Mets Thumbs Down Saga
The biggest story to come out of Major League Baseball for today is the New York Mets. They are in freefall as they are currently 63-67 and are 7.0 games out of a playoff spot. However, the biggest story came out of a celebration. The Mets won on Sunday against the Washington Nationals 9-4 and this was the first time in over two full weeks that the Mets have enjoyed back-to-back wins.
After hitting a two-run home run, second baseman Javier Baez did a thumbs down sign as he was crossing home plate. Shortstop Francisco Lindor and outfielder Kevin Pillar also did the same celebration during the game. When asked by the New York media about the meaning of their celebrations, Baez responded with the following:
“When we don’t get success, we’re going to get booed. So [the fans] are going to get booed when we get success.”
This did not sit well with the organization literally having their players boo their own fandom as they are spiraling for an unimpactful September. Sandy Alderson, President of the New York Mets, was forced to release a statement that stated, “the Mets will not tolerate any player gesture that is unprofessional in its meaning or is directed in a negative way towards our fans. I will be meeting with our players and staff to convey this message directly.”
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What is the Impact of This?
This is going to be interesting as Javier Baez could potentially have cost himself millions of dollars as he seemed to cross a line that many people have said could burn the bridges for other major league teams. Imagine during the offseason that your favorite team needs a middle infielder and they sign Javier Baez, a player who served a 40-game suspension due to domestic abuse issues earlier in his career and is now being viewed as an anti-fan player. Fans have the right to display their disapproval whenever a team does not play well.
Javier Baez was traded to the New York Mets from the Chicago Cubs at this season’s Trade Deadline, where he spent his entire career. Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs fan base have a tendency to not be difficult on the players. I am only signaling Baez in this because he was the player who made this vocal instead of coming up with different reasoning behind the celebration. Lindor and Pillar are also at fault, but not as much because they can plead ignorance and never stated why they did this gesture.
In my eyes though, this is not as big of a story as people are attempting to make this a huge deal. Players deal with frustration in a multitude of ways and this is one of them. If a team is upset with the optics that Baez and a handful of the Mets players displayed to the point that they are not going to offer a contract to him this offseason as he is a free agent then they were never going to give him in a contract in the first place (and is malpractice by that front office).
This was just a bad idea from the start displayed by disgruntled players that have seen their NL lead collapse and are now seven games out of a playoff spot due to their inconsistent play, especially by the offense. This was a mistake, but nothing more than that. Baez comes from the Chicago Cubs organization and that is an easier media to handle where they tend to coddle their players compared to the gritty New York media.