CINCINNATI -- Matt Belisle saw the American flag affixed on his cap Sunday morning and paused for a moment.
"What's today?" he asked a few teammates.
"9/11," they quickly informed him.
A tad embarrassed, Belisle, hardly insensitive to the tragedy, regretted not immediately noticing the date.
Sometimes, though, that's life in the world of baseball.
"All the days start to run together," Belisle said. "But when I saw the flag, I knew it was important."
Seeing that flag was a reminder to Reds players of the lives that were lost and the way the nation was permanently changed on that traumatic Tuesday. Further reminders came when the anniversary was noted during pregame ceremonies and during the seventh-inning singing of "God Bless America" on Sunday.
The date had several members of the team reflecting on where they were when they first heard four planes hijacked by terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.
"I was playing for Colorado, and we were in Arizona," Jacob Cruz said. "I was just getting up, and one of my family members called me and told me what was happening. I remember just feeling shock. I still remember that eerie feeling."
Cruz and the Rockies were stuck in Phoenix for several days.
"We weren't allowed to fly back," he remembered. "I think every team in Major League Baseball was kind of stranded."
Jerry Narron remembered what that was like. His Rangers club, scheduled to play Oakland, was marooned in San Francisco, at the Westin St. Francis Hotel.
"Being stuck on the road and not being able to see your family made it a difficult couple of days," Narron recalled.
The Rangers boarded three buses that were set to take them on the long, long journey back to Dallas.
"We were looking at a 30-something-hour bus trip," Narron recalled. "But not one guy complained."
Just a couple hours into the trip, though, the club was able to arrange a flight out of Bakersfield, Calif.
"We were one of the first flights in the air," Narron said.
Life is back to normal -- or, at least, some semblance of normal -- these days. Today, the devastating disaster of Hurricane Katrina dominates the headlines, and 9/11 is almost an afterthought to the general public.
Todd Coffey doesn't think it should be that way.
"I think people have forgotten what happened," Coffey said. "I think we should show the footage every single day to let people know what al-Qaeda did, and why we've got people over there [in Afghanistan and Iraq] to protect people here. The fact that we're over there is because of what happened on 9/11, so I think they should show it on TV, every single day."
Cruz said he saw the footage of the attacks on the World Trade Center on TV just the other day.
"My wife and I were watching an HBO special on it," he said. "And it's still jaw-dropping to see what those people had to go through. It's something that's unexplainable."
And though the days tend to mesh together in this sport, it's something worth reflecting on.