Wednesday was, of course, the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Major League Baseball honored the victims in its own ways -- permitting teams to wear 9/11 ribbons on their caps; special lineup cards and base jewels; and allowing the New York Mets, who played at home Wednesday, to wear NYPD and FDNY caps during batting practice.
The Mets, however, opted to pay tribute to the victims and the first responders in their own way, thanks to the initiative of first baseman Pete Alonso. Alonso organized and purchased the Mets special cleats that they wore in-game without the permission of the league office. Take a look:
Pete Alonso orchestrated the Mets’ wearing of commemorative 9/11-themed cleats tonight.— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) September 12, 2019
He planned it for weeks, ordered & paid for everybody’s shoes and enlisted other clubhouse leaders (including Jacob deGrom) to get everyone on board. pic.twitter.com/fiJbYCU8mq
Alonso's reasoning for avoiding the league office was straight forward: they rejected his proposal to design special hats, and haven't allowed the Mets to wear NYPD or FDNY caps in-game since 2001. Here's more, courtesy of ESPN:
Alonso said he went around the Mets' locker room and collected shoe sizes and preferred brands for each teammate. He said he didn't contact Major League Baseball about the cleats.
"I feel like if Major League Baseball kind of got their hands on it, it may not have been approved," Alonso said. "But I'm really happy that we kind of banded together here in the clubhouse and made something cool happen."
Here's video of Alonso discussing his motivation:
As absurd as it sounds, Alonso may face a fine from the league for his rogue behavior. MLB is notoriously strict about uniforms, and that tendency led to the creation of Players' Weekend, wherein the restrictions are loosened for the sake of showcasing personality. Perhaps the league will determine the intent -- to honor the victims and first responders -- justifies the crime, but make no mistake: MLB tends to view uniform violations as being worthy of punishment.
Common sense may prevail here, however, as Andy Martino of SNY tweeted on Thusday morning that a source told him MLB will not fine Alonso or the Mets over the cleats:
Source: MLB will not be fining or disciplining Pete Alonso and/or the Mets in any way for the custom cleats commemorating 9/11, which they wore without permission. As it should be.— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) September 12, 2019
Alonso, if you recall, made headlines after winning the Home Run Derby by donating $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 Siller, a firefighter who died on Sept. 11.
The Mets, by the way, defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks by scoring nine runs on 11 hits.