"I said, 'Yeah, I'm OK, I'm asleep.' He said, "you don't know, do you?" Pettis recalled. "I turn on the TV and I see that the building — smoke's coming out of the building — and they said there had been a plane crash."
Like so many others, Pettis thought maybe it was just a tragic accident before the second plane hit the other tower.
The White Sox were staying in a hotel at Grand Central Station, a little more than three miles from the World Trade Center site. Pettis and the rest of the staff worked to locate everybody with the team, and to get out of the building, with concerns about more potential attacks.
"We were going down the stairs and you hear this rumble, and we're going what the heck is that?" Pettis said. "We just kind of take off running out the doors, and now we see people running out of the train station, and we had no idea what they were running from."
Pettis can't believe it's been 12 years. Before going to the ballpark on Wednesday morning, he turned on his TV knowing what he was going to see.
"It took me a minute to get up and get my day going because I started watching some of the stories and listening to some of the people talk about being there, and then seeing some of the messages that were left for families," he said.
Pirates infielder Clint Barmes remembers exactly where he was and what he was doing 12 years ago. He was only 22 years old in his second season of pro ball, and on the way home after winning the championship with high-A Salem the night before.
"I didn't get a chance to see anything on TV until I got home later that evening. ... Had my car already packed ready to go," Barmes said. "I woke up, jumped in my car and started driving home before I realized exactly what happened.
"There's a lot of things that goes through your mind when something like that happens. It was a scary moment for sure."
To veteran Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, it was a day to remember the terrible images on television, and a pal.
"One of my best friends in college has just been appointed the head of the N.Y. Port Authority. Neil Levin," he said. "So then I'm thinking, 'OK, Neil's pretty cool, he's the boss, he's going to show up late, he's not going to be there early."
"As it turns out he was having breakfast that morning in that restaurant on the top floor. So we lost Neil on that one," he said. "So whenever I hear 9/11, this date ... while I was riding my bike today, seeing the flag at half-mast, I thought of Neil."
Washington star Bryce Harper was just 8 and at home in Las Vegas when the attacks occurred.
"I was in my mom's bed, watching TV. I used to watch 'CHiPs' and 'Saved by the Bell' in those days. Then it came on, all over the news," he said Wednesday. "I was trying to understand it, we were trying to decide whether I should go to school."
"I remember my dad came right home from work. I remember he came in the door and I ran right to him, gave him a big hug and told him, 'I love you.'"
Harper said he and some Washington teammates hoped to visit the National Sept. 11 Memorial plaza in lower Manhattan late Wednesday night, after their game against the Mets, to see the "Tribute in Light."
"We wanted to see the beams," Harper said. "I think it's important."
AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker and AP freelancers Tommy Magelssen in Arlington, Texas, Mark Schmetzer in Cincinnati, Steve Herrick in Cleveland, Rick Eymer in San Francisco and Mark Didtler in St. Petersburg, Fla., contributed to this report.
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