Lindor, Baez apologize to Mets fans for gestures

3 months ago 26
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2:02 PM ET

  • ESPN News Services

Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez apologized to New York Mets fans on Tuesday, saying they were wrong for giving thumbs-down gestures after getting booed in recent games.

"Thumbs down for me means adversity, the adversity we have gone through in this whole time,'' Lindor said. "Like the negative things, we overcome it, so it's like, 'We did it! We went over it!'

"However, it was wrong, and I apologize to whoever I offended. It was not my intent to offend people.''

It reached a boiling point within the organization when Baez made the gesture to the crowd after getting a hit during Sunday's 9-4 victory at Citi Field.

Said Baez: "I didn't mean to offend anybody."

#Fans We just need to stay together! We want to win too! El Mago gonna be El Mago! #LGM

— Javier Báez (@javy23baez) August 31, 2021

Hours after the apology, Baez was booed loudly by fans when he pinch hit in the eighth inning of a makeup game against the Miami Marlins. Fans in a sparse crowd stood and turned down their thumbs while he batted, jeering him until he was hit by a 2-2 pitch on the shin and walked to first.

He turned those boos into cheers in the ninth inning, however, as the Mets rallied from a 5-1 deficit to win 6-5. Baez, who cut the deficit to 5-4 with an infield single, scored the winning run all the way from first base on a single by Michael Conforto and an error by Marlins left fielder Jorge Alfaro.

Baez gave a thumbs-up to the crowd after celebrating with teammates.

Entering the game, Baez was hitting .210/.258/.452 with three homers and five RBIs in 17 games with the Mets since he was acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline. Since then, the Mets have dropped from first place to third in the National League East.

Players began making the thumbs-down gesture toward their dugout after base hits and other positive plays while at Dodger Stadium Aug. 20-22.

"I didn't say the fans are bad. I love the fans, but like, I just felt like we were alone,'' Baez said prior to Tuesday's game. "The fans obviously want to win, and they pay our salary like everybody says, but like, we want to win, too, and the frustration got to us. And, you know, I didn't mean to offend anybody, and if I offend anybody, we apologize.''

Lindor is hitting .224 with 11 home runs, 38 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in his first season with the Mets since signing a 10-year, $341 million contract with the team last offseason.

"I have sucked at times, and I haven't done my part when it comes to the offensive side," Lindor told reporters Tuesday. "But I don't think that we have a bunch of guys just complaining all the time about the media, the fans, the city -- no, no, no.

"We're playing the game; we're trying to win. We're trying to do whatever it takes to win and represent the organization the right way."

Kevin Pillar has also displayed the thumbs-down gesture, but he said after Sunday's game on Twitter not to "look too much into this" and that "we are having fun."

Mets president Sandy Alderson on Sunday said the gestures "are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated" and "booing is every fan's right."

On Tuesday, Mets owner Steve Cohen said on social media that he was happy that the players apologized.

"Glad to hear our players apologizing to the fans," he posted on Twitter. "Let's get behind our players today and go out and win 2 today."

Lindor also was booed before his first at-bat Tuesday and again after laying down a successful sacrifice bunt in the resumption of a game postponed by rain in the first inning on April 11.

Said Lindor: "I hope this doesn't stick around because it wasn't meant to offend anybody, to disrespect nobody. This is just a time of trying to pick each other up. We're going through a rough time, and it was a gesture to pick each other up.''

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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