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Baseball players found it easier to attend the inauguration because their sport is out of season. Free agent reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who had a seat about 100 yards from the Capitol, said he thought of his grandmother, who died in 2006, as he watched Obama take the oath. He said the sports world paid more attention than usual to Obama's rise because of the high proportion of African-Americans on many teams.
"It has to do with race," Hawkins said. "A lot of African-American people feel now they can relate to someone in the White House, and that somebody in the White House can relate to them. He can understand their struggles. He can understand what it means to be black in the United States."
New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya also had a good view, not far from singer Alicia Keys.
"I hope all kids will look at today and realize how great a country we have," said Minaya, who was appointed this month to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports by outgoing President George W. Bush.
On the other side of the world, tennis star Serena Williams followed preinaugural events on television during the Australian Open, although she felt it probably was wiser to tape the inauguration rather than watch it live at 4 a.m. local time.
"I try to stay politically neutral, don't get involved in worldly matters," said Williams, who doesn't vote because she is a Jehovah's Witness. "For me, because I am black, seeing that happen, I would be blind if I didn't take interest in it."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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