MLB Refuses to Let Mets Wear FDNY, NYPD Caps

There weren't going to be many people paying attention to the Mets on Sunday night.

A long, somber day of memorials had given way to the opening week of the NFL, leaving little time or energy to care about a totally meaningless baseball game between the Mets and Cubs in Queens on Sunday night. Maybe that's why Major League Baseball decided to make their dumbest decision in a good, long while.

Joe Torre, acting as MLB's Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, barred the Mets from wearing hats honoring the FDNY, NYPD and other first responders during the game. Torre said that the problem was that the Mets wouldn't all be wearing the same uniform.

"Certainly it's not a lack of respect," Torre said. "We just felt all the major leagues are honoring the same way with the American flag on the uniform and the cap. This is a unanimity thing."

Can't have a lack of unanimity when it comes to teams deciding to show their thanks to people who risked their lives to save others on that terrible day. Who knows what kind of anarchy might follow such a decision?

MLB made a similarly wrongheaded decision back in 2001 when they told the Mets that they couldn't wear the hats during a game, an edict that the Mets ignored. It's a shame that no one associated with this year's team didn't have the same spine, even when David Wright, in a far too small show of defiance, donned one of the caps in the dugout and then had it taken away by officials from the league office.

That's really too bad, because the Mets were the team that did the most to bring us back to sports in the days after the attacks. Mike Piazza's home run in the first baseball game in New York made us all smile and Shea Stadium booing Armando Benitez a few days later reminded us that there would be a moment we could feel normal.

Those memories should have inspired the Wilpons, Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins, Wright or someone to stand up to Torre. But the Mets wouldn't be the Mets if they weren't disappointing.

Torre's experience in New York 10 years ago should have led him to make the right decision and give the Mets free rein to honor the day any way they saw fit. Had he done that, people would have noticed for 30 seconds and then gone back to the Jets game.

Now, though, he and Bud Selig and all the rest look like tone deaf buffoons who care more about uniform regulations than anything else. Even the NFL, not known for being flexible when it comes to uniforms, relaxed their regulations for items that reflected the day.

The Mets dropped the ball by not doing what they wanted, but they shouldn't have ever been put in the position. MLB was wrong and they deserve every bit of scorn they receive for caring about things that simply don't matter instead of caring about something that did.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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