By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 18, 2001 08:06 AM
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Spurred on by a personal request by President Bush in an effort to start rebuilding morale, baseball resumed Monday night, with stadiums across the country awash in red, white and blue for six majors’ games. Montreal infielder Geoff Blum even dyed his hair red, white and blue. Under heightened security, the fans returned, too, ready to pick up where they left off six days ago, when cheering came easier. Players wore the stars and stripes on their jerseys and caps and “God Bless America” was swapped for “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh-inning stretch. Some teams had asked permission from baseball to wear black armbands. “This is all for New York,” said Mets pitcher John Franco. At every game, reports Reuters, there were signs of what has occurred over the past week: Mets players wore caps bearing the inscriptions NYPD and FDNY; hundreds of St. Louis’s finest marched out to the warning track to honor fallen officers in New York; chants of “USA! USA!” and floods of tears distinguished Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium. Philadelphia manager Larry Bowa broke down and cried during pre-game ceremonies. But it took only three batters for Phillies fans to get back in form: They booed after Atlanta’s Chipper Jones hit a home run. “You realized the healing had started when they booed Chipper,” Bowa said after a 5-2 victory that tightened the NL East race.