Joe Torre: MLB Denial Of Mets’ 9/11 First Responder Caps ‘A Unanimity Thing’

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Did Joe Torre and Major League Baseball drop the ball?

The league denied the Mets’ request to wear caps Sunday night honoring NYC emergency service departments on the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president for baseball operations, said the decision was made to keep policy consistent throughout baseball.

“Certainly it’s not a lack of respect,” Torre told The Associated Press before New York’s 10-6 loss to the Cubs. “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.”

Listen: Joe Torre talks to Mike Francesa about the Mets’ request

1010 WINS’ John Montone reports

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.

MLB tried to put the kibosh on the hats in 2001, according to Bobby Valentine. The former manager wouldn’t take no for an answer.

“We were getting ready to wear them in Pittsburgh for our first game back, when Steve (Phillips) came in and said, ‘You can’t wear them,'” he told the New York Daily News.

“I said, ‘Oh, OK, and I called a meeting and said, ‘Hey, guys, you can’t wear the hats,'” Valentine added. “Then Steve went upstairs, and as the guys came down the runway to the dugout, I stood there, handing out the caps we weren’t supposed to wear.”

The Mets 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 before the game.

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 contemplating 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 MLB 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.

Wright, though, was seen in the dugout early in the game wearing a first responder hat.

The Mets held a 24-minute ceremony of remembrance under dimmed stadium lights before the game. Fans held electronic candles as bagpipers and drummers stood on the infield and first responders lined the basepaths. Each of the Mets and Cubs escorted a member of “Tuesday’s Children,” a charity for families affected by the attacks, onto the field and they stood with the uniformed emergency-service workers.

A 100-by-300 foot flag was held by first responders and victims’ family members.

Marc Anthony sang the national anthem, as he did on Sept. 21, 2001. Mike Piazza, who hit an uplifting homer in the eighth inning to help the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves that night, caught a ceremonial first pitch from New York native John Franco, a teammate on the 2001 squad.

The caps worn during the ceremony will be autographed and sold on Proceeds will be distributed to charities through the Mets’ foundation.

Your thoughts on MLB’s decision? Be heard in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Paul D

    I didn’t realize that defying a silly MLB rule was the true measure of grit or heart. I think that that is the most inane thing I’ve ever read. Think about this, Mets fans, while the franchise would distract you with frivolous cap controversies, your team is busy losing 80+ games. How about they give their fans something to cheer about in September instead of this nonsense?

  • Alan

    Edward, you’re so eloquent (don’t know what that means, look it up in a dictionary, if you know what that is). You don’t know anything about me, so don’t assume I engage in the same perverted acts you seem so fond of. This is not about the Mets, baseball or any other sport. It’s about respect, common decency and honor. If you don’t have the intelligence to see that I feel sorry for you. So why don’t you crawl back under the rock where you came from and do us all a favor STAY THERE YOU FOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Edward

      you seem hurt there Ellen. What happened, you were not breast feed by your daddy this morning?

      Get a life loser.

  • Chris

    Why is Josh Thole our rep with the union? Shouldn’t it be a more veteran guy, such as David Wright or Jason Bay? In 2001 it was a veteran team. Robin Ventura was the rep. Bobby V was fine with the players wearing the hats. Zeile said they’d have to rip it off his head. And Doubleday was still a part owner. I’m wonder if the Wilpon’s were concerned about upsetting MLB after all the money they’ve been borrowing?

  • Alan

    Edward, I have four words for you, YOUR A TOTAL ***HOLE

    • Edward

      Alan, if you have nothing else better to do, go bl*w your boyfriend you f*gg*t Mets fan.

      The truth hurts and now you come crying like the girl you are

      Boo Hoo Hoo, I have four words for you. What a crying b*t*h

  • Johnny Handsome

    They should have worn the hats anyway. Can you imagine the backlash / outrage of the fans of MLB made a stink over it! Mets lost one.

  • Sean Andrews

    Shame on MLB and shame on the Mets.. So what? MLB said No.. wear em anyway and pay the fine..Oops forgot.. the Wilpons own the Mets… its he same spineless attitude that wouldnt alolw them to question Bernie Madoff;s methods.. Wilpos cant sell the team quick enough.. David Wright is a aptain” ?? Leader??? Ryan Callahan doesnt let the Rangers take the Ice without wearing what they felt was the appropriate honor for those lost on 9/11

  • Billy

    Torre is an embarassment and should be ashamed of himself. It’s hard to believe that he was born in Brooklyn. He belongs in California, no better yet Chernobyl.

