In an attempt to crush a growing rift between Mets players and team fans, infielders Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor apologized on Tuesday for their recent thumbs-down gestures, which prompted the outrage among fans and within the organization.
The move, Baez admitted on Sunday, was aimed at fans in retaliation for booing the team in recent weeks.
After Baez revealed the inner nature of the signal, which was usually carried out on the base paths to the team’s dugout after the player received a big blow, Sandy Alderson, the team president, condemned the players in a statement, calling it “totally unacceptable”.
The Mets were out on Monday, but on Tuesday Lindor, who signed a 10-year, $ 341 million pre-season extension, and Baez spoke to reporters on the pitch ahead of a double-roll against the Miami Marlins and presented their apologies and their explanations.
“Thumbs down, to me, means the adversity we’ve been through, the negative things, we’ve been over them,” Lindor said. “We did it, we saw it again. However, it was wrong and I apologize to the one I offended. It was not my intention to offend people. You can’t go against the fans.
Lindor added: “It doesn’t look good on our part.”
Lindor came in to strike a mix of boos and cheers from a handful of fans in the first inning of Tuesday’s impromptu doubles program – game one was a resumption of a game against the Marlins that began on April 11 and the second was the team’s regular schedule match against Miami. Lindor heard much the same reaction after filing a sacrificial decay.
Steven Cohen, owner of the Mets, applauded Lindor and Baez for apologizing and asked fans to support them for Tuesday’s games.
“Glad to hear our players apologize to the fans,” he wrote.
Manager Luis Rojas said the team held a pre-game meeting to discuss the matter.
Baez, who is a close friend of Lindor, was acquired on July 30 for outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong and the team lost 11 of their next 15 games. He will be a free agent after the season. As the defeats continued in recent weeks, fans booed louder and, according to Baez, some players have developed the thumbs-down gesture as a way to say that if fans can boo players when they’re playing poorly, players can boo the fans when the team is successful.
“I didn’t mean to offend anyone,” Baez said. “It’s something I’ve done to the other team in the past.”
Baez said maybe he said something bad about booing fans and he really meant it towards his teammates.
“I didn’t say the fans are bad,” he said. “Like, I love the fans. I just felt like we were alone. Obviously the fans want to win and they pay our salary, like everyone else says. But we want to win, and the frustration has us. reached. I didn’t mean to offend anyone. We apologize. “
It remains to be seen if the apology will satisfy fans. There were very few of them at Citi Field at the start of the game and Baez was not in the starting lineup. More people were expected for the regular game later Tuesday.