Mets Are Good Boys About Hats

You may be aware that the Mets players wanted to wear the hats of first responders to honor the 10th anniversary of 9/11. You may also know they were denied the request. How do you feel about the Mets players’ decision to respect MLB’s denial?


The Mets wanted to wear caps honoring police, firefighters and other first responders like the ones they wore on Sept. 21, 2001, in the first professional sporting event in New York after the World Trade Center collapsed 10 days earlier. And they spoke with Torre on several occasions over the course of the last month.

“They certainly understood and respected,” baseball’s decision, Torre said. “I certainly understood what they wanted to do in regards to wearing the hats. I used my history with the fact that we were in the World Series 10 years ago.”

During the 2001 World Series, the Yankees wore caps with emergency service logos during a pregame ceremony, but wore their blue hats with a white interlocking “NY” for the games.

Torre also said there was recent precedence for the policy. The Washington Nationals wanted to wear caps honoring the Navy SEALs that were killed in Afghanistan in early August and the team was allowed to wear them pregame.

The Mets said in a statement Sunday they followed the guidelines set in a league-wide memo issued by MLB for games played on Sept 11.

Some Mets wore caps, such as “NYPD” and “FDNY,” during batting practice. Player representative Josh Thole said he and his teammates were contemplated wearing those caps during the game.

“I think it will be a nice gesture,” Thole said. “What are they going to do fine us?”

Several minutes later he returned and said the caps were a “no-go” because he was told the league was adamant.

“If we got a vote in, I think we’d want to wear the hats,” David Wright said, “but at the end of the day Major League Baseball makes that call, and we’re going to respect that.”

Instead, the Mets wore their black caps with blue brims and a blue-and-orange interlocking “NY” when they took the field to face the Cubs.

I don’t get it — why didn’t anyone (or everyone) rail against the ruling and step out on the field with a NYPD, NYFD, or similar hat? What was going to happen if they did? Get fined? This was an opportunity for someone (David Wright, I’m talking to you) to stand up for something, unite the team, and emerge as a true leader.

Torre talked about using his “history”; well, the Mets could have used theirs in this situation. It was ten years ago that Todd Zeile, Robin Ventura, and other Mets decided that they were going to wear hats collected from first responders at Ground Zero. MLB told them “no way”. As Zeile related during the ESPN telecast last night, “We told them that someone is going to have to come down on to the field and rip the hats from our heads — and we meant it, because that’s how we felt.” And guess what? The Mets continued to wear those hats for the rest of the season — despite MLB not wavering from their ruling. What happened? Nothing. MLB did nothing, because they couldn’t. If they did, there would be a massive public outcry.

Granted, the feelings — of everyone — ten years ago were much stronger. And the hats that Zeile, Ventura, Edgardo Alfonzo, and others wore were actual hats from Ground Zero. But this was a special occasion, being the 10-year anniversary. It’s not like the Mets try to wear the responders hats every year on 9/11 (though I think they should). David Wright had the “audacity” to wear a NYPD hat in the dugout, between innings. Woopty-doo. What if Wright ran out to his third base position with the NYPD hat still on his head? What would have possibly happened? Was an umpire going to tell David to take it off? Maybe. Was Terry Collins going to scream at David? Unlikely. Would the Citi Field crowd have given Wright a standing ovation? Probably. Would Wright have established himself as the true leader of this young ballclub, and earned the respect of his teammates? Absolutely.

I have to wonder, if R.A. Dickey were pitching last night, might he have had the gumption to walk on to the mound wearing a NYPD hat?

But instead, all the Mets were good little boys, following the rules set forth by big bad Bud Selig and his “muscle” Joe Torre. We are so proud of them, making sure to do as they are told. Very good corporate boys, respecting the corporate standards. It’s good business, because you never know when you might need MLB to bail you out with a $25M loan or something.

What do you think? Should the Mets have worn the responders hats, if that’s what they wanted to do? And if they did, do you think that MLB could have gotten away with fining them, in the court of public opinion?

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Izzy September 12, 2011 at 7:33 am
    I agree with you 100%. As for pointing to guys like David Wright, I think you said all there is to say about the lack of player leadership on this team when you wrote that “player rep Josh Thole”…. That tells you all you need to know about the pitful leadership on the team. A kid learning the ropes and how to catch in the big leagues shouldn’t be burdened with the union rep duties as well. Wright and the phony leaders we’ve been hearing about all year like the fell good phony story Izzy and the fake leadership of the hapless Willie Harris are proved to be pure bull. and David Wright is useless as a real man except to get in front of a mike and tell the world all the right things. Shame on MLB and more shame on the leaderless New York Mets.
  2. NormE September 12, 2011 at 8:00 am
    Welcome to the world of Bud Selig!
    Sandy Alderson or Terry Collins could have stepped up, but
    I guess that’s too much to expect from establishment guys.
    It would be interesting to learn how poor 2nd yr. man Josh Thole got stuck with being the player rep. instead a more
    veteran player (Wright, Dickey, Capuano etc.) What does that say about our Mets?
  3. Walnutz15 September 12, 2011 at 8:30 am
    Eff MLB.

