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MLB rejects Mets' first responder hats

New York Mets' Jose Reyes #7 wears a

New York Mets' Jose Reyes #7 wears a cap honoring the NYPD before the game against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field in New York on the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. (Sept. 11, 2011) Credit: John Dunn

Major League Baseball did not allow the Mets to wear hats honoring New York City's first responders on Sept. 11 during last night's game against the Cubs at Citi Field.

Mets players and coaches wore hats from the FDNY, NYPD and other emergency service departments during batting practice and a pregame ceremony, but the team was not allowed to wear them during the game. The Mets instead wore a traditional Mets cap with a 9/11 logo on the side.

"MLB set a leaguewide policy as it related to caps and uniforms for September 11 and we followed the guidelines," the Mets said in a statement.

"We're just trying to keep it consistent," Joe Torre, MLB executive vice president of baseball operations, told The Associated Press. "Certainly it's not a lack of respect. It's just something we feel is the right thing to do."

The issue didn't seem to sit well with some players in the Mets' clubhouse.

"What are they going to do, fine us?" said catcher Josh Thole, the team's union representative. "If we wear them and they do, then they do. I think we have our options to send it to a charity, anyway, so we'll send it to a 9/11 charity or something."

A few minutes later, after speaking with manager Terry Collins, Thole said the team would not hold a vote on whether to wear them.

"I guess they'd crack down on us pretty hard," Thole said, referring to MLB.

Hats won during the pregame ceremony and batting practice last night will be auctioned off at Through the Mets foundation, the proceeds will be distributed to various 9/11 charities.

A decade ago, in its first game after Sept. 11, the Mets chose to defy a similar MLB pronouncement and wore the first responders' caps during play. On Sunday, that would not be the case.

"It was certainly a lot more personal at the time," former Met Todd Zeile said last night. "It just felt like the right thing to do. I think everybody you talk to would say the exact same thing . . . there was no way we weren't going to do it."

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