The Mets can memorialize 9/11, Joe Torre said, just not with first responder caps — and that probably won’t change anytime soon.
“The only problem is — and obviously, I’m sensitive to 9/11 — what’s not important to do something different?” Torre, MLB’s chief operating officer, said Sunday while at Citi Field with his “Safe at Home” foundation, which helps victims of domestic violence.
“It’s just the uniformity that we try to bring to all the teams.”
The Astros this year were allowed to wear hats commemorating the moon landing during a game against the A’s, but MLB views the two events differently. The Astros’ hats were a celebratory commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, while 9/11 is a massive national tragedy. All teams had a patch on their hats memorializing 9/11 on the 18th- year anniversary this season.
Torre indicated as much when asked about the discrepancy, saying:
“We’re pretty stingy when it comes to allowing one team to do it because it’s only fair to the other 29 . . . Unfortunately, every day is something personal in every part of this country, and we certainly are sensitive to it and we’ve allowed a lot of recognition of stuff that people have had to deal with.”
Torre added: “I don’t see it changing, really, in the future.”
The Mets’ continuing fight to wear the caps came into focus again this year when Pete Alonso took up the mantle left by David Wright, petitioning MLB to wear first responder caps during both batting practice and actual game play. He was denied, so — without asking permission — Alonso commissioned custom first responder cleats for his entire team. MLB does not plan to fine the Mets, and Torre said Sunday that players have more leeway with their footwear, anyway.
The Mets were allowed to wear the caps in their first game back after the attacks, but those caps have been relegated to batting practice since then.
In 2001, the team was heavily involved in relief efforts, spearheaded by the likes of manager Bobby Valentine, Al Leiter and John Franco — all of whom are tri-state locals.
Torre offered that there perhaps is some room for compromise.
“Unless we do [something] with all the teams,” he said. “Because even though teams weren’t in New York, weren’t in Pennsylvania, Washington, everyone was affected. It’s our country. Am I saying that at some point there won’t be something that would happen in and around that day? . . . We’re very willing to consider, so I can’t say never ever.”
He underlined that he is not insensitive to the tragedy and the fact that people feel the need to memorialize it. He grew up in Brooklyn, managed the Yankees during the attacks and saw the devastation firsthand.
“That doesn’t go away,” he said. “It’s so vivid . . . [Visiting the] Armory was probably the most powerful [moment for me] because that’s where all the loved ones were waiting for word, the DNA results just to verify their loved ones are gone. That was tough. It’s not something that’s going to go away, and it shouldn’t.”
Though there currently isn’t an opportunity for Seth Lugo to start, Mickey Callaway said he believes he could rejoin the rotation someday. Lugo said Saturday that he still considers himself a starter; currently, though, he’s the Mets’ best reliever and too valuable out of the bullpen.
“We understand his feelings,” Callaway said. “I think that he definitely views himself as a starter someday and he probably will be at some point. I think we’ve talked about this in the past. We feel like he could start. But at this moment, our best team is with him in the bullpen. That could obviously change. It could stay the same way.
"I’m glad that he thinks he’s a starter. That’s a great mentality to have. I think it brings out the best in him when he’s a reliever, is to always have that in the back of his mind to motivate him.”
Todd Frazier was held out of the starting lineup with a bruised hand. X-rays were negative … Edwin Diaz hasn’t pitched in a week, but Callaway said the Mets still have faith in their embattled (former) closer. “I think that we continue to have faith that he’s going to go out and get some big outs for us,” he said. “I think the game will present that. It’s hard to kind of guess what situations would be or wouldn’t be. Other pitcher’s availability, what’s going on in the game, who’s coming up. But we do have faith in him, and I still feel like he’s going to get huge outs for us this season.”