freedom Tower on Wednesday all came away feeling the emotional impact of the experience.
Sean Doolittle, Ryan Dull, Fernando Rodriguez and Stephen Vogt got a guided tour of the Freedom Tower -- the rebuilt World Trade Center -- which brought back vivid memories for the players of when the original Twin Towers were destroyed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Doolittle’s uncle, John Urban, works in the observatory of the Freedom Tower. Construction on the building began in April 2006 and the tower opened on November 2014. At 1,776 feet, it’s now the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
The players learned about the history of the reconstruction, and Vogt said the impact of the event truly hit home when the players got to go to the top of the building and experience a 360-degree view of New York City.
“I’m kind of speechless about it, to be honest, because it’s just such a vivid memory for me,” Vogt said. “To go and see the memorial pools, and knowing what our country went through. It brought back a lot of memories and a lot of pride in America … that we’re built back up that quickly. It’s incredible.”
Dull got to visit the 9/11 museum, which is separate from the Freedom Tower, on Monday, when the A’s were off.
“There’s one section in the museum where there’s an entire timeline for the whole day,” he said. “Different calls being made, quotes from people on the plane calling their family. It hits everybody, that tough time in history. It’s always going to be engrained in everybody.”
Rodriguez was moved by the experience too, and he said he’s glad he gets to take part in such experiences that force him to break away from the daily baseball routine.
“I had one coach (in Triple-A) who told me not to be ‘a towel-only guy,’” Rodriguez said. “Don’t be the guy where the maid knocks and all you ask for is towels because you’re still laying in bed. No matter how late I go to sleep, I usually get up and go walk around (a city to experience it).”
Infielder Eric Sogard had surgery to remove bone chips from his left knee Wednesday, performed by Dr. James Andrews in Florida. Sogard opened the season on the 15-day disabled list for a neck strain, but he’d been experiencing lingering knee trouble dating back to last season. That injury sidelined him for a couple days during spring training, and he aggravated his knee again while playing minor league rehab games for Single-A Stockton.
Sogard mentioned during the last homestand that knee surgery would sideline him six to eight weeks, but the A’s have yet to announce an expected recovery time.