Some Olympic torchbearers, including two of professional baseball's most well-known figures, could have been caught in the New York City mayhem on Tuesday had a media event gone off as originally scheduled.

Baseball great Willie Mays and New York Yankee manager Joe Torre would have been standing near the base of World Trade Center when airplanes slammed into it had SLOC President Mitt Romney's schedule not changed.

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee originally planned to announce the names of Olympic torchbearers in downtown Manhattan's Battery Park on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11.

The park is adjacent to the twin towers. The first hijacked plane crashed into the World Trade Center at 8:42 a.m. The second followed at 9:03 a.m.

Mays and Torre were to join eight other torchbearers from the New York area for the announcement. They along with Romney, other SLOC officials and representatives from Olympic torch relay sponsors Chevrolet and Coca-Cola likely would have found themselves in the middle of the chaos.

The event was moved from Tuesday to Wednesday to accommodate Romney's schedule, said Jennifer Parker, a Chevrolet spokeswoman. Romney was in Washington, D.C., Monday and Tuesday to ensure that Congress provide the final $12.7 million to cover Olympic security costs.

"It's really a blessing," Parker said of the decision a couple of weeks ago to change the dates. "We were very fortunate."

After Tuesday's tragedy, SLOC canceled the Wednesday event where Games organizers were to announce the names of thousands of people who will carry the torch through the United States, outside of Utah. Officials haven't decided when and where it will now be held.

A Monday announcement of those who will carry the torch within Utah also has been put off.

"Out of respect for our nation's mourning we're going to postpone or cancel all SLOC events through this Sunday, including the torchbearers announcement, the opening of the Olympic oval in Kearns, the sports and science congress and the environment and sport conference. We're either canceling or postponing all of those events through Sunday evening," Romney said Tuesday.

SLOC communications director Caroline Shaw and Ahmad Corbitt, of Coltrin & Associates, were supposed to go to Battery Park Tuesday morning to check things out in anticipation of Wednesday's event. Coltrin & Associates is a public relations firm SLOC retains.

Shaw and Corbitt were in the lobby of her hotel when the attack occurred.


E-MAIL: romboy@desnews.com