Slumping New York Mets infielder Javy Baez on Sunday said he and other players are using thumbs-down gestures to “boo” fans who haven’t been supportive enough of the struggling team.
Baez claimed the jeers don’t bother him, but said he and his teammates are aiming the gesture at fans just the same “to let them know how it feels,” according to ESPN.
Javy Baez on the thumbs down sign Mets players have been flashing to the crowd after their hits:"When we don't get success, we're going to get booed. So they [the fans] are going to get booed when we get success." pic.twitter.com/n2jjMCIXIU
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 29, 2021
“They’ve got to do better,” Baez said of the fans, adding that they’re putting more pressure on the team with their boos.
Mets management wasn’t amused.
“These comments, and any gestures by him or other players with a similar intent, are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” the team’s president, Sandy Alderson, said in a statement, adding that “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.”
Baez was acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the July 30 trade deadline to help the team make a push toward the playoffs. Instead, Baez has hit just .210 and the Mets have been in free fall, losing 19 out of 27 games in August and dropping from first place in the NL East to a distant third.
Francisco Lindor and Kevin Pillar were also seen doing the thumbs down, but Pillar said on Twitter: “No I’m not booing the fans. We are having fun.”
Team owner Steve Cohen was much more muted in his response, tweeting:
I miss the days when the biggest controversy was the black jerseys
— Steven Cohen (@StevenACohen2) August 30, 2021
“Javy being a new guy here and getting to know our fan base, and some of the reactions that our fan base has, I just see it as something that he’s learning,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said, according to the New York Daily News.
Fans, he said, “have the right to react however they want.”
Twitter users stepped right up to greet the Mets:
People get mad at me. In 2006 we won 10 games in a row on the road and set a Met record and came home and got blown out by the Pirates who were in last place. We got booooooooos off the field. I’ll laughed because Met nation is so passionate. Get it or go home. I’m sorry . #lgm
— Paul Lo Duca (@paulloduca16) August 30, 2021
— Back Page Guy NYDN (@BackPageGuyNYDN) August 29, 2021
For years we have – justifiably – fricasseed @Mets management and ownership endlessly.But this from Javy Baez is THE dumbest thing ever to come out of CitiField. He and any other player who “boos” the fans can shove this up their ass. And @StevenACohen2 should get rid of them. pic.twitter.com/P0NklgDgaF
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) August 29, 2021
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) August 30, 2021
It’s impossible to think of another prospective free agent making a bigger public relations mistake then Javier Baez did today. Burned one bridge, and likely severely damaged his chances w other teams. Francisco Lindor needs to prepare an explanation for his participation, too.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) August 30, 2021
So Javy Baez's thumbs down is a 'boo' against the fans. Not smart. When a 2-11 streak blows you out of playoff contention, do you expect the fans to be happy? Don't they have a right as paying customers to show their disappointment? You need a thicker skin to play in NY. @WFAN660 pic.twitter.com/xtQGQDzuRH
— Richard Neer (@RealRichardNeer) August 29, 2021
The #Mets declaring war on their own fans is a plot twist I didn’t see coming. What a complete clown show.
— Mike Vaccaro (@MikeVacc) August 29, 2021
The only time I’d root for Jake Paul is if he was fighting Javier Baez.