  • M.A.D

    MLB should have made an exception for the Mets.

    • Edward

      Why? were the Yankees allowed to wear a “NYPD” or “FDNY”cap in LA? Were the Nats allowed to wear one for the respect to the people who died at the Pentagon,

      Were the Phillies & Pirates allowed to wear one in respect for those who died on the Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania

      People forget that 9/11 happened in two other major U.S sites as well (D.C & Pennsylvania), not just New York.

      Flight 93 was headed for the U.S Capitol, but hero passengers risk their own lives to save others by subduing the terrorists. They are heroes as well.

      Let’s be thankful & grateful to them as well not just the ones in NYC.

      Typical moron selfish Mets fans, always b**ching about something & always thinking about themselves.

      • Brian

        Did I miss something ? Were the Yankees , Nats , or the teams from PA denied anything ?

      • G

        Whoa, you need to relax there Eddie.. I think evereyone knows what happened and where, it just would have been nice, that’s all..

      • Edward

        yes, Brian, ALL MLB TEAMS IN A MEMO were told not to wear caps with NYPD, FYPD, COLORS or anything with 9/11 on them.

        All MLB teams were told the same thing back in 2001 yet the Mets still wore the caps, so yes Brian, you missed SOMETHING, more then just something.

        Mets fans are not too bright.

      • Brian

        Relax Edward , Not a Mets fan . The fact that MLB sent out a memo forbidding teams from doing something classy is a problem . This is not a Mets issue !

      • Edward is LOST!

        Edward you sound like a friggin moron! Lets not compare the tragic events at the Pentagon and Flight 93 to what took place at The World Trade Center! Besides the sheer numbers of people that perished on that day, NYC is the economic capital of the whole USA! MLB dropped the ball and the Mets should of been allowed to wear the hats of the first responders. YES!!!!……MLB should of made an exception for the Mets.

    • Cliff

      Hey idiot, it was not done and that’s the bottom line. Why cry over spilled milk. Oh wait, these are Mets fans we’re talking about, they cry over anything & are always looking for attention. Mets fans are a bunch of cry babies. Get over it.

      • WOW!

        What the heck does this have to do with the Mets you brain dead idiot! I am a Mets fan yes but I would have said the same thing if the Yanks were in the Bronx last night and I hate the Yanks! Can you imagine being so stupid to think this a Mets issue and not a New York issue?!!! Have you learned nothing form September 11th? You should be ashamed to call yourself an American!!

      • Mich

        Mets fans made this about themselves just because after baseball resumed in 2001 the Mets were at home and wore the caps.

        Unlike the Mets, this was an American tragedy, not just a NYC tragedy

    • JD

      Hey Cliff, Eddie and Brian

      How quickly we forget… Get some perspective from someone who was there. This is not a Mets fan issue. NY and this country were affected in a communal way on that tragic day 10 years ago. I think the day should be used to comemmorate what we all have in common as New Yorkers and as Americans, not what separates us. And for shame on MLB for not letting the METS or any other team honor first responders who gave the ultimate sacrifice that day to make our human community a better place to live. The Mets should have worn the caps any way and taken the fine. Like Todd Zeile said 10 years ago, “Let them tear it off our heads.”

      • You said it JD!

        Thank you JD! Finally someone who gets it and is a true Patriot!

    • Johnny Handsome

      Well the NFL did it right. Baseball sucks anyway.

  • Skip

    This is why the people who are in charge of MLB are irrelevent and just plain pathetic. They haven’t got the guts to pass the regs that will keep steroids out of the game, but have no problem banning the wearing of hats that would honor first responders who lost there lives in the worst terrorist attack this country has ever experienced. Shame on you Joe Torre!!!

  • Mukund Marathe

    I have to echo Howie Rose’s comments before the game: Shame on you, MLB. Who would have been hurt by the Mets wearing the first responder caps during the game? The 2001 Mets had guts and heart. The 2011 Mets are sheep.

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