Over the last week, we’ve all been taken back to the tragic events that took place 10 years ago on Sept. 11. We all remember exactly where we were and how we felt that day and in the days that followed.
The image that sticks out in my mind was a sign of hope.
The New York Mets hosted the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 21 in the first sporting event in New York after the attacks. It was an emotional night that saw Mike Piazza hit a two-run homerun in the bottom of the 8th that gave the Mets the win.
At any other time, it would have been just another ball game. But on that particular night, it showed that terrorism couldn’t stop Americans from going on with their lives. It gave hope to the 41,000+ New Yorkers in Shea Stadium, and the millions around the country, that we would prevail.
It proved James Earl Jones’s famous monologue in the movie “Field of Dreams” to be true.
“Baseball has marked the time….it’s a part of our past. It reminds us of all that was once good and it could be again.”
Flash forward to this past Sunday, the 10th anniversary.
The entire sporting community set aside the time and dedicated their pregame activities to remember the fallen.
One especially touching scene came from Citi Field, the new home of the New York Mets. New Yorkers once again came out to remember.
A huge American flag carried by first responders and children of 9/11 victims covered the outfield, bagpipes played “Taps” and thousands of fans held candles. It was a sight that could give anyone chills.
Add the chants of “USA! USA!” in the back ground as John Franco, a native New Yorker and former Mets pitcher, threw out the first pitch to his former teammate Piazza.
Add the tears in the eyes of Bobby Valentine, Mets manager from 1996 to 2002, as he started commentary and it all made it a moment many will never forget.
What should have been a monumental night of remembrance was somewhat tarnished.
Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig ordered that the Mets not wear the NYPD and FDNY caps that they wore during the pregame festivities in accordance with their uniformity laws.
They were also given this order in 2001, but refused to abide by it due to wanting to honor the first responders.
That was the plan Sunday night as well, but Major League Baseball officials took the caps from them before the game.
It is ridiculous that Selig couldn’t make an exception for this game. Even the highly unpopular NFL commissioner Roger Goodell gave players a free pass this weekend to honor those who lost their lives.
This is in New York, the city that suffered the deadliest terrorist attack ever on American soil, and you don’t let that team wear hats to support the first responders?
This is the same league that lets the San Diego Padres wear hideous camouflage uniforms and the Houston Astros wear throwback jerseys that could hurt your eyes if there’s enough light.
The Mets aren’t the best team in their city and haven’t been for a long time, but that one night 10 years ago, they not only represented New York, they gave hope that everything would be normal again in this country.
Bud Selig and Major League Baseball made a great effort league-wide to pay tribute to the memories of those lost, but this incident left a sour taste in mouths around all of baseball.