Mets players let their booing fans ‘know how it feels’ with strange thumbs down celebration

Written by on August 29, 2021

The New York Mets topped the Washington Nationals at home on Sunday by a score of 9-4 (box score). Central to the triumph was Jonathan Villar, who wound up a double shy of the cycle. The most talked about hit, however, will no doubt be the home run by deadline acquisition Javier Báez.

It was an impressive blast at 444 feet, and that’s his 26th of the season (and fourth since the trade from the Cubs to the Mets). It’s a bit hard to make out from the video, but Baez as he touches the plate celebrates his blast with a double thumbs-down gesture, which seems an odd way to commemorate a homer.

Here’s a closer look at the “celebration.”

Getty Images

And here’s how Baez explained the gesture afterward: 

“It feels bad when I strike out and I get booed. It doesn’t really get to me, but I want to let them know that when we have success, we’re going to do the same thing, to let [fans] know how it feels,” Baez told reporters. “…They got to be better. I play for the fans and love the fans. If they’re going to do that, they’re going to put more pressure on the team.”

And to highlight one comment in particular: 

So the thumbs down is a rebuke to Mets fans who have increasingly taken to booing the team in response to their declining fortunes, and let it be known that it’s not just a Baez thing: 

In other words, the Mets and their fans are booing each other, at least in the partial-metaphorical sense, and that’s the most quintessential Mets phenomenon imaginable. 

Earlier this season, the Mets had first place in the NL East locked down for three straight months, but those past successes have completely vaporized. Thanks to an 8-19 mark in August and a 2-11 recent stretch against the Giants and Dodgers, the Mets have tumbled out of serious contention. Even after Sunday’s win, the Mets are in third place and 7 1/2 games off the pace in the NL East. They’re also seven games out of the second NL wild card and behind four other teams in that chase. All of that is why the SportsLine Projection System coming into Sunday’s slate gave them just a 2.2 percent chance of making the postseason. 

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In other words, Mets players will probably continue to hear occasional boos, and perhaps Baez’s gesture and subsequent explanation will turn those boos into something more than occasional. As ever, the Mets continue to provide quality entertainment regardless of on-field results. 

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