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Mets Thumbs Down celebration, explained

Mets Thumbs Down celebration, explained

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Members of the Mets, including Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor came under fire for giving the “thumbs down” sign to fans. What’s going on in New York?

The New York Mets have been embroiled in controversy this week because of a spat between players and fans.

The “thumbs down” is the talk of the town in the Big Apple. But what’s all the hubbub about?

Here’s a look at how the controversy unfolded…

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Javier Baez thumbs down, explained

The Mets were coming out of a 2-12 stretch in series against the Dodgers and Giants that saw them tumble down the pecking order in the NL East. A series against the gutted Nationals was just the trick to stop the bleeding.

Losing the first game against Washington didn’t help the mood in New York, but victories on Saturday and Sunday turned the tide. Not that it mattered much for the standings. NY was already well out of first place, sitting in third behind the Braves and Phillies.

Over the weekend, Mets players, including Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor and Kevin Pillar, celebrated by flashing the thumbs down.

Baez opened a can of worms after the 9-4 win on Sunday when he explained to the media the reason he and his teammates chose to celebrate that way. They were figuratively booing the fans back.

“[It was] to let them know that when we don’t get success, we’re going to get booed, so they’re going to get booed when we’re a success,” Baez said.

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Basically, Baez was sick of the booing and decided to do something in response. That may be just as much tied to his own annoyance with the fans as it is the impact of booing on teammates like Francisco Lindor.

Did Francisco Lindor start thumbs down celebration?

It turns out, Baez and the team had been doing a “thumbs down” for a while. There is video from Aug. 6 showing Baez doing the gesture and his dugout following suit.

The Mets lost that game to the Phillies and fell out of first place in the NL East for the first time, having lost seven out of nine games. It didn’t get any better for them over the following three weeks.

It’s not clear who thought up the celebration, but it definitely didn’t originate during the series against the Nationals. It seems like that was just the first time anybody asked what it was about.

The Mets organization put out a statement condemning the celebration by affirming the right of fans to boo. Meanwhile, manager Luis Rojas took heat for not knowing about the meaning of the celebration in the first place.

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Baez and Lindor have now apologized for offending the fans.

“I didn’t mean to offend anybody. 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.” Baez said.

Lindor insisted the gesture wasn’t directed at fans. Instead, it was meant to symbolize overcoming adversity from within the dugout.

“It was to the dugout, the thumbs down. It was to the dugout,” Lindor said. “Thumbs down for me means the adversity we have gone through in this whole time. The negative things we have overcome. 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. I can’t go against the fans. I’ve never done it in my career.”

Lindor also claimed the celebration started while they were in Los Angeles playing the Dodgers, which isn’t true.

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Both Baez and Lindor were booed in their first appearances back at Citi Field. However, Baez ended up hearing more cheers when he hit the game-winning run against the Marlins. The best way to fix things? Keep playing well and keep winning.

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