(BaseballStL) -- 12 years ago today Mike Matheny was having one heck of a morning. He and legendary player/announcer/comedian Bob Uecker were out on Lake Michigan fishing.
Matheny, then just a few days from turning 30, was finishing his second season with the Cardinals. The Cards were set to play the Brewers that evening, and the catcher had a nice four-game hit streak going.
When American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center just after 8:45, Matheny and Uecker found out via VHF.
"We got word over marine radio that something had happened in New York City," he said. "We turned on the radio and caught the second plane and realized that something wasn't right."
The two listened as the world watched, and the towers fell. Uecker was contacted by the Brewers and told there would be no game.
Both men went back to their organizations and regrouped. In the coming days, Major League Baseball worked on a plan for how to proceed.
"I thought the league did a terrific job of giving a little time first and then using baseball as a way to rally," Matheny said.
In the following days and weeks, baseball proved to be a unifying presence for the country. As organizations gathered in support, Americans turned to the national pastime for a sense of normalcy.
"It was an eye opener to how much was being put on baseball to help do that," Matheny said. "You saw the patriotism, you saw people very proud of the fact they're American."
12 years later, as baseball pauses all over the country to remember those lost in the attacks, the Cardinals are once again playing the Brewers on September 11.
Matheny is now a manager, having made a lasting career out of the game he loves. A game, he said, he was proud to be a part of with the country needed it most.
"You think this is just a game sometimes and it's so much more than that to a lot of people in this country," he said. "It was special to be part of the healing process."