On the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the New York Mets found a special way to honor the victims, courtesy of rookie first baseman Pete Alonso.
The 24-year-old ordered custom cleats with different designs, many of which had either a red, white and blue theme, or the New York City skyline and included the letters FDNY, NYPD and EMT to honor the first responders.
It actually wasn’t even his initial plan.
Alonso, who leads the majors with 47 home runs, originally wanted to order custom hats to wear, but he was denied permission by MLB. Yet when he turned to the cleats, Alonso decided the heck with MLB’s approval and ordered them anyway.
“For me, I just come from a place where I want to show support, not just for the victims but their families as well, because no one really knows how deep those emotional scars can be,” he told reporters after the game. “Living here, just kind of interacting with everybody, I’ve tried to immerse myself in New York living, and I see traces of it every single day, little bits and pieces of it. I just want to show recognition to all the people who are just heroes, just ordinary people who just felt a sense of urgency and an admirable call of duty. So this is for all of those people who lost their lives and all of those people who did so much to help.”
It is not the first time Alonso has shown his appreciation to first responders, he donated a portion of his Home Run Derby winnings this summer to Wounded Warriors and Tunnel to Towers Foundation, the latter created in honor of a firefighter killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.
In addition to the custom cleats, the Mets — and visiting team Arizona Diamondbacks — also took the field with first responders by their side during the national anthem and spent some time with the families, including children and grandchildren, of 9/11 victims.
And as if that wasn’t enough, they won the game by scoring nine runs on 11 hits.
“What a great day, just to have all the first responders on the field, getting to stand between them. That was neat in its own right,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “Then to come up and win a game for them, and to get nine runs on 11 hits, that’s even cooler. A little destiny for the day.”
The win also pulled the Mets to within two games of the second Wild Card spot.
Added Alonso: "If we keep winning games by a lot, I think we're going to have to keep wearing the shoes."