So were the Mets threatened with fines over the first responder hats or not?

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There’s not much left to say about MLB’s strange and regrettable decision to prevent the Mets from wearing FDNY and NYPD hats on Sunday night. It’s over and likely will be until next 9/11, depending on what the marketers and money men decide.

But there is an open question, highlighted in the New York Daily News this morning:  Did Major League Baseball threaten the Mets with heavy fines if they wore the hats?

I believe that all the fines were going to be just crazy amounts,” Thole said. “It was coming down from the top as if the fine to the ballclub was going to be significant, and that was something (where) nobody wanted to overstep the bounds there.”

Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president for baseball operations, said the decision to prohibit the Mets from donning the hats was based on wanting all 32 teams dressed uniformly Sunday and that no one had been threatened with fines. “I heard in several places that it was a ‘mandate’ we ‘ordered,'” Torre told SiriusXM Radio. “Nothing was ordered.”

Those two statements really don’t’ mesh.

Yesterday, on his Twitter feed, R.A. Dickey said that someone from baseball came through the dugout and actually confiscated all of the first responder caps so no player could wear them.  Unless it was Bud Selig himself with a scowl on his face collecting them, what would compel the players to actually give them up? Seems like a team edict — inspired by a threat — could do the trick. Or a threat that came directly to the players would.

Yes, it’s possible that the players all just company men who didn’t really question it when someone said “you gotta give up the caps,” but I’m having a hard time seeing that.  There had to be something else going on here, didn’t there?

UPDATE:  There’s more in the New York Post.  Seems that the Mets and the league were going back and forth over it until the 11th hour and, ultimately, the Mets decided to back down because they’re in deep debt to Major League Baseball over all of their financial problems and didn’t want to rock the boat.  And the fact that it came out that MLB was behind the ban “deeply embarrassed Bud Selig.”

Oh, so sorry, Bud. It’s a shame that you ended up being embarrassed over your embarrassing acts.

The first native Lithuanian in MLB history made his debut last night

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Why yes, it is a slow news day. But let’s not allow that to take away from some MLB history.

Last night a young man named Dovydas Neverauskas pitched in mopup duty for the Pirates, who were getting hammered by the Cubs. Mr. Neverauskas pitched two innings, allowing one run, making him, by default, the most effective pitcher the Pirates sent out there last night.

That’s good, but that’s not what makes it historic. What makes it historic is that Neverauskas is the first person born and raised in Lithuania to make the Majors. Here’s some back story on him from last year’s Futures Game.

Lithuania is known for producing basketball players. Now it has its first major leaguer. Whether he becomes baseball’s Arvydas Sabonis is an open question.

Bumgarner: dirt bike adventure was “definitely not the most responsible decision”

MLB.com
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Madison Bumgarner talked to the press yesterday about his dirt bike injury and its fallout.

While there is some speculation that the Giants may change their approach to Bumgarner’s contract situation at some point as a result of all of this, yesterday Bumgarner noted that the organization has been supportive as have his teammates. He said he apologized to them as well for an act he characterized as “definitely not the most responsible decision.”

As for the wreck itself, Bumgarner was a bit embarrassed to say that it wasn’t the result of doing anything cool or spectacular on the bike. Sounds like he probably just laid the thing down. Guess it makes no real difference given that he’s injured either way, but you’d hope to at least get a cool story out of it. Alas.

Here’s video of him talking to the press. The best and most accurate takeaway from it: when he says “it sucks.” Yep.