Mets Release Embarrassing, Out of Touch Statement After 'Thumbs Down' Gesture from Players

New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor and second baseman Javier Baez expressed their thoughts on being booed by Mets fans with a "thumbs down."
New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor and second baseman Javier Baez expressed their thoughts on being booed by Mets fans with a "thumbs down." / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The end of August can't come soon enough for the New York Mets.

They started the month up 3.5 games in the National League East standings with a 55-49 record. They've since gone 8-19, and find themselves 7.5 games back in the division complete with five separate losing streaks of three or more games.

Over at WynnBET Sportsbook, the Mets are now +10000, or 100/1 to win the World Series after being near +1200 within the last three-plus weeks! To win the NL Pennant, they've fallen all the way from single-digit odds to 50/1.

So when fans started to boo the team over the latter part of the month for their lack of performance, it wasn't difficult to comprehend why. Fans express their appreciation through cheers and displeasure through boos. Albeit simplistic in nature; it's part of the gig and players, for the most part, understand and accept it.

But the moment players rightfully clap back and express themselves appropriately back to the fans that boo them, well, that's just completely out of line.

That's what happened Sunday. Multiple Mets' players, including new second baseman Javier Baez along with shortstop Francisco Lindor and outfielder Kevin Pillar flashed a "thumbs down" sign to each other as a response to the fans booing their team.

Baez addressed it directly after the game, saying, "We're not machines, we're going to struggle. ... It just feels bad when I strikeout and I get booed. ... We're going to do the same thing to let them know how it feels."

What exactly did Javier Baez do wrong with the "thumbs down?"

For anyone who has followed Baez's career, his response wasn't surprising. He's always been one of baseball's most expressive players, who thrives off the energy of the fans.

The problem was, both management and fans expected the players to do what so many have done for years: sit down, shut up and take the beating. It's not surprising that would be the overwhelming narrative in a sport that still shamelessly prides itself on policing the game "the right way" despite trending older and more out of touch with younger generations for decades.

So when Mets president Sandy Alderson sent out a blistering team statement chastising his hand-selected players for having the gall to express themselves, it sent more of a statement about how the Mets truly view the athletes that represent them; as ballplayers, and nothing more.

Sandy Alderson has watched the game pass him by

If fans want to be upset with Baez publicly calling them out, so be it. He'll accept the consequences for his actions. But Alderson had to try and flex his muscles to the point of complete and total hypocrisy, thinking his hard-headed support of the fans would look good from a public relations perspective. Instead, it was a disaster.

Does Alderson really think in the age of athlete empowerment, that players should just sit there and take it? Of course he does! You don't send that kind of asinine statement with no regard for your own players that you, yourself own the burden of responsibility for signing.

This is a top-down problem for the Mets, who don't seem to understand how bad publicly calling out your players is both in the short term and long term. Athletes talk to each other. They share information about coaching staffs, front offices and ownership. They discuss the importance of mental health and are empowered more than ever to do so. Yes, the players need to perform, but when both ownership and the team president can't figure out how to express their team's need to improve without sending a tweet or releasing a statement publicly; that's bad management!

If Alderson wanted to handle this situation "appropriately," he would have reached out to his players privately, spoke to them behind closed doors about the ramifications to publicly call out their fans, and have a unified response afterwards. Instead of being proactive, the 73-year old team president was reactive, and embarrassed the team and himself even further in the process.

Baez will likely get booed for the remainder of the season in New York based on those comments, but I applaud him for his candor and for having the mindset to tell the fans that he's also a human being with thoughts and emotions. Alderson may have empowered the fans to boo without hesitation, citing "it's their right." But players have rights too, and the teams that don't recognize them are often the ones that are left behind.

Who is your pick to win the NL East division? Can the Mets still turn their season around?

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