Major League Baseball denies the Mets the right to wear 9/11 tribute caps

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A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. Exhibit A, Major League Baseball.

The Mets — the team which in many ways served as the focal point of baseball’s return after 9/11 — had petitioned to allow players to wear NYPD and NYFD tribute caps in honor of the 10th anniversary. Just as they did after 9/11 itself.  MLB denied it, however, issuing a league-wide memo on uniforms, saying teams must wear their everyday caps with a small flag on the side instead. A no-go for the Mets. A ruling to which they adhered for tonight’s game (the Mets lost to the Cubs 10-6  in 11 innings). A stupid, stupid ruling to which they adhered.

Yes, Major League Baseball routinely denies the requests of teams to alter their caps in any way and yes, it’s understandable. There was a trend several years ago of players writing messages to injured teammates and friends and stuff, and baseball felt the need to crack down lest caps turn into the next generation of Jim McMahon headbands. I get it.

But this is just idiotic.  No one’s sensibilities would have been offended by this. Given that the tribute was to be tied to this, the anniversary of a date set in time, it would not open the door to other unofficial hats or “tributes” to more questionable causes. Baseball’s decision here makes no sense to me. It’s mindless adherence to a rule and, ultimately, it’s heartless in effect.

Bad move, Bud. Bad move.

Two great Mariano Rivera stories

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In addition to getting unanimous support from Hall of Fame voters, Mariano Rivera’s election is getting universal praise from fans and the baseball community. I mean, at least it seems so. If you see someone out there in the wild really mad that Rivera was elected, please, let me know. But don’t approach such people. They’re probably dangerously imbalanced and might cause harm to you.

From what we’ve seen, anyway, there is no one who doesn’t love Rivera and his election. That love has come out in the form of anecdotes people are sharing this morning. I’ve seen two that made me particularly happy. One “ha ha” happy, the other “aww” happy.

The “ha ha” comes from Michael Young, who shared the ballot with Rivera this year and whose Rangers actually beat Rivera’s Yankees in the 2010 ALCS. Not that they had much success against Mo:

Now the “aww.” It comes from Danny Burawa, who had a few major league cups of coffee after coming up in the Yankees system. From his Instagram last night:

In 2012, in the middle of my first big league spring training, I tore my oblique during a game (I wound up missing the whole season). First cuts hadn’t been made and the Yankees let me stick around to rehab with the big leaguers for a few days. The next day, after finishing my rehab, I returned to the locker room which was totally empty. I’m sitting at my locker getting ready to go home when in walks Mariano Rivera. Considering I was a nobody A-baller, I kept my eyes down on my feet and minded my own business. Next thing I know, he’s in the chair next to me, telling me his story, about failing as a starter, about an injury he had when he was younger, about how the setbacks we think are fatal usually end up as speed bumps on a longer, grander road. This is the greatest of all time, taking the time to cheer up a nobody, for no other reason than he thought it was the right thing to do. Great pitcher, greater human, congratulations Mo!

People use that “great player, better person” construction a lot. I often roll my eyes when I hear it because it’s pretty subjective and, I suspect, the “better person” part can’t be vouched for outside the subject’s friend or peer group. Doesn’t sound that way with Rivera, though. He simply sounds like a prince of a guy.