Sometimes you need to take matters into your own hands when the organization that runs the sport you play simply doesn’t get it. Sometimes it take a rookie to teach the elder statesmen a thing or two about respect. It just seems that New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso continually seems to be the guy to do the teaching.
After Major League Baseball (MLB) told the 24-year-old that he and his team couldn’t wear custom hats paying tribute to the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and the New York City Police Department (NYPD), so Alonso decided to take it upon himself to commemorate the heroes of 9/11 in another way.
The MLB has a uniform policy of "unanimity," meaning that if there are any alterations to uniforms they have to be universal throughout the league. Basically, their stance is that if they let one team do something different, they’d have to allow all teams special exemptions at some point.
While that’s understandable, to a degree, it’s a little different when it comes to society changing events like 9/11.
Regardless, Alonso took it upon himself to have custom cleats made for every one of his teammates on the Mets ahead of their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ironically, the Mets defeated the D'backs, scoring nine runs on 11 hits (9/11).
ESPN posted a video of the tribute on their Facebook page:
Alonso, who leads the entire league in home runs in just his first full professional season, said this was something “we just wanted to do” amid the possible backlash from MLB brass.
“This is something that we just wanted to do,” Alonso said, according to Yahoo! Sports. “I feel like if MLB kind of got their hands on it it may not have been approved. But I’m just really happy that we kind of banded together in the clubhouse and made something cool happen.”
This isn’t the first time Alonso paid tribute to first responders.
Back in July, after Alonso won the annual Home Run Derby contest during the All-Star break, he took 10 percent of his $1 million prize and donated it to two separate charities, the Wounded Warrior Project and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
As I reported in July:
The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is a charity formed to “honor and empower Wounded Warriors who incurred a physical or mental injury, illnesses, or wound, co-incident to your military service on or after September 11, 2001,” according to the charity’s website.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation helps “honor” and support “military and first responders who continue to make the supreme sacrifice of life and limb for our country.”
After Alonso’s latest show of respect, he commented that he doesn’t just want to be known for hitting home runs:
I’ve just been thankful and gracious for this opportunity. For me, this season has been an absolute fantasy. I just want to give back. I want to help. I don’t just want to be known as a good baseball player, I want to be known as a good person, too. And I just want to really recognize what this day is about. I don’t want it to be a holiday. I want it to be a day of remembrance of everything that happened. It was an awful day.
Good for you, Pete! Show ‘em how it’s done.