MLB: Mets can't wear special NYPD hats

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MLB: Mets can't wear special NYPD hats

From Comcast SportsNet Sunday, September 11, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) -- Major League Baseball denied the New York Mets' request to wear baseball caps Sunday night honoring New York emergency service departments for their game against the Chicago Cubs on the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations, told The Associated Press in a phone interview the decision was made to keep policy consistent throughout baseball.

"Certainly it's not a lack of respect," Torre said. "We just felt all the major leagues are honoring the same way with the American flag on the uniform and the cap. This is a unanimity thing."

The Mets wanted to wear caps honoring police, firefighters and other first responders like the ones they wore on Sept. 21, 2001, in the first professional sporting event in New York after the World Trade Center collapsed 10 days earlier. They spoke with Torre on several occasions over the course of the last month.

"They certainly understood and respected," baseball's decision, Torre said. "I certainly understood what they wanted to do in regards to wearing the hats. I used my history with the fact that we were in the World Series 10 years ago."

During the 2001 World Series, the Yankees wore caps with emergency service logos during a pregame ceremony, but wore their blue hats with a white interlocking "NY" for the games.

Torre also said there was recent precedence for the policy. The Washington Nationals wanted to wear caps honoring the Navy SEALs that were killed in Afghanistan in early August and the team was allowed to wear them before the game.

The Mets said in a statement Sunday they followed the guidelines set in a league-wide memo issued by MLB for games played on Sept 11.

Some Mets wore caps, such as "NYPD" and "FDNY," during batting practice. Player representative Josh Thole said he and his teammates were contemplating wearing those caps during the game.

"I think it will be a nice gesture," Thole said. "What are they going to do, fine us?"

Several minutes later he returned and said the caps were a "no-go" because he was told MLB was adamant.

"If we got a vote in, I think we'd want to wear the hats," David Wright said, "but at the end of the day Major League Baseball makes that call, and we're going to respect that."

Instead, the Mets wore their black caps with blue brims and a blue-and-orange interlocking "NY" when they took the field to face the Cubs.

Wright, though, was seen in the dugout early in the game wearing a first responder hat.

The Mets held a 24-minute ceremony of remembrance under dimmed stadium lights before the game. Fans held electronic candles as bagpipers and drummers stood on the infield and first responders lined the basepaths. Each of the Mets and Cubs escorted a member of "Tuesday's Children," a charity for families affected by the attacks, onto the field and they stood with the uniformed emergency-service workers.

A 100-by-300 foot flag was held by first responders and victims' family members.

Marc Anthony sang the national anthem, as he did on Sept. 21, 2001. Mike Piazza, who hit an uplifting homer in the eighth inning to help the Mets beat the Atlanta Braves that night, caught a ceremonial first pitch from New York native John Franco, a teammate on the 2001 squad.

The caps worn during the ceremony will be autographed and sold on Mets.com. Proceeds will be distributed to charities through the Mets' foundation.

Celtics miss an opportunity in first half with LeBron in foul trouble

Celtics miss an opportunity in first half with LeBron in foul trouble

CLEVELAND – There are 240 minutes of play in an NBA game, but Boston’s 112-99 Game 4 loss to Cleveland came down to seven (six minutes and 46 seconds to be precise).

That would be the amount of time left in the second quarter that LeBron James spent on the bench with four personal fouls (a first for him in the first half of an NBA playoff game ever) and Boston ahead by 10 points.

Boston could not have asked for a better scenario than that, especially considering how well they had played up to that point in the game and again, knowing that James wasn’t about to set foot back on the court until the third quarter.

But here’s the problem.

Boston’s 10-point lead when James left with four fouls.

Halftime rolled around and Boston’s lead was still at just 10 points.

Celtics players agreed that not finding a way to increase their lead with James out was among the more pivotal stretches of play in Game 4.

“They did a really good job of not letting it (the 10-point lead) get out of control while he was on the bench,” Boston’s Marcus Smart told CSNNE.com. “Every time we scored, they came back and scored.  They answered back with everything we answered.”

While many will point to that stretch as a time when the Celtics failed to make the necessary adjustments to increase their chances of winning, it wasn’t as if the Cavs are a one-man team.

“They still have two All-Stars out on the court,” said Boston’s head coach Brad Stevens, referring to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. “With the best player in the world they go to unreal, but they’re still a pretty darned good team when those guys are out there.”

Irving had a playoff career-high 42 points which included him scoring 12 of Cleveland’s 14 points in the final 6:46 of the second with James on the bench.

“He’s one of the best point guards in the NBA, and you know, you can tell he puts in a lot of work in his game, a lot of respect from myself, my teammates,” said Avery Bradley. “We have to do a better job at defending him as a unit, trying to make everything hard on him. He definitely got a great rhythm going tonight, and I felt like we had a chance to make it harder on him.”

James still finished with a strong stat line for the night – 34 points, six assists, five rebounds and a blocked shot.

As good as he was on the court, the Celtics have to be kicking themselves for not doing more with the time James on the bench in the second quarter which in hindsight, was among the bigger factors in them now returning home facing elimination as opposed to being tied at two games apiece in this series.

“What are you going to do?” said Cleveland’s Kevin Love. “You have to continue to fight through it. At halftime, we were down 10. We made some adjustments on the defensive end and we just fought; we needed to. They got everything out of us tonight in that second half, but we played more inspired basketball as well.”