Just a little tidying up on the 9/11 hat controversy as both sides (the Mets and MLB) do some damage control for appearances sake.
New York Post
A red-faced Bud Selig called the Mets on Sunday night, the commissioner of baseball irate that the organization had thrown his office “under the bus” in divulging MLB was responsible for the decision that banned players from wearing caps honoring emergency services workers during the 9/11 game at Citi Field.
“[Selig] got embarrassed by it,” a Mets official said before last night’s 3-2 loss to the Nationals. “The game got moved into prime time because of 9/11, and [MLB] ended up getting embarrassed.”
In an interview with Sirius XM radio, MLB disciplinary czar Joe Torre denied the Mets were threatened with a fine if they didn’t comply with the uniform code. The Mets were allowed to wear the caps honoring first responders during batting practice and the pre-game ceremony, but had to remove them for their game against the Cubs.
“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.”
Catcher Josh Thole said Monday night that the Mets backed down from wearing caps honoring first responders during Sunday night’s 9/11 game because Major League Baseball had threatened to fine the organization and the individual players “crazy amounts” if they defied a mandate to wear specially designed American flag caps.
“It was coming down from the top that the fine to the ballclub was going to be significant,” Thole said. “That was something that nobody wanted — to overstep the bounds there.”
By the top does Thole mean Alderson or Wilpon?
Collins thinks it’s one big distraction.
“What’s the attention been since we walked into the ballpark today? It’s not on who we’re playing, it’s not on who’s pitching. We all want to know which kind of hat we’re going to wear tonight. And that takes away from the game,” Collins said. “It all takes away from their preparation. They’re all being asked questions that they’re afraid to make an answer, they’re afraid to say the wrong thing. We’ve got to start focusing on what the game is, because, when it’s all said and done, that’s all that matters.”
Several of the 2001 Mets were on hand Sunday at Citi Field for the remembrance ceremony, and they recalled defying MLB’s orders and wearing the first responders’ hats on Sept. 21 of that year, the first major league game played in New York after the tragedy.
Former Mets reliever John Franco said the current players should have done the same and paid any fine issued by baseball.
Todd Zeile, the team’s player rep in 2001, said the caps held great meaning to the players and MLB “would’ve had to rip the hats off our heads.”