Major League Baseball decreed the Mets couldn’t wear the hats of the First Responders on the 10th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11/01. This started an admirable uproar on twitter among Mets fans, bloggers, and sports journalists alike. The MLB should have granted an exception to their draconian uniform policy for this unique event. Mets player rep Josh Thole (Yes, second-year man Josh Thole is the Mets player rep) said, “I guess they cracked down on it pretty hard. So it’s just something we can’t do. As a group, we think it’s right, and it’s the least we can do. We’re going to wear them for a ceremony we’re having, and then we’re going to have to switch hats for the game.” Thole went on to say they discussed wearing the hats during the game, despite MLB’s objections, but the fines were too much. So who’s to blame for Hatgate? Here are the suspects:
Just another typical bonehead move by the Mets, right? I mean, Todd Zeile even said, “they’d have to rip them off of our heads” in 2001 when that version of the Mets defied MLB’s uniform policy in their return to Shea on 9/21/2001. So why don’t the Mets have the courage to do the same now?
Dude, he’s just a kid. What does he know about player representin’? He said he wasn’t aware that the 2001 team wore the First Responders’ hats against the wishes of MLB. But after being informed by the media, he held a player meeting. He asked the team if they could do the same as the 2001 Mets, and wear the hats anyway. He was informed that the blowback from the league would be severe. Considering the Mets are in dire financial straits, and rely on the league so much, it’s no wonder he was told “no.”
Torre screwed the Mets pretty well in his first managerial gig between 1977 and 1981 with the boys from Queens. Granted, he had the likes of Butch Benton, Pat Zachry, Jose Morales, and Richie Hebner to work with, but he went to a thin Atlanta Braves team in 1982, and won the division with them. Torre is now the “sergeant-at-arms” in MLB’s heirarchy. He specifically forbade the Mets from wearing the hats of the FDNY, PAPD, and NYPD on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
Major League Baseball
MLB has been very profitable under Bud Selig. But is that enough for the future of the game? Selig could have resolved this little mess with a simple phone call saying “Yes you can wear the hats tonight, but just this one time.” He didn’t. Many people will point to the fact that Mets hats with a little American flag on the side are being sold for $36 online as the reason why. Ultimately the blame rests on the head of Major League Baseball, Bud Selig.
But Does It Matter?
No. It would have been nice to see the Mets honoring the First Responders by wearing their hats. But as Bobby Valentine and Zeile pointed out, when they wore those hats in 2001, they were from the actual people who performed heroic actions on 9/11. In 2011, it would have been hats from a box.
Tonight’s ceremony from Citi Field was beautiful and stirring. The first pitch from John Franco to Mike Piazza was amazing. Bobby Valentine’s running commentary for ESPN throughout the game was priceless. And seeing Mike Piazza well up while talking about his emotional 9/21/01 home run was a moment as genuine as any you have heard all day.
Should the Mets have worn the First Responders’ hats. Yes. Were the Mets to blame? No. In the grand scheme of things, did it matter? Definitely not. The Mets organization did a tremendous job paying tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11, and those heroes who saved the lives of so many on that fateful day. Once again, Mets fans should be proud of their team.