Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor were singing a different tune two days after their thumbs-down gesture took the baseball world by storm, and for all the wrong reasons.
The two star infielders along with Kevin Pillar continued brandishing the signal, which began earlier this month, after big hits during the Mets’ 9-4 victory over the Washington Nationals on Sunday, in which Baez explained afterward that “I strike out and get booed. It doesn’t really get to me but I want to let [the fans] know that when we’re successful, we’re going to do the same thing to let them know how it feels.”
After stern words from team president Sandy Alderson — who promised there would be internal conversations — and team owner Steve Cohen, both Baez and Lindor expressed remorse prior to the resumption of their suspended game against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday afternoon.
“I didn’t mean to offend anybody. It’s just something I’ve done in the past against the other team,” Baez said. “I might’ve said something wrong that I was booing the fans, but I meant like ‘boo me now,’ and that wasn’t the fans, but to the dugout.
“I just felt like we were alone… we want to win, too… If I offended anybody, we apologize.”
“It was wrong and I apologize to whoever was offended,” Lindor added. “It was not my intent to offend people. I’ve never done that in my career… We play for the fans, our teammates, the front office, our families, the city… It doesn’t look good on our part.”
The internal conversations that Alderson promised came on Wednesday morning before Game 1 of the Mets’ doubleheader against Miami.
“Guys were accountable today… Javier and Francisco showed up, they were accountable for some of their actions… they wanted to clarify some things,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “Everyone is learning… Guys sometimes will make decisions and they’re not always going to be the right ones, but there’s always going to be an opportunity… to be accountable for those decisions.”
While the entire situation was blown out of proportion, the Mets’ play in August likely offended more fans than anything. Before taking the final two games of a three-game set against the lowly Nationals, the Mets were 5-20 in August and sank to as many as 8.5 games out of first place in an NL East division that they led on the first of the month.