NEW YORK – There were some uneasy moments for Ed Cassin on Saturday night.
The White Sox’ director of team travel was just about to fall asleep when his wife, Julie, called him and asked him if he was watching what was happening on television.
Cassin said that he immediately had an eerie feeling, flashing back to the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when his wife had also called him and told him to turn on the TV.
The Sox were the visiting team in town to play the Yankees when the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers shook the country, and just happened to be in town Saturday, when a car bomb failed to explode in Times Square, not far from the Times Square W Hotel the team was staying in.
“My wife called, I was actually almost falling asleep, and she asked me if I heard anything,” Cassin said Sunday morning. “I said, ‘Yeah, I heard some sirens and everything, but that’s normal for New York City.’ So I turned on CNN and saw what was going on, and it was pretty much how things happened the morning of 9/11. She had called me that morning and told me to turn my TV on, so, yeah, it brought back a few memories.
“It was vaguely reminiscent of that morning on 9/11, but thankfully they caught it and nothing happened.”
Not that Cassin didn’t have some anxious moments.
It was his job on 9/11 to track down the entire traveling party, and make sure that they were not only all accounted for, but also were in a safe place. With the city on lockdown, Cassin then had to figure out how to get that entire traveling party back to Chicago as quickly as possible. He was able to get two buses into the city the morning of Sept. 12, with the Sox taking what former manager Jerry Manuel described as “the quietest bus ride I’ve ever been on.”
So of course with what happened in Times Square Saturday night, Cassin’s mind started racing through scenarios.
“Back on 9/11 it was definitely more difficult because in 2001 not everyone had cell phones,” Cassin said. “That was a lot more calling of rooms and what not. These days would be a lot easier because you would be able to send out a max text to see where everyone is.
“But Major League Baseball has procedures in place and they have resident security agents here in New York, really every city we go to, their local law enforcement guys … those are the ones you first reach out to, and then hotel security.”
Cassin said that he watched the news coverage, assessing the situation with the latest scare.
“I kind of watched the coverage to it and assess what’s going on,” Cassin said. “I was aware they did evacuate some properties. The Marriott Marquis was right near that area, so they evacuated that hotel. It was just kind of keeping an eye on it. I never got to the point where I called anyone. Had it progressed a little more, I probably would have [gathered the team].”
Manager Ozzie Guillen admitted that it was a “scary” situation, but thought it was handled as well as could have been expected.
“I think they handled it really well,” Guillen said. “At 2 o’clock in the morning, I was up watching the news and the Mayor [Bloomberg] come on to talk about it. He looked pretty good for 2 in the morning. They handled it very well. We should feel proud about the people in New York the way they handled it.
“It surprised me how many people were around there when they weren’t supposed to be around there. There were a lot of idiots around there. They didn’t let the police do their job. This morning the hotel apologized for the situation but they handled it very good.”
With all that said, Guillen did say he couldn’t wait to get back to Chicago Sunday night.