Mets fans should give Francisco Lindor a standing ovation when team returns home Friday

Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor will enter play on Tuesday in the worst slump of his career.

His only big game so far came this past Sunday against the Reds in Cincinnati, when he ripped a double down the left field line and smacked a homer to left -- with both hits coming from the right side of the plate.

Throughout his slump -- which coincided with rough starts from Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil, who have since heated up -- Lindor has been the same guy he's been during his three-plus years as a Met: professional, available, and accountable.

But despite all he has achieved so far in New York, Lindor has been the target of vitriol from a portion of the fan base during his early-season struggles.

Some of them even went as far as to say abhorrent things to Lindor's wife, Katia.

Here's a reminder of what Lindor has been as a Met...

Lindor was the ninth-most valuable player in MLB in 2023, via fWAR, finished ninth in National League MVP voting, and won the Silver Slugger at shortstop. Lindor also finished ninth in MVP voting in 2022.

Defensively, Lindor has been one of the best shortstops in the game. He was in the 90th percentile or better in OAA (Outs Above Average) his first three seasons as a Met, and was arguably robbed of not just one, but two Gold Gloves.

When it comes to availability, Lindor has been nearly perfect -- even when playing through injury, which he did last season. Lindor played in 161 games in 2022, 160 in 2023, and has played all 12 so far this season.

New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) rounds third base after hitting a two run home run during the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.

When it comes to accessibility and accountability, Lindor has been one of the faces of the team, speaking at his locker after nearly every game.

How about Lindor the great teammate?

One recent example was his work with Brett Baty and Mark Vientos this offseason.

Instead of being universally appreciated and respected for the player Lindor is on the field and the person he is off the field, he (and his family) have instead had to endure disgusting verbal abuse from some of the fans.

To be clear, the vast majority of the Mets' very passionate and knowledgeable fan base recognizes how tremendous Lindor is and are on his side.

But they are unfortunately sometimes drowned out by a vocal minority that should probably spend some time looking in the mirror.

Speaking last weekend, Lindor said he had gotten messages of support from current teammates, former teammates, and coaches.

But this quote stood out:

"It's good to know there's people on my side besides my wife and my family. Just put my head down, keep grinding, and keep climbing."

New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) hits a double in the first inning of an MLB baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Sunday, April 7, 2024, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Mets fans should show Lindor that most of them not only appreciate him, but are very much on his side.

And the best way for them to show that is by giving Lindor a standing ovation on Friday night, when the Mets return to Citi Field to face the Kansas City Royals.

It's an idea some on Mets Twitter started kicking around this past weekend, and one that was endorsed by owner Steve Cohen, who remarked that it worked in Philadelphia with Trea Turner.

"Positivity goes a long way," Cohen said on Twitter (now known as X).

Speaking of Turner and positivity, it should be noted that after Phillies fans gave him a standing ovation last Aug. 4 when Turner was having a miserable season, he hit .337/.389/.668 the rest of the way for a team that nearly made it back to the World Series.

To be clear, fans are allowed to be unhappy when players aren't performing well. They're allowed to voice their displeasure. But there needs to be more nuance and understanding. And the unhappiness of the fans should never manifest itself like it did last week, impacting not only Lindor but his family.

With that said, I think booing your own players is largely pointless and foolish -- unless it's in response to lack of effort or some awful off-field behavior.

But Lindor gives his all on the field, and is an exemplary person off of it. He's been a terrific Met and is set to be in New York through the 2031 season.

And it's time for the savvy, caring swath of the Mets' fan base (which is most of it) to drown out the hate-filled swath. They can do it on Friday night when Lindor steps to the plate in the first inning against the Royals.