09/07/2002 10:12 pm ET
Vaughn angered by terrorist acts
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Mention September 11th to Mo Vaughn and watch his jaw muscles tighten. Ask him where he was that day and watch his eyes narrow, his hands involuntarily start clenching into fists.
Engage the big first baseman in a discussion about one of the darkest moments in American history and the emotions begin to bubble over, a mixture of anger, hurt and astonishment. A year has passed since that fateful day and the feelings that Vaughn exhibits remain as strong as they were when the news broke that America was under attack.
Vaughn's feelings are not unique. But he brings a different perspective if only because he was not a member of the Mets last season and did not experience first hand what so many of his current teammates experienced in the aftermath of that dreadful day. But Vaughn is an East Coast guy, born in Connecticut, schooled in New Jersey and save for a few seasons in Anaheim, he has played his entire career in the Northeast.
He lives in Tribeca now, a neighborhood that up until last September basked in the shadow of the World Trade Center. Every day he walks out the front door of his apartment building and is reminded of the devastation that was caused that day and the effect it continues to have not only on lower Manhattan but also on the entire world.
"When it happened, I was crazy," said Vaughn, who learned of the tragedy as he was preparing to go the airport in Columbus, Ohio. He was there at his off-season home, rehabbing from arm surgery and readying for a trip to Boston. "All I thought was that this was unbelievable. It's always going to be in your mind. You'll never be able to forget.
"I'm still mad and I want revenge. Whoever had any part in that, I want revenge. I get tired of people saying that America gets itself into things that it shouldn't get itself into. This is the greatest country in the world. Go look and see how people in these Third World countries live. They have the terrorist types of things happen there. We don't have these terrorist things happen here. It's horrible."
The tragedy was sobering for Vaughn for a very specific reason. The Los Angeles-bound airplanes that crashed into the Twin Towers originated from Boston and were the same flights he, his family and his entourage flew back and forth between New England and California. The fact that he or a loved one could have been on either of those planes left the slugger shaken.
"I had my own view about those flights," Vaughn said. "My family took those. The guys that work for me took those. I had my own problems with all of that. No one wanted to fly anymore after that. And I didn't want anyone to fly. Thankfully I didn't lose anyone."
Vaughn spent time in California after the events of Sept. 11 and said the mood of the country was quite different away from the East Coast. The passion and anger that fueled folks from Washington to Boston was clearly missing on the left coast.
"On the East Coast you saw flags everywhere," Vaughn said. "Out in Anaheim you didn't see much of that. It was so far away. It was totally different. People really felt it on the East Coast.
"They [the terrorists] just took away so many things. I see it every day where I live. They took away two of the symbols of New York. That's what they did. That's why it's different here."
Vaughn, like many of his teammates, believes that baseball shouldn't be played this year on Sept. 11. Though he realizes that baseball played such an important role in helping heal the country a year ago, he feels the day should be used as a time to reflect and to show some respect.
"Everyone should be off, not just baseball," he said. "All businesses, everything. No one should work on Sept. 11."
Vaughn leaned back in the chair in front of his locker. His voice once again calm, the anger subsided. He sighed and brought an end to the conversation.
"That's it," he concluded. "That's all I have to say."
Kevin Czerwinski covers the Mets for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.