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Mets honor 9/11 by wearing first-responder caps during batting practice, national anthem

Mets third baseman David Wright wears an NYPD

Mets third baseman David Wright wears an NYPD cap during batting practice before a game against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. (Sept. 11, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Mets closed out a week of 9/11-related events by wearing first-responder caps during batting practice and for the national anthem before Tuesday night's game against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.

The team decided not to ask for permission from Major League Baseball to wear the caps during the game. Last season, MLB quashed the team's plans to wear the caps during the nationally televised 9/11 game, sparking the brief idea of a player revolt.

There was no such movement this year as the organization and players were in agreement about how to incorporate the caps into the 9/11 ceremonies.

"Basically, we got what we asked for," Mets vice president of media relations Jay Horwitz said. "We asked to wear them during BP and for the anthem, and they gave us what we wanted. Our guys honored 9/11 people in other ways. We went to about four firehouses, we went to Cantor Fitzgerald today. So there are other ways to honor. We did a lot of things in the last week or two, which we've done for the last 11 years."

The Mets wore the caps during batting practice in front of fewer than 100 fans. There were a few thousand in the stands during the national anthem.

Outfielder Mike Baxter, who was a senior at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens 11 years ago, said the team's efforts were about more than wearing caps.

"I think it's fair to be able to wear them for batting practice and on the field before the game, too," Baxter said. "I think what we've done in addition to just wearing hats is trying to get out in the community, get with the firemen, and do appearances that are more than hats, where we get a chance to interact with people who were involved on that day.

"Personally, if I had to make a choice between wearing a hat for three hours or getting a chance to meet some of the people and interact with some of the people in the community, I would choose to do that."

Catcher Josh Thole, who was outspoken a year ago about the so-called "Cap Flap," said the players accepted this year's decision.

"They just tell us what to do and that's what we're going to do," Thole said. "That's the bottom line. It was an issue last year. It's going to be a nonissue this year. We'll just go by the rules and move on with it."

After pregame warm-ups and the national anthem, the Mets switched to their regular caps with a small American flag sewn on the side. The first-responder caps were collected by the team and will be autographed and auctioned off at gameused beginning Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Manager Terry Collins said he wants his players and staff to wear first-responder caps and T-shirts to the airport and on the plane Sunday after a three-game series in Milwaukee. The Mets have had other themed-attired flights this season; most are jocular in nature. But not this time.

The caps honor first responders from the NYPD, FDNY, EMS, Court Officers, Port Authority Police Department, Office of Emergency Management, Sanitation Department and Department of Corrections.

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