After bin Laden's death, Betances recalls 9/11
Because of the maelstrom that shrouded the rest of that day, bus service to and from school was halted, and Betances had to walk home with his family. From his route back to his home on the Lower East Side, he could see the billows coming from the wreckage where the twin towers were smoldering.
“You could definitely see the smoke. It was kind of hard to breathe a little bit. I mean, it wasn’t too far from where I lived. It was probably like 3 to 5 miles away, so it’s not too far away.”
When news broke late last night that bin Laden was dead, Betances was on his way back from New York with teammates Jose Pirela and Melky Mesa. A girlfriend sent him the news via text message.
Like most throughout the country, New Yorkers or otherwise, there was a mix of emotions when it was finally confirmed that Navy SEALs had taken out bin Laden in a brief firefight in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The foremost feeling was relief but, just like that day nearly a decade ago, it was tinged with an anxious anticipation about what would come next.
“It was just one of things, like, finally. You still don’t know. Hopefully nothing bad happens now, but they definitely got the top guy. It’s something that’s good for the U.S. It’s something that people are proud of the people that got to him.”
Betances is the only New Yorker in the Thunder clubhouse, but he was far from the only one affected by Sunday’s events and the War on Terror as a whole.
Catcher Austin Romine lost his cousin and best friend Jordan Stanton in combat operations in Afghanistan. The story was written recently by Jack Curry of the YES Network, and Romine declined yesterday to rehash the events with reporters.
While his killing obviously brings to an end bin Laden’s reign, whether it brings closure is an issue on which Betances remains uncertain.
“I hope so. I hope nothing bad happens now, but it’s just one of those things that you’ve got to always be careful. Hopefully there’s nothing wrong, and there’s no terrorist attacks in our near future.”
NOTES: Reliever Naoya Okamoto was placed on the disabled list yesterday with an undisclosed injury. He was replaced on the roster by left-hander Wilkins Arias, who had been on the shelf. … Because of bin Laden’s death, the Thunder changed their pregame routing just a little. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited, and on-field members of the team’s staff wore patriotic jerseys normally reserved for Fourth of July games.