Javier Báez had some strong words for Mets fans after the team's 9–4 win over the Nationals. Báez homered in the bottom of the fourth inning and celebrated with a thumbs down after the 444-foot bomb. When he was asked about the celebration, he said it was directed at the fans for their booing when the team struggles.
"We're not machines," Báez said. "We're going to struggle seven times out of 10. It just feels bad when...I strike out and get booed, you know, it doesn't really get to me but I want to let them [fans] know that when we're successful, we're going to do the same thing to let them know how it feels.
"If we win together then we got to lose together, and the fans are a really big part of it. In my case, they got to be better. I play for the fans and I love the fans but if they're going to do that [boo] they're just putting more pressure on the team, and that's not what we want."
Báez, shortstop Francisco Lindor and other Mets players have routinely been booed at home for the team's struggles this year. The Mets are currently 63–67 and are third in the NL East. Báez, Lindor and Kevin Pillar were among the players who gave the thumbs down.
"When we don't get success, we're going to get booed," Báez said. "So they [fans] are going to get booed when we get success."
The players have been celebrating with the thumbs down for at least a week, according to Newsday's Tim Healey, and manager Luis Rojas said he had no idea the meaning behind the thumbs down celebration.
"Javy [Báez] is probably learning from this experience because this is new for him," Rojas said.
Later, Mets president Sandy Alderson released a statement condemning the players for the thumbs down gesture and Báez's comments. Alderson went on to say that he plans on meeting with players and staff directly to convey the message that any negative gestures directed at fans will not be tolerated.
"These comments, and any gestures by him [Báez] or other players with similar intent, are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated," he said in the statement. "Mets fans are understandably frustrated over the team's recent performance. The players and the organization are equally frustrated, but fans at Citi Field have every right to express their own disappointment.
"Mets fans are loyal, passionate, knowledgable and more than willing to express themselves. We love them for every one of these qualities."
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