9/11, Baseball, and how Rob Manfred hates America

Even though he loves Capitalism, since his number one priority is continuing to line his own pockets while devising new ways to kick dirt on the integrity of the game as he lies through his teeth about doing so. In a sport where there’s a uniform set for every holiday, put out months before said holiday, simply to sell more hats and jerseys with unusual and pretty hideous colors for each team, most of which look like shit, he seems to be in the dark when it comes to an actual important day in our country’s history. But make sure you buy a pink Padres jersey for Mothers Day.

9/11, or as Ilhan Omar calls it, “that day some people did something”, is a day that resonates still in the minds of a lot of people. It happened almost 20 years ago, yet most of us can still remember it like it was yesterday. The aftermath of it continues to burden the lives of many of the first responders, so much so that those in government need to be told by comedians just how important it is they get the care they deserve, and that we need to put money and efforts towards their medical needs, rather than keep allocating funds to whatever big businesses got those in congress elected to serve in the first place. It’s one thing for a Senator to wear a 9/11 pin on their jacket, expecting them to actually give a shit about those that were there that day and help them receive the benefits they need is another.

The days following 9/11, our country banded together in a way we haven’t seen since. It’s hard to imagine in the world we live in today, where people are quick to blame others and hate for those who disagree with someones own beliefs runs as rampant as it does, that it wasn’t so long ago we all were united as one country that didn’t give a shit about whether someone was black or white, Democrat or Republican, or in any way different. Flags flew from every home and the entire country was suddenly Country music fans who were American above anything else. Those days are long gone, loving your country seems to put a target on your back and label you a white nationalist who sleeps on a bed of guns using an anti-abortion banner as a blanket. Regardless of your actual beliefs.

Which is why it’s sad how much we seem to need to remind people about 9/11 now. How over time it has become less of a day to remember those that died, those that saved peoples lives, and those that are still fighting something they have to carry now that stemmed from being at the site that day. In the days that followed, the first responders of New York were hailed as the heroes they were. Shows like Saturday Night Live gave them tributes and welcomed them on set. People have their own memories of 9/11 and the days that followed, but one thing that stood out, one thing that seemed to help bring us together in a time we needed it most, was Americas national pastime, Baseball.

The day it happened, September 11th, 2001, was a Tuesday. There was an entire day of baseball scheduled that night, however when the towers fell and the Pentagon was hit, Bud Selig knew to cancel all the games. Then when it was evident this was more than just “some thing some people did” in New York and Pennsylvania, the games were cancelled for the rest of the week. The country was in mourning, as well as in a state of shock. People were afraid and millions of questions were going through our minds. That’s why when MLB began play again, it showed us we don’t need to live in fear. People could gather together in large masses to watch sports and be entertained for a few hours, without worrying about the problems in the world at the moment or if more horrible things were on their way. One of the most remembered images from those games that happened when baseball resumed is Sammy Sosa running the bases with a little American Flag, as well as out to right field waving it proudly. Today, Sosa is a walking human baby penis in a top hat, but back then he was so much more, and forgetting the corked bats and horse steroids that would kill a normal man, this is how I remember him.

Living in New York my entire life, 9/11 had more of impact here than most places in the country, and continues to do so. My father was a cop who went down to ground zero in the days that followed, telling me it was the worst thing he had ever seen in his life. That’s quite a statement, especially coming from someone who is also a Mets fan. Which is why some of the most important and memorable moments in the days that followed to me have to do with Mets games. I’m an Indians fan, but at the time it was tough to find a way to watch Tribe games out of market, so watching the Mets was my only option for baseball. We weren’t a Yankee household, and for that I’ll always be grateful, but the way they honored 9/11 along with the Mets was an important part of bringing the city together. The memory of the games in New York when play resumed, the players wearing NYPD and FDNY hats, the ceremonies honoring the first responders before the games, playing God Bless America (which continues to this day), Bush’s perfect strike before the World Series, John Franco basically being a regular New Yorker but captaining that team with and FDNY hat, and Mike Piazza, New Yorks adopted son not named Jeter, hitting a home run in the first game back. Those were things that helped us feel normal again.

Which is why it’s ridiculous how Manfred and MLB treat the day now. Pete Alonso and the Mets wanted to wear hats honoring the NYPD and FDNY again, and MLB shot them down. The teams uniforms need to be “consistent” was their excuse, which is bullshit. New Era and MLB don’t have any licensing agreement with the FDNY or NYPD, therefore they can’t peddle the hats the Mets would’ve worn in order to make money. Instead, all teams wore hats with 9/11 memorial patches on them, which you can buy right here for $39.99! None of the proceeds going towards 9/11 charities or causes, of course.

The Mets decided to say fuck that, and knowing how much of an evil corporate dirtbag Manfred and the MLB are, wore cleats honoring 9/11 without even asking permission. They knew they’d be told “no” as theres no money to be made by MLB in the cleat department, so they just went ahead and did it. It was announced MLB wouldn’t be fining them this morning for it, but the fact that we even had to wonder whether or not they would is pretty telling, and ridiculous.

The 2001 Mets also were told they weren’t allowed to wear the hats, but that didn’t stop them, which isn’t surprising given their manager was Bobby Valentine and he wasn’t exactly someone who would listen to authority, or follow the rules.

So this isn’t something new that MLB has been doing, they’ve been telling the Mets they couldn’t do this for 18 years now. In 2011, on the ten year anniversary, they did it again. It’s time the league wakes up and starts to see that honoring those who protect us should be about more than a cash-grab. The fact they won’t allow it might be one of the reasons the country has continued to become more disrespectful to cops on a daily basis, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Rob Manfred pop up in one of those videos of people throwing water or milk at cops while they try to do their job.

I don’t see why, for one single game, on a day that has importance to the entire city of New York as well as the country, it would be a burden for the Mets to wear hats honoring NYPD, FDNY, the Port Authority, or any other first responder they feel deserves recognition. There will always be consistency in 9/11. It’s a day that will consistently happen yearly, after the 10th and before the 12th, and we need to remember any way we can. Because as the years go on, and the Senators and Congressmen elected try to forget or downplay the significance of that day as much as possible so they won’t have to put any of their time, effort, or more importantly, money, into those that need it due to the events of that day, any effort to honor it should not be taken lightly. Hopefully in the years that come things will change, but until they do, Manfred will still look at it as just a day that “some people did some things” that allow him to sell a few more overpriced hats.

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