Joe Torre stresses uniformity as the key issue of why MLB wouldn’t allow Mets to wear FDNY/NYPD hats on field on 9/11/11September 13, 2011 – 6:15 am by Steven Cuce
Joe Torre, MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, was put in a tough spot over the weekend when he was forced to issue a ruling on the New York Mets wearing FDNY/NYPD in honor of the 10th anniversary of 9-11. The Mets were the only team to ask baseball if they could wear the FDNY/NYPD hats during their game on 9-11 and baseball is very stubborn when it comes to all teams wearing similar uniforms at all times. Torre stressed uniformity as the reason for why Major League Baseball didn’t allow the Mets to wear FDNY/NYPD hats on 9-11. The former Yankees and Dodgers managers makes a valid point in telling WFAN in New York that MLB denied the Washington Nationals of wearing special hats to honor the Navy SEALs, who died a month or so ago. Major League Baseball did not want to value one life over another.
In all honesty this whole issue should not have occurred given the nature of what happened 10 years on September 11th. It was ridiculous that MLB didn’t allow the Yankees to wear FDNY/NYPD hats during their games in 2001, but they had to obey it and so did the Mets this year. Instead of causing a headache and upstaging the meaning of baseball honoring the 10th anniversary of 9-11, Joe Torre, was forced to make a lame duck decision that, quite simply, made MLB once again look bad in the public.
Joe Torre joined WFAN in New York with Mike Francesa to discuss whether he thought MLB dropped the ball on the issue of letting the Mets wear FDNY/NYPD hats on the field during their game on 9/11, the New York Yankees wearing FDNY/NYPD hats on the field during games 10 years ago, who made the decision to not allow the Mets to wear the hats, the New York Mets being the only team to ask the league if they could wear the hats on Sunday, and the front office of MLB having any issues with the New York Mets.
Where are we on this issue of the Mets wearing FDNY/NYPD hats on 9/11? Did baseball drop the ball here?
“You know me a long time I feel that anything we do at Major League Baseball just like I felt anything I did when I managed should be the same. If the Mets were going to wear it I feel everybody else should wear it and going forward if we chose to do something different my suggestion would be that we all do the same thing whether it’s something on the sleeve or something more with the hat, but I just felt you had the Yankees, who I was at their pregame ceremony at Anaheim, which was tastefully done with a video honoring first responders and things that they wore it pregame. I thought it was done very well. So I think whatever we do if it’s something more than we did yesterday I think everybody should do it.”
Remind me 10 years ago did your team wear FDNY/NYPD hats on the field during the game?
“We didn’t. We wanted to. I know we requested and Major League Baseball asked us not to. Again they didn’t demand anything, but they asked us not to and we just wore them pregame, post-game, and some guys wore them on the plane and things like that, which was certainly letting everyone know that these people were in our hearts, but it certainly wasn’t…we didn’t wear them during the World Series. We did wear them – I remember in fact my wife just found a picture of Bob Brenly and President Bush and myself in the pregame of game three of the 2001 World Series and I had one of these first responders hats on, but we didn’t wear them for the game.” [Editors Note: Picture above is the one he is talking about in the 2001 World Series]
Did you make this decision to not have the Mets wear the FDNY/NYPD hats or did the commissioner?
“I think that – I know that the Mets were sent…the Mets may have received, again when it got to me it was in the form of the Mets wanted to do this even though nobody was doing it. When it got to that point I just felt that everything should be the same, so yes I made several calls to the Mets and let them know my feelings as far as we should all be together on this and they respected the decision that was made. I was part of the decision making only in the fact that whatever we do we must all do the same thing.”
Are the Mets the only team to ask to wear the FDNY/NYPD hats on the field this year?
“Again I’m not sure, but I think they were the only team that requested it. As I say going forward if we are going to do something other then what went on yesterday, again I’d like to have everybody and MLB because we are all affected by it. There are New Yorkers on all 30 teams I’m guessing, so I just think we should all do the same thing.”
The Mets may have worn the FDNY/NYPD hats in-between innings. Do you have any issues with the New York Mets right now?
“I have no issue at all. David Wright….he was the one. Again, I didn’t watch the whole game, but I watched the pregame, which was very emotional. David had it on in-between innings, which I really didn’t have any issue with. It was just really on the field and just something we asked all the clubs to do. Again, I heard reports that there was a mandate and teams were threatened with a fine. I don’t think any of that stuff took place. It was something we asked all the clubs to do and the Mets were the ones that really wanted to do something different. We just felt because it was different that we didn’t want that to happen. When you look around and part of it Michael [Francesa] is life is very valuable. We turned down the Washington Nationals earlier this year because they wanted to do something where they were going to wear hats in memory of the Navy SEALs who died. Where…I don’t want to say where do you draw the line? But which life isn’t important enough to have somebody recognized? It just becomes something that is very difficult to deal with on a regular basis and we just tried to be as consistent as possible.”