Yanks prez defends team's response

NEW YORK -- Yankees team president Randy Levine called it "very sad" that former Mets manager Bobby Valentine would choose to say the Yankees were AWOL during the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Valentine, appearing on WFAN Radio, made his comments on Wednesday, 12 years to the day of the tragedy.

"Bobby Valentine should know better than to be pointing fingers on a day like today," Levine said in a phone conversation. "Today is a day of reflection and prayer. The Yankees, as has been well documented, visited Ground Zero, the Armory, the Javits Center, St. Vincent's Hospital and many other places during that time. We continue to honor the 9/11 victims and responders.

"On this day, he would have been better to have kept his thoughts to himself rather than seeking credit, which is very sad to me."

Valentine, who was the Mets' manager when the attacks took place, said he had to counsel players he said felt were much more active in the community than their Yankees counterparts.

"Let it be said that during the time from 9/11 to 9/21, the Yankees were [AWOL]," Valentine said on WFAN. "You couldn't find a Yankee on the streets of New York City. You couldn't find a Yankee down at Ground Zero, talking to the guys who were working 24/7."

He added: "Many of them didn't live here, and so it wasn't their fault. And many of them did not partake in all that, so there was some of that jealousy going around [among Mets players]. Like, 'Why are we so tired? Why are we wasted? Why have we been to the funerals and the firehouses, and the Yankees are getting all the credit for bringing baseball back?' And I said, 'This isn't about credit, guys. This is about doing the right thing.' "

On Wednesday, players, coaches and umpires across Major League Baseball wore American flag patches embroidered on the sides of their caps in commemoration of the tragedy. Special lineup cards were used, and patriotic on-field tributes were planned for the day's 15 games. Flags were half-staff, and there were moments of silence across baseball.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.