The Angels' 39-year-old reliever was in Dearborn, Mich., staying at a hotel while his Twins played a series against the nearby Tigers, when his wife woke him up with an early morning phone call to tell him the country was being attacked. Hawkins turned on the TV just as the second plane crashed into the World Trade Center.
"I told her, 'That's fake, that's not real,' " Hawkins said. "But it was real."
During the seventh-inning stretch, the Twins used to play Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." And ever since witnessing what took place on Sept. 11, 2001, Hawkins has had a different perspective about that song.
"I never paid too much attention to it," Hawkins said, "but that song, to this day, still gives me goose bumps talking about it, because that's when I started liking that song."
On Tuesday night, the Angels joined the rest of Major League Baseball by commemorating the 11th anniversary of those horrifying terrorist attacks. The Orange County Fire Color Guard marched onto the field, and after a moment of silence, a giant American flag was unveiled during the singing of the national anthem.
Brennan Leninger, a 10-year veteran of the United States Air Force who was assigned to the Pentagon following the attacks, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. And the Angels and A's both sported an American flag on the side of their caps.
"It's one of those moments in your life you always know where you were and what you were doing when it happened," Hawkins said. "There's not too many occurrences in your life where you would remember that. It changed everything."