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.