In the days, weeks and months following the
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the world took on a new
awareness. In The Air That September,
Thomas Porky McDonald, a lifelong resident of Queens, New York, gives one man’s
take on how the world he knew was affected by the tragedy, reacted to it and
helped aid in the healing process. As
an individual who did not lose a close friend or loved one on that unfathomable
day, McDonald was blissfully living out the final days of the inaugural season
of the short season, Minor League “A” ball Brooklyn Cyclones, who were on the
verge of winning a memorable championship.
The return of professional baseball in Brooklyn after 44 years, in fact,
had served as the catalyst for a book that was originally to be about a month
long tour of baseball parks near and far, from the lowest level to the very
highest. Then, on the morning of
September 11, planes started falling from the sky.
Beginning with his original vision, McDonald takes
the reader to where the book’s title, which was born a few months earlier,
eventually led him – right back to his New York roots. The Air That September is, as it says
in its opening pages, A New York Story.
The game of baseball, which had always been a very vital part of the
City scene for over a century, serves as a bookending force for the most
destructive single act of terrorism in the world’s history to date. Before 9/11, Minor League baseball, played
in single deck parks in both Brooklyn and Staten Island, had become one of the
stories of the New York Summer. After
9/11, Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium, the two Big City yards that had seen so
many thrills in the past, became the most tangible place where New Yorkers
could come together in large (50,000 plus) numbers as one. In McDonald’s view, the life-lifting
nature of the ballpark helped celebrate and honor the life saving efforts
of so many brave women and men, many of whom lost their lives on 9/11/01.