Marlins pay tribute to first responders

Players, coaches don caps honoring police, firefighters

Marlins pay tribute to first responders

MIAMI -- The giant scoreboard at Marlins Park displayed the message: "Marlins: Patriotic Night." The Miami players got into the spirit by wearing police and firefighter caps from various South Florida departments.

Manager Dan Jennings sported an NYPD cap during his pregame interview. No one at the ballpark on Friday was forgetting the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Just to be able to wear this hat, NYPD, it's such a prideful thing to be able to do," Jennings said. "Knowing so many men and women, those first responders, who put their lives on the line, unselfishly."

9/11 remembrance at Marlins Park

The Marlins wore the caps during batting practice before facing the Nationals in the first of three games at Marlins Park.

The attacks on the World Trade Center continue to touch the lives of so many from so many walks of life.

"It's a great honor for us to recognize true heroes," Jennings said. "Those guys and ladies were certainly true heroes."

Koehler gets a surprise

Marlins right-hander Tom Koehler is a New Yorker who attended Stony Brook University. His father, Rolf, is a former NYPD Sergeant.

Fourteen years ago, Rolf Koehler, was on undercover detail during the attacks. On Friday, he and his family were at Marlins Park, cheering on the Marlins.

"We responded after the second tower got hit," Rolf recalled. "We all got mobilized. By the time we got out there it was more of a rescue. It was terrible."

Rolf watched batting practice from behind home plate on Friday. He was touched that the Marlins players wore hats supporting police officers and firefighters.

"To me, it just means we've sustained," he said. "I see how New York is so vibrant now. It really means a lot.

"New Yorkers have a different approach at it, because it was a personal attack. It was an attack on all of us. To see the support, and just the response, and that we never forget is important to me."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.