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You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me

Remember that whole mess last year, when the Mets were going to wear first-responder caps on the 9/11 anniversary but then Bud Selig and Joe Torre wouldn’t let them, and the team meekly acquiesced rather than incur a fine from MLB?

Well, this year our team has avoided the problem in a way that’s pretty much the epitome of the modern-day Mets Way: There will be no dispute or ruckus over hats, because this time the Mets didn’t even ask for permission to wear them in the game. They’ll wear them during batting practice and the national anthem, and then go to the regulation hats, and then probably break their own arms patting themselves on the back for getting the prelude right and blowing the main event.

I’m speechless. With a year to work behind the scenes and come to an agreement, the best answer the Mets could come up with was … to surrender.

It’s absolutely indefensible.

I know the Mets have serious financial problems, and I accept that. I know the Mets are trying to rebuild their team the right way, a way that will take patience. And I accept that too. I know that part of that patience is watching young players struggle. And I accept that too, at least some of the time.

But I can’t accept this. It’s shameful and pathetic and frankly it’s fucking embarrassing. This isn’t a payroll figure, or a free-agent signing, or an on-field win. It’s standing up for a tradition that was honorable and moving and that deserves remembrance one day a year — something eminently within the control of an organization with some semblance of a backbone.

This is what I wrote [1] about it last year.

This is what Greg wrote [2].

And this [3], a year later, is what the Mets have done.

I don’t even know what to say.

I am a patient fan, perhaps a too patient one. I try to think of myself as a realist in assessing my team’s moves and performance given their unfortunate situation, and perhaps this has led me from realism into rationalization. But c’mon, really — this was so much easier than any of that.

Who cares what Joe Torre and Bud Selig order you to do on this point?

Who cares about MLB authenticators taking hats and policing headgear?

Pay the fine — or better yet, dare MLB to collect it.

This one is easy, ladies and gentlemen. No one would be on MLB’s side — no one. How is this even a question? How could you blow this simple thing so utterly?

I love the Mets, even when they don’t win. I love being a Mets fan, even when the on-field results threaten to plunge me into despair. But when the Mets organization says something of note or decides something that rises above the day-to-day noise, I assume the results will be either embarrassing, mealy-mouthed, disingenuous or all three. And usually I’m proven correct.

I want the Mets to win again. I want the stands to be full and loud and raucous again. But just as much, I’d like the Mets organization to stop being so reliably spineless and embarrassing. The rest will take time, but that last part is in the Mets’ power. And they can start any time they like.

Here’s a good way to kick things off: Wear the fucking hats — for all the obvious reasons no one should have to spell out.