Bud Selig is none too happy with the Mets. Apparently, Bud wanted to deny them the ability to wear NYPD, NYFD, and other first responders’ hats in favor of the the MLB sanctioned hats (which are on sale now, by the way!) and have them just shut up and do what he said. It was, I guess, wrong of the Mets to have human feelings of disappointment, sorrow and even some anger for being denied the ability to honor the heroes of that tragic day ten years ago.
A Mets official told the newspaper that the commissioner said the team threw the league “under the bus.”
How, exactly, is telling reporters that they weren’t allowed to wear the hats, when they were, in fact, told they were not allowed to wear the hats by Mr. Joe Torre, MLB disciplinarian and Bud Selig employee, the new definition of throwing someone under a bus? That’s what happened, isn’t it?
Torre tries to explain why the Mets criticism of the league office is unfair:
“Nothing was ordered,” he said during an interview on Sirius XM Radio. “I think they were sent a memo, but in no way was it heavy-handed. I don’t think money was ever an issue or they were ever threatened with a heavy-fisted fine. If that’s the case, I have no knowledge of it.”
I see. They were told they weren’t allowed to wear the hats, but they weren’t explicitly told what the punishment would be if they went against the memo-that-wasn’t-an-order-but-more-of-a-suggestion-that-needed-to-be-followed.
That’s like telling a kid that he needs to eat his vegetables and getting mad that the kid went and complained to his friends that he had to eat lima beans.
“Hey, we never said Johnny would get spanked or have his XBox taken away,” said Dad. “We told him we expected him to eat a horrible, disgusting substance instead of eating candy and we are, frankly, a little peeved that he mentioned how much he hated that decision to his friends during naptime. I mean, what the hell is that all about? Eat the damn lima beans and like it because I said so.”
Maybe Torre means that the Mets could have worn the hats during the game and MLB wouldn’t have fined them? Maybe that is what he is implying by saying they were never threatened with a big fine.
Maybe he delivered his official memo but also verbally said something like, “We do not approve of your wearing the hats.” (wink) “We have some really appropriate hats designed to commemorate 9/11 that all the teams will be wearing.” (wink) “But you know how stuff happens, maybe those hats don’t fit right or something.” (wink) “I’m not saying they don’t fit, but if they happened to not fit and you happened to have those NYPD hats laying around,” (wink) “I think we might understand if you had no choice but to wear those hats.” (wink) (wink)
Maybe he expected the Mets to have asked what the punishment would be before just going ahead and blindly following his ruling. This isn’t exactly the Marines where “orders get followed or people die.” It’s baseball. Maybe this was an order that wasn’t really an order and the Mets failed to understand that. Maybe this is how the discussion should have gone, in Torre and Bud’s eyes:
Mets: Hey, can we wear these NYPD hats, it means an awful lot to us personally and to the city.
Torre: No, you should wear these official 9/11 hats.
Mets: Well, what would happen if we wore the NYPD hats anyway?
Torre: (looks around) I would be displeased.
Mets: How displeased? Would you fine us?
Torre: Not necessarily.
Mets: Would we lose draft picks or waiver rights or anything like that?
Torre: Of course not.
Mets: So what would happen?
Torre: I would be displeased.
Torre: Yes. If anyone asks, I would have to say I was displeased.
Mets: I think I get it.
Torre: So you understand that I can not give you permission to wear those hats?
Torre: And you understand that I would be displeased if you did not abide by my decision?
Torre: Very good. (wink)
Instead, what Torre seems to be saying is that they asked, he said no, and the Mets just went with it. He thought the case was closed and was surprised to find out they were upset about it. He can’t be blamed because the Mets didn’t read between the lines. Where is Mike Quade to explain unwritten rules when you need him?
But really, what this probably comes down to is a short-sighted decision made by someone who didn’t feel compelled to take extenuating circumstances into account in the decision. The MLB has existing rules about player uniforms, and had created an officially sanctioned exception they felt was enough of a tribute. Now they are seeing the bigger picture and are embarassed, so rather than own up to making a decision in haste, or possibly even admitting an error in judgement, they would rather try to turn the blame back on the team that “created” the mess by having the temerity to want to do something original and meaningful instead of corporately approved and branded.
Well played, Bud. You had an opportunity to show that you care about people ahead of profits; that you care about a sense of unity ahead of a rulebook and uniform code; and you care about doing what is right ahead of blindly wielding supreme executive power over your little fiefdom. You couldn’t have swung and missed more if you were Corey Patterson swinging at a low and inside breaking ball.
What makes all of this hilarious and sad is that this is all about guys wearing hats while playing a children’s game. MB said it about as well as anyone in the last comment thread:
I just don’t understand the big deal about the hats. They’re fucking hats. The Mets weren’t asking to wear a different uniform. I could understand if MLB didn’t want them to do that, but this is a hat. A fucking hat. A motherfucking hat. It’s beyond belief that MLB would give a shit about something like that on 9/11. Unbelievable.
Again, well played, Bud. Expect your humanitarian award any day now.