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.
“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:
“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: