MLB

Mets' Baez gives booing fans thumbs down but president condemns gesture

By Sports Desk August 29, 2021

New York Mets star Javier Baez insisted "if we win together, then we're going to lose together" after explaining his thumbs down celebration amid boos from the team's fans.

Baez arrived from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline, but the World Series champion and two-time MLB All-Star has struggled to impress in New York, where fans have voiced their dissatisfaction.

Since joining the Mets, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Baez has hit .207/.258/.414 with three homers and five RBIs in 16 appearances.

The Mets (63-67) are third in the National League (NL) East and seven games adrift in the Wild Card race.

Baez homered in Sunday's 9-4 win over the Washington Nationals and celebrated by giving the crowd a thumbs down, a gesture replicated by team-mates Francisco Lindor and Kevin Pillar.

"Just the boos that we get," Baez said. "We're not machines, we're going to struggle. We're going to struggle seven times out of 10.

"It just 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 we're going to do the same thing to let them know how it feels.

"If we win together, then we're going to lose together and the fans are a really big part of it. In my case, they've gotta be better. I play for the fans and I love the fans, but if they're going to do that, they're just putting more pressure on the team and that's not what we want."

Baez added: "It was my opinion, it's just how I feel. I love the fans and I like playing for the fans, but we can't have our fans against us."

The Mets released a statement afterwards, with president Sandy Alderson condemning Baez's actions.

"These comments, and any gestures by him or other players with a similar intent, are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated," Alderson said. "Mets fans are understandably frustrated over the team's recent performance.

"The players and the organisation 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."

Mets manager Luis Rojas said: "Especially Mets fans, New York fans, this market, this city knows baseball probably more than any other city.

"They have the right to react however they want, and we've got to understand where they're coming from. Our job is to be ready every game to give them the best baseball.

"I haven't had many conversations with Javy about that, everything's been about the game. Getting to know Javy more and more everyday, he's an outstanding kid to be around. Javy being a new guy around here, getting to know our fanbase.

"Some of the reaction that our fanbase has, you see it's something he's learning. Our fans are like that, our fans are very passionate. They're going to demand the best out of everyone here."

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