NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After several promising months, the 2021 season has gone off the rails for the Mets and their fans.
At 63-67, the team is in third place in the NL East, 7 1/2 games back of the Atlanta Braves. New York has lost seven of its last 10 games and is 8-19 in the month of August.
The recent results have brought out the boos from fans, and that has apparently rankled second baseman and trade deadline acquisition Javier Baez, and other members of the team. After hitting a 444-foot homer in Sunday’s 9-4 win over the Washington Nationals, Baez was seen giving a “thumbs down” gesture, which he explained afterwards was a message to the fans.
“It feels bad when I strike out and I get booed. It doesn’t really get to me, but I want to let them know that when we have success, we’re going to do the same thing, to let [fans] know how it feels,” Baez told reporters. “…They got to be better. I play for the fans and love the fans. If they’re going to do that, they’re going to put more pressure on the team.”
The comments from Baez weren’t taken well by Mets fans, who quickly reacted on Twitter.
This might be the worst thing I have ever seen as a baseball fan – you are a professional baseball player, the fans have every right to let you know how they are feeling.
— Andrew (@CoachAndyDepp) August 29, 2021
Hey Javy. Do you realize your fan base is thirsting for you and the team to play better? Do you know how much money a fan spends to watch the team? Turn your thumbs up my friend. Because these fans pay your salary.
— James A Goldoni (@GoldoniJames) August 29, 2021
Baez wasn’t the only player that made the gesture. Kevin Pillar and Francisco Lindor also gave the thumbs down, CBS2’s Otis Livingston reported.
Lindor has a reputation as a clubhouse leader. He signed a 10-year, $341 million contract extension during the offseason.
Hours after the players spoke out, the team released a statement from team president Sandy Alderson saying that the comments from Baez were “totally unacceptable” and that he would be meeting with the players and coaches to express that message directly.
“In a post-game press conference today, Javy Baez stated that his “thumbs down” gesture during the game was a message to fans who recently have booed him and other players for poor performance. These comments, and any gestures by him or other players with a similar intent, are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
Mets fans are understandably frustrated over the team’s recent performance. The players and the organization are equally frustrated, but fans at Citi Field have every right to express their own disappointment. Booing is every fan’s right.
The Mets will not tolerate any player gesture that is unprofessional in its meaning or is directed in a negative way toward our fans. I will be meeting with our players and staff to convey this message directly.
Mets fans are loyal, passionate, knowledgeable and more than willing to express themselves. We love them for every one of these qualities.”
Owner Steve Cohen told Joel Sherman of the New York Post on Monday, “These are young guys and sometimes we forget they are on a public stage and can make mistakes. They hit the third rail, though, by messing with fans, and it is unacceptable. Hopefully, this is a teaching moment and they will learn from this.”
Livingston spoke to more Mets fans.
“As a baseball fan, it’s only fair for the fans to show their frustration. The players who make all that money, to be giving the disrespect to the fans back. I just think that’s unacceptable,” said Jim Barker of Middle Village.
“I think its terrible. I also think it’s terrible for the fans to be booing the team as well,” another fan said.
The Mets have 30 games left this season, including 15 in front of the fans at Citi Field.
CBS2’s Otis Livingston contributed to this report.