Javier Baez, Mets return fire against booing fans
We have a new entry in the pantheon of “Only the New York Mets” stories.
For the last month or so, the Mets have been in what could be politely referred to as a free fall. After entering the All-Star break in first place in the NL East, the team has lost 21 of its last 30 games and fallen to third place and 7.5 games back in the standings.
As you can imagine, Mets fans made their displeasure known during this stretch, frequently and vocally. Which the players apparently did not appreciate.
The players waited until a now-rare win to make their real feelings known. During a 9-4 dispatching of the Washington Nationals, multiple players could be seen celebrating big hits by throwing a thumbs down sign, something they have apparently been doing for at least a week.
Among the players to do it was shortstop Javier Baez after a home run:
Per Newsday’s Tim Healey, Baez was joined by Francisco Lindor and Kevin Pillar in doing the thumbs down.
Baez was asked about the celebration after the game, and his explanation was spectacularly petty:
Once again, we must say “Only the Mets.”
There have been teams who got booed during losing streaks before, but it really feels like only the Mets could turn against the fans in such a unified way. And lest you think this was a manager-sanctioned activity, Mets manager Luis Rojas told reporters he had no idea what the thumbs down meant until Saturday:
Baez really did make it sound like the team is legitimately bothered by the fans booing them:
So basically, the Mets, their fans and the basic concept of winning are in some kind of triangle of loathing right now. And the team waited until its highest-scoring win since July 9 to confirm this.
The punchline is all this is that the Mets’ win on Sunday was against the Nationals, a team that traded away nearly half its roster at the trade deadline and is now in a situation where it is incentivized to lose. Here are the earned run averages of the four pitches Washington trot out against New York: 5.08, 4.30, 4.50 and 5.82.