There are rules, and there are common sense exceptions to rules. In the case of the Mets and their desire to honor first responders by wearing FDNY/NYPD/PAPD caps on September 11th, you would think Major League Baseball would be smart enough to know when to make an exception. You’d be wrong. In 2001, led by Bobby Valentine, the Mets defied Major League Baseball and wore the first responder caps during the first game after the attacks. It was a wonderful thing to see, and the right thing to do.
Last year, for what was the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the Mets put in a request to wear first responder caps during the game. That request was denied. Not only was it denied, but the person who stood in their way was Joe Torre, a native New Yorker who now works for Major League Baseball. He cited the need for “unanimity” for all 30 Major League clubs. He was simply being an obtuse ignoramus. After Torre’s decision came down, the Mets were furious. The players were ready to defy Major League Baseball and wear the caps anyway, but they were then threatened with fines (which MLB later denied). Todd Zeile, who played in the game and wore a first responder cap on September 21st, 2001 was on hand last year and said the following: “I find it ironic, 10 years later and they (MLB) still can’t get it passed for one day of tribute.”
This year, the Mets asked Major League Baseball if they could wear the first responder caps during batting practice and during the pregame ceremonies. According to Adam Rubin, the Mets did not request to wear the caps during the game. I believe the Mets didn’t make the request because they knew it would be denied. Fred Wilpon and Bud Selig are close. I’m sure the Mets wanted to save Major League Baseball the embarrassment of again looking completely out of touch and ridiculous after what would’ve been another denial of the Mets’ completely understandable and simple request. I say screw Major League Baseball and their asinine policy.
Innocent people from all over this Country and many other Countries died on September 11th. It was the first responders from the New York area, though, who gave their lives attempting to rescue those who were in the burning and soon to collapse Twin Towers. On September 11th, 2001, I was just getting used to college life. I was a freshman at St. John’s University. I woke up to the news of what happened, and the rest of the day was a blur. My Uncle is a firefighter, and was at the Trade Center that day. From the time he sped to the site of the carnage until around 11 PM that night, no one in our family knew whether or not he was alive. He was fortunate enough to make it out, but the same can’t be said for one of my neighbors. He had a wife and a newborn, and he didn’t make it out. My old block is now named after him, and several other streets a few blocks away are named after kids who went to my High School, Xaverian in Brooklyn. They died that day in their offices after the planes struck the towers. This hits home for us.
The Mets – both the organization as a whole and the players – have done more for those affected by the September 11th attacks than any other team in the area. For that, they should be proud. The team being able to wear first responder caps on September 11th won’t bring back those who died on that day. It won’t fill a void for families who lost loved ones, and it won’t wipe away the horror. What it will do, is give the Mets one more way to honor those who lost their lives. It’ll put a smile on the faces of the first responders who continue to keep this City safe, and It’ll put a smile on the faces of so many Mets fans and others around the City who lost loved ones that day. Kids who lost a parent, wives who lost a husband, husbands who lost a wife, parents who had to bury a child, and others.
So, what should the Mets do?
Screw potential fines, screw potential suspensions, and screw Major League Baseball’s thoughtless decision makers. The players need to unite and take a stand. In five days, at home on what is the 11th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, wear the first responder caps.