Javier Baez apologised for his runny mouth and then ran right back to the cheers of Mets fans.
Baez ran from first to home in the ninth inning in a 6-5 win over Miami Marlins. This came hours after Francisco Lindor and Baez had apologized for their roles in a thumbs down gesture meant in part to mock New Yorkers who had booed the struggling ballclub.
Baez and Lindor said their sorrys within one hour of the first pitch. After a harsh statement by Sandy Alderson, team president, on Sunday night, they expressed their regrets. Tuesday’s team meeting saw players agree to stop making the gesture.
Baez stated, “I didn’t mean to offend anyone.”
Lindor said, “It doesn’t look good on us.”
Longtime friends spoke with reporters in front the Mets’ dugout. Two young boys stood behind Lindor and raised thumbs-down gestures while he spoke. Baez finished his apology and one fan shouted at him: “Javy! We just want to win bro!”
Lindor was booed during his first at bat of the game. It was the resumption a April matchup that had been suspended by rain in the first innings.
Baez received a rude welcome when he was called in as a pinch-hitter for the eighth inning. Many of the crowd stood and turned their thumbs down while Baez batted. They jeered him until he was struck by a 2-2 pitch on his shin. Then he was walked to first.
Baez batted in the ninth and the tone changed. As he stood in, New York trailed 5-3 with two on, two out, and Baez batted again, fans chanted “Javy Baez!” Baez defeated an infield single and earned an ovation when he reduced the lead to 5-4
Baez ran home after Michael Conforto’s hit to left field. A group of his teammates, including Lindor, surrounded him at home plate. A long hug followed.
Baez, 28, was cheered at the doubleheader’s nightcap when he singled to score in a 3-1 win.
Baez was acquired from the Chicago Cubs July 30. Before Tuesday, he had hit.210 with four homers in 17 games and a.709 batting average. Mets fans booed Baez and other All-Stars throughout August. The team went 8-19, Tuesday’s early result counted toward April. They fell out of playoff position after having led the NL East for almost three months.
From Aug. 20-22, players began to make the thumbs down gesture towards their dugout following base hits or other positive plays at Dodger Stadium.
Baez stated Sunday that if we don’t achieve success, we’re going get booed. They’ll be booed if we succeed.
Manager Luis Rojas and Lindor said Tuesday that they believe Baez, whose native language is Spanish, but does not use an interpreter when speaking with media, misspoke when it was claimed that Mets players were booing them.
Baez stated Tuesday that he didn’t mean to say that the fans were bad. He said that he loves the fans and doesn’t think they are bad. Baez said Tuesday that fans want to win and pay their salaries like everyone else. But, like we all want to win, the frustration got to them. You know what? I didn’t mean for anyone to offend, and we apologise if I do.”
Lindor said that the gesture wasn’t about fans.
Lindor stated, “Thumbs down” for me is adversity. It’s the adversity that we have experienced in our entire lives. We overcome the negatives, just like the positive things. It was over!
“It was wrong and I apologise to anyone I offended. It wasn’t my intention to offend anyone.”
First-year Mets owner Steve Cohen tweeted that he was “glad to hear our players apologizing to the fans” and asked supporters to “get behind our players today.”
The Mets are not the only team that takes offense to home-cooked ridicule. Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco complained last week about booing from fans in Pittsburgh a couple of days before being released by the team.
He said, “They must understand that I am a human being too.”
New York is its own beast. Coaches and players expect that fans will tell the Big Apple about underperforming stars.
Lindor stated, “Here I have a lot respect.” “People are honest and let you know.”
Will Gregory, a 15-year-old Mets fan, said that before the game, he wished Baez had handled the boos as gracefully as Yankees slugger Giancarlo Ston. Gregory, who was chatting with friends as he sought autographs from Stanton while standing near the players’ entrance, said that he respect Stanton’s right to boo.
Gregory stated that Gregory took the situation a different way, saying, “We need to improve.” “But, you know, we are New Yorkers and that’s how (Baez), will be received if it plays badly. He should play better if he doesn’t want to be booed.
Rojas claimed that he did not know the meaning behind the thumbs down gesture until Baez’s Sunday comments.
The manager stated, “We’re being held accountable for some decisions and that’s exactly what I see in the group.” “This group of guys I believe is responsible for their actions.
He said, “We have leaders there that have explained to us how the media, fans, and everything is here.” “And myself, I have always said to the guys how responsible we must be.”
In the first major move by Cohen since the purchase of the team, Lindor, a four-time All-Star was purchased from Cleveland in the offseason. Lindor signed a 10-year, $341 million contract to stay in New York. However, he has been frequently jeered during a season where he is hitting just.224 with 11 homers, and a.686 ops.
He was optimistic that the gesture would not damage his relationship with the fans he has committed to until 2031.
He said, “I hope that this doesn’t stay around because it wasn’t meant to offend anyone, to disrespect anybody,” This is a time to try to help each other. It was a gesture to lift each other up when we were going through rough times.