“It’s hard to describe what I felt,” the former New York Yankee said. “I can still remember it now 10 years later.”
President George W. Bush had arrived at the stadium for the first World Series game in New York since Sept. 11. Just before the president arrived, Greene was told he would be catching the first pitch thrown by Bush.
“It was a weird day,” the Evans High graduate said. “They had the dogs going through the clubs and locker rooms about every hour and then when President Bush landed in the helicopter outside our stadium, they shut everything down and sealed us off in the clubhouse.”
Greene’s wife, who was not aware her husband would be meeting the president, was stuck in traffic after the freeways were shut down during Bush’s visit.
When the president took the field, a “chilling eruption” overtook the stadium.
“I felt like it was a uniting thing for President Bush to be out there saying ‘We’re not going to run; we’re not scared. I’m still going out in public,’ ” Greene said. “ ‘This is our past time and we’re still going to operate as the United States of America.’ ”
It had been about a month and a half since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.
The Yankees were at home and scheduled to play the White Sox that Tuesday evening.
Greene, now a major league scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks, had been in his New Jersey apartment when he heard the news.
The city outside turned into a ghost town.
“It was very quiet and then there were fighter jets flying up and down the river all day,” he said. “It felt like you were in a war zone.”
The Yankees went to work visiting firehouses in the city. After discovering two daughters of a pilot in the plane crash in Pennsylvania were fans of the team, the Yankees invited the girls to the stadium to spend the day with them. The girls discussed with the players their memories of their father bringing them to the stadium to watch baseball games.
Players were doing whatever they could to lift spirits in a city where thousands were grieving.
“We would go get on the ferry to go into the city and we would see literally thousands of missing person signs all in the ferry terminal and on the roads,” he said.
It was more than two months after the attack when Greene visited ground zero, but smoke was still rising from the ashes.
“If you ever had any question about your patriotism or what you felt for your country, I think on (Sept. 11) everything was washed away,” Greene said.