When the anniversary of the horrific 9/11 attacks comes around each MLB season, it is always a special night for the Mets. Pete Alonso has never experienced it in New York before, which is why he wanted to make a statement this season when he wore custom cleats commemorating the date.
Those cleats -- along with a custom bat -- were donated by Alonso to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum on Tuesday.
"To have the cleats that you had designed for this anniversay of 9/11, with all of the symbolism attached to that and the cooperation of your teammates in wearing them on the anniversary is such a meaningful gesture of remembrance and respect," Alice M. Greenwald, the President and CEO of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, said at the event. "I think everyone across the country was moved by it."
Alonso was able to walk around the museum before the ceremony, and he was impacted by what he saw through its halls. He was simply honored to have his "stinky, old pair of cleats" sit with the many artifacts for many years to come.
"First of all, all I can say is I'm just extremely humbled," he said. "There's some absolutely breathtaking artifacts here. The fact that you guys are willing to have me donate a stinky, old pair of cleats and a bat really, to me, it's just so humbling."
Alonso bought cleats for all of his teammates to go along with his own, and they all wore them during the game even though they didn't inform the league first. Alonso also wanted to wear first-responder hats, but he said the MLB told him he wasn't allowed to. Still, the league didn't fine them for wearing the cleats.
As of now, it doesn't look like the league will accept it next year either, but Alonso is confident something can be worked out down the road.
"For me, hopefully we can make some headway and make some changes," he told SNY's Eamon McAnaney. "But, for right now, I was just trying to do a good thing. Just trying to show a gift of appreciation to my teammates and show my appreciation to the city. Hopefully we'll be able to get something done. I think we'll be able to."
There was a reason he and the Mets defied the league, though. Alonso wanted to pay homage to all those who lost their lives and the families affected by those losses today, and it was the best way he knew how.
"One thing I wanted to do was bring awareness to everything that 9/11 resembles, not just the hurt but the recovery. ...Just being here in New York, I wanted to show every bit of gratitude I could, not just for the first responders but for the families as well who were directly impacted.
"You guys will not be forgotten.