Photo: Flickr Ray from LA
Major League Baseball did their best No Fun League impersonation on Sunday night when they refused to allow the New York Mets wear the caps of 9/11 first responders during its game. But while the MLB is trying hard to explain the decision as a rule of uniformity, the real reason for their decision may be much more capitalistic.The first responder caps, representing the NYPD, FDNY, PAPD, and others were similar to the hats worn by the Yankees and Mets back in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. But rather than allowing the Mets honour not only the first responders, but also the memory of baseball games that many considered important to the city’s recovery, MLB actually sent an official into the dugout during the game to remove the caps.
According to Joe Torre, MLB’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations it was about the uniformity of uniforms. “We just felt all the major leagues are honouring the same way with the American flag on the uniform and the cap. This is a unanimity thing.”
Buster Olney of ESPN.com spoke with some team executives who felt that the hats would set an unwelcome precedent. “The view of the team execs is that by allowing exceptions on what hats to wear, it sets a difficult precedent for future tragedies/disasters…Said one team exec: ‘What happens if there’s an earthquake, and many killed? And then a Katrina-like hurricane in an MLB city?'”
But it would seem that if ever there was a time to make an exception, Sunday was that night.
But then again, if the Mets wore first responder caps, they wouldn’t be able to promote those special 9/11 anniversary caps produced by New Era. The same caps that are available in the MLB shop for $36.99 (above).
The description of the cap does say that “a portion of the proceeds” will be donated to various 9/11 memorials. It is unclear how much “a portion” is, but we can be sure that another portion goes towards New Era’s bottom line.
And it sure seems like MLB was more worried about protecting their partnership with New Era and the sale of these caps. But what was New Era going to do, cancel their contract with Major League Baseball? Not a chance.
So in the end, MLB’s decision may have been driven by capitalism over good taste. But hey, what is more American than that?
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