After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the Mets -- in defiance of Major League Baseball -- played all of their remaining games wearing hats representing all of the different city agencies that were first responders that day.
The Mets have been told no by MLB in the years since about wearing the hats during games on Sept. 11, including in 2011 when they wanted to wear the hats on the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
"We're just trying to keep it consistent," MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre told The Associated Press at the time. "Certainly it's not a lack of respect. It's just something we feel is the right thing to do."
Eight years later, MLB is still refusing to let the Mets wear the hats in-game.
While the Mets wore first responder hats before the game on Wednesday night, they were required to switch to their regular hats for the game itself. Pete Alonso had wanted the team to wear the first responder hats in-game just as they had in the days following the attacks. But he was shut down by MLB.
"Originally I wanted to do some hats for us," Alonso said after Wednesday night's game. "I wanted to do custom hats with whatever group of first responders -- if someone wanted to do FDNY or Port Authority they had the choice. Unfortunately there's a lot of red tape with Major League Baseball, and they kind of shot that idea down. I think it's kind of sad that guys weren't allowed to -- since that day the first game back, they kind of shut it down every year since. I think that's really unfortunate."
As a way to still honor the first responders after being rebuffed on the in-game hats, Alonso ordered he and his teammates custom cleats.
"For me, I did just come from a place where I want to show support not just to the victims but to the families as well, because no one knows how deep those emotional scars can be. Living here, just kind of interacting with everybody, I've tried to immerse myself -- just kind of the New York living. ... I just want to show recognition to all the people who are just heroes, just ordinary people that just felt the sense of urgency and the admirable call of duty. This is for all those people who lost their lives and all those people that did so much to help."
Alonso noted that the Mets didn't ask MLB permission to wear the first responder cleats since the belief was that they would say no, so they just did it.
"I can completely relate," 2001 Met Todd Zeile said on SNY's postgame show on Wednesday while reacting to what Alonso did. "I was a part of that 9/11 experience and that Mets team in 2001. We wore the hats in remembrance of the victims at the time. We were told by the league office that we were not allowed to do it. We did it anyway, Not trying to be martyrs, but at the same time trying to show support in just the way that Pete described it -- for the men and women that had sacrificed themselves and for this community called New York that was trying to heal."