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Javier Baez created a wave of bad press for the Mets after his “thumbs down” comments. And he answered to that on Tuesday, apologizing before the team’s doubleheader against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.
For any Mets fan living under a rock, previously Baez said the thumbs down gesture — which he and multiple teammates like Francisco Lindor and Kevin Pillar have been doing — was to let fans know “that we’re going to do the same thing to let them know how it feels.” Afterward, president Sandy Alderson released a statement and owner Steve Cohen also said players “hit the third rail” by making the gesture.
So there was a lot for Baez to answer to on Tuesday. This time around, he clarified his previous comments.
“I didn’t mean to offend anybody,” he said outside of the Mets dugout. “This is something that I’ve done in the past against the other team. I did it in LA to the dugout. I might [have said] something wrong about how I was booing the fans, and I really meant to [say] like, ‘Boo me now’ -- and not to the fans -- to our dugout because I’ve done it with the other team and against other teams.
"I’ve never seen the same fans and I didn’t say the fans are bad. I love the fans. But I just felt like we were alone. The fans obviously want us to win, and they pay our salary, like everybody says. But we want to win, too. The frustration got to us, and I didn’t mean to offend anybody, and if I did offend anybody, we apologize.”
Baez added he’s “not surprised” about the social media whirlwind that has been created around the team now. He says he understands the frustration fans might have toward the initial comments, and added “other comments for my comment has been crazy.”
But the Mets still have an entire month to play. And though they’ve created a giant hole to dig themselves out of if they wish to even sniff the postseason, Baez says the team is trying to be unified through the off-the-field issue that he created.
“Right now, we’re just trying to stay together. Obviously there’s a lot of things going on in social media – we’re trying to stay together,” he said. “We’re trying to leave this in the back and move forward and try to win the games.
“The guys are really unique here. They really stay together most of the time and that’s what we’re trying to do here.”
While Baez made sure to say “I play for the fans and I love the fans,” he knows fans in New York are an extra passionate about their clubs. Mets fans are a loyal group, but not everyone is out at Citi Field booing.
But will they boo on Tuesday during the doubleheader?
“The fans are going to be the fans. That’s something we can’t control,” he said. “If they boo the team or boo me, I can accept it.
“There’s no hard feelings.”