Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's Chief Baseball Officer, said that he does not foresee MLB changing its rule on clubs wearing commemorative hats during games. Torre's comments come less than a week after Mets rookie Pete Alonso had pushed for the league to allow New York to wear hats that paid tribute to first responders during a game on Sept. 11. Alonso's attempt was rejected by the league.
Here is Torre's explanation via SNY:
"The only problem is -- and obviously I'm sensitive to 9/11, there's no question about it. What's not important, you know, to do something different? That's the only thing. Just a uniformity that we try to bring to all the teams. If we allow one team ... you wind up able to do stuff everywhere. That's the only issue. We allow them to wear it in pre-game and stuff like that. In order to be uniform and be fair to all the other teams, we try to keep the game hats on for the games. Again, we have no issues with patches. But as far as the uniform, we try to keep that system."
The Mets wore first responder hats in-game (in defiance of MLB) for every game during the remainder of the 2001 season following the Sept. 11 attacks. The team has been denied wearing them ever since.
"I wanted to do some [custom] hats for us," Alonso told SNY. "I wanted to do custom hats with whatever group of first responders -- if someone wanted to do FDNY or Port Authority they had the choice. Unfortunately there's a lot of red tape with Major League Baseball, and they kind of shot that idea down. I think it's kind of sad that guys weren't allowed to -- since that day the first game back, they kind of shut it down every year since. I think that's really unfortunate."
Instead, Alonso provided his teammates with custom 9/11 cleats to wear during their game against the Diamondbacks at Citi Field on the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Alonso and the Mets paid tribute to to the victims and first responders without seeking MLB's approval. They were reportedly not fined or disciplined for violating the league's strict dress code.
Alonso, this year's Home Run Derby champion, donated $100,000 of his $1 million prize to two charities: The Wounded Warrior Project and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. The latter is named after a firefighter who died on Sept. 11.
Hall of Famer and former Mets catcher Mike Piazza, who hit a go-ahead home run in an emotional at Shea Stadium just ten days after 9/11, spoke out against the league's policy on Twitter.
For what it’s worth I strongly disagree with @MLB policy on not allowing the @Mets or any other team to wear police or first responder hats for 9/11 games. Understand their argument but non analogous with respect to other tragedies, and/or other events— Mike Piazza (@mikepiazza31) September 16, 2019
We were directly affected and did not play for a week.The Mets and Yankees for that matter were extremely close to many lost, I hope and pray something can be worked out. #NeverForget #NeverForget911 #Mets #MLB— Mike Piazza (@mikepiazza31) September 16, 2019
Despite the calls for an amended policy, it doesn't appear MLB will be making any adjustments in the near future.
"I don't see it changing," Torre said.