    Eff Joe Torre.

    Eff Bud Selig.

    This is all about wanting to sell more of their little “flag” hats.

    Bunch of morons.

    And for the Mets to say “the fines would be too much” — when they know damned well that they’d either be waived, or be picked up by donations (or through grateful petitions against them by the FDNY and NYPD)…….don’t even know what to say about that.

    But then again, who actually watched the game post-pregame?

    • Izzy September 12, 2011 at 9:45 am
      You do have to congratulate the entire Met organization from player thru ownership. They proved once again how they can screw up anything and everything.
    • Joe Janish September 12, 2011 at 10:41 am
      The “net proceeds” of sales of the flag hats to to the Welcome Back Veterans organization — a charity founded by Fred Wilpon. An “authentic” Mets cap w/o the flag patch is $34.99. The same cap with the flag patch is $36.99. So maybe the extra $2 is the “net proceeds”? Or possibly less, since there must be some cost in having the factory workers in China apply the patch (yes, on, the official “Stars and Stripes” caps page states “Origin: Country of China”). The truth is, I have no idea what “net proceeds” legally means when used in terms of charitable donations.

      And you know what? If part of the reason the Mets went along with MLB’s ruling was because of the donation attached to the flag hats, then why wasn’t that said? Maybe someone is afraid that the press will do some digging and find out exactly how much the “net proceeds” really are, and/or, look more closely at the Welcome Back Veterans org?

      Or more likely, someone would have said, “hey, what does the Welcome Back Veterans organization have to do with the first responders at Ground Zero?”

      I would be curious to know if MLB wanted a cut of the sales of the NYPD, NYFD, etc., hats, since they would have been worn on MLB property and seen on national TV.

  4. friend September 12, 2011 at 9:44 am
    Compare this to the absolute farce of having every player wear number 42 each April 15.
  5. Steve S. September 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm
    The Wilpons are afraid to go against Selig and MLB because of their financial situation. The Mets roster doesn’t have a John Franco, Todd Zeile, or Robin Ventura to stand up to management. It’s all very sad. MLB should have let the players wear the hats.
    • Steve S. September 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm
      I might have been wrong about at least some of the Mets’ players. R. A. Dickey wrote: “For all those upset that we didn’t wear the hats, I understand your anger. However, they physically took them from us after the ceremony. We had conspired to wear them but we got found out and MLB got involved.”

      Of course, a few of the players seemed to have the hats around after the game started, including David Wright who wore one in the dugout.

  6. Hat Monster September 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm
    I came around and ate these hats out of the Met players’ hands last night.

    They have been regurgitated, and will be sold online later today.

  7. JoeBourgeois September 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm
    Re: “What could MLB have done?”:

    Dickey just tweeted that in the 4th inning “they” came into the dugout and confiscated the hat Wright was wearing.!/RADickey43/status/113130066078208000

    • Joe Janish September 13, 2011 at 12:18 am
      MLB was smart to play “good cop / bad cop” and pick the beloved RA Dickey to tweet the farce of confiscation.
  8. Bud Selig September 12, 2011 at 2:12 pm
    Yes, I took the hat off of David’s head myself.
  9. Joe September 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm
    Other teams didn’t force the issue either, including (watching part of the game) the Yankees. It is nothing special to the Mets that teams stand in line against such petty edicts (I’m all for telling them to f themselves but that still doesn’t warrant selective attacks) but sure some could make it about the Mets in particular or Wright or Wilpon or whatever. It never gets old.
    • Joe Janish September 12, 2011 at 6:29 pm
      Other teams? Who cares about other teams? Though it was an attack on our nation, and there were lives lost in PA and DC, this was very much a “New York thing”. And it was the Mets who wore the hats ten years ago while the Yankees followed the corporate edict. Had the Yankees worn hats yesterday it wouldn’t have made sense, since they didn’t wear them ten years ago (except in BP). It was a NY thing and very much part of the fabric of Mets history. Considering that there is so little of interest in Mets history compared to that “other” team in the Bronx, it would’ve been nice for them to honor what the 2001 Mets did, for at least one game.
  10. Pedro Costa September 12, 2011 at 6:12 pm
    Can’t agree more with you, Joe, and Izzy. Nothing else to say. Just have to read and applaud both your words.
  11. Omar September 12, 2011 at 10:39 pm
    Just make sure we keep getting those “Los Mets” nights approved.
    • Joe Janish September 13, 2011 at 12:21 am
      Yeah and it’s OK for the Padres to wear camouflage, since those are MLB-licensed jerseys sold in the MLB store. Another one where the “net proceeds” are donated to charity.
  12. Andrew Giuliani September 13, 2011 at 9:04 am
    “Nothing was ordered,” Torre said. “I think they were sent a memo, but in no way was it heavy-handed. I don’t think money was ever an issue or they were ever threatened with a heavy-fisted fine. If that’s the case, I have no knowledge of it.”