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NEW YORK (AP) – Javier Báez and Francisco Lindor have apologized to Mets fans after Báez revealed that a celebratory thumbs-down gesture adopted by players was in part a dig among New York fans who booed the underperforming baseball club.

Báez and Lindor took turns saying they were sorry less than an hour before the opening pitch of a game on Tuesday against the Miami Marlins. It followed a stern statement from team president Sandy Alderson on Sunday night disavowing the move, as well as a team meeting on Tuesday where the players said they would stop doing it.

“I didn’t mean to offend anyone,” Báez said.

Báez, 28, was acquired from the Chicago Cubs on July 30 and has reached .210 with four home runs and a .709 OPS in 17 games since. Mets fans booed him and others throughout August when the team went from 8 to 19 to find themselves out of the playoff position after leading the East. NL for almost three months.

The players started waving their thumbs towards their dugout after hits and other positive plays while at Dodger Stadium August 20-22.

“When we don’t get success, we’re going to get booed,” Báez said on Sunday. “So they’re going to get booed when we’re successful.”

Lindor and manager Luis Rojas said on Tuesday they believed Báez – whose mother tongue is Spanish but does not use an interpreter when speaking to the media – misspoken when he spoke to the media. said Mets players hoot fans.

“I didn’t say fans are bad, I love fans, but like, I just felt like we were alone,” Báez said on Tuesday. “The fans obviously want to win, and they pay our salary like everyone else says, but like, we want to win too, and the frustration hit us. And, you know, I didn’t mean to offend anybody, and if I offend someone, we apologize.

Lindor also said the gesture was not explicitly about fans.

“Thumbs down to me means adversity, adversity that we’ve been through all this time,” Lindor said. “Like negative things, we get over them, so it’s like, ‘We did it! We went !

“However, it was wrong, and I apologize to whom I offended. It was not my intention to offend people.

Báez and Lindor spoke to reporters outside the Mets shelter. Lindor was booed by a few fans when he emerged, and two young boys threw their thumbs down behind him as he spoke. After Báez finished his apology, a fan shouted at him “Javy, we just want to win, my brother!”

Lindor was booed before his first at-bat and again after pulling off a sacrificial decay. Báez was not in the lineup for the resumption of a match postponed by rain on April 11.

The Mets aren’t the only club to oppose homemade ridicule. Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco complained last week about boos from fans in Pittsburgh days before being released by the team.

“They have to understand that I am also a human being,” he said.

Of course, New York is its own beast. Players and coaches expect the underachieving Big Apple stars to hear from fans.

“I have a lot of respect here,” Lindor said. “People are very honest and they let you know that. “

Mets fan Will Gregory, 15, said ahead of the game that he wanted Báez to treat boos as gracefully as Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Gregory – standing with friends near the players ‘entrance looking for autographs – said he respected Stanton for recognizing fans’ right to boo.

“He took it a very different way, saying, ‘We have to be better,’ Gregory said. ‘But you know, we’re New Yorkers, and that’s how (Báez) is going to be received. if he plays badly. So if he doesn’t want to get booed, he should just play better.

The whole squad – not just Báez and Lindor – were using the gesture, and Rojas said the players decided to quit before addressing the club on Tuesday.

Outfielder Kevin Pillar – also in his first season with the team – tweeted on Sunday that he had “only felt love in New York” and that “no, I’m not booing the fans.”

“Please don’t lean too hard on this” he wrote.

“The media are always looking for anything to provoke controversy,” replied pitcher Marcus Stroman. “Stop playing around with these stories.”

Rojas said he didn’t know the meaning of the thumbs-down gesture until Báez’s comments on Sunday.

“We’re responsible for some of these decisions and that’s what I see in this group,” said the manager. “It’s a bunch of guys who I think are responsible for his actions.

“We have leaders there who have explained how the media, the fans, it’s all there,” he added. “And I myself have always told guys how responsible we have to be.”

Four-time All-Star, Lindor was acquired from Cleveland during the offseason in the first major move for the team since Steve Cohen bought the franchise. Lindor signed a 10-year, $ 341 million contract to stay in New York City, but he was often taunted in a season in which he hit .224 with 11 home runs and a .686 OPS.

He was hopeful the move wouldn’t spoil his relationship with the fanbase he’s committed to until 2031.

“I hope it won’t last because it wasn’t meant to offend anyone, not to disrespect anyone,” he said. “This is just the time to try to get up. We are going through a difficult time, and it was a gesture to get up.

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