New York Mets should let their play do the talking

By Max Baker, News + Record Intern
Posted 9/1/21

For four months this season, the National League East belonged to the New York Mets.

After acquiring Javier Baez at the trade deadline, pairing him with Francisco Lindor in the infield, it was …

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New York Mets should let their play do the talking

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Posted

For four months this season, the National League East belonged to the New York Mets.

After acquiring Javier Baez at the trade deadline, pairing him with Francisco Lindor in the infield, it was difficult to picture any outcome other than a Mets division title. The Atlanta Braves lost outfield star Ronald Acuna Jr. early in the season and the Phillies have struggled to find consistency all year. It’s quite possibly the worst division in baseball.

Early on, Jacob DeGrom looked like the most unhittable pitcher in baseball and despite numerous injuries, the Mets were finding ways to win.

But now? Now, the Mets are in third place after a 7-19 start to August and are being booed in their own ballpark. Thirteen of those 19 losses have been by two runs or less. And the players are responding with their own message to the fans.

Last week, Baez and other teammates were asked about a thumbs-down gesture that the team started doing after base hits.

“We’re not machines,” he told reporters after a game on Aug. 29. “We’re going to struggle seven times out of 10. It just feels bad. When I strike out and get booed, it doesn’t really get to me, but I want to let them know that when we’re successful, we’re going to do the same thing to let them know how it feels.”

The Mets organization ultimately responded with a team statement — yes, a statement — saying that booing is a right of the fans and that the gestures made by the players were unacceptable. The fact that the Mets felt a need to release a statement about this issue is a whole different kind of ridiculous, but we’ll save that for another day.

Whether Baez wants to admit it or not, the booing has gotten to the team. The players aren’t robots and shouldn’t be treated as such every time they fail. But is that what the fans are saying?

I’m typically not a fan of booing your own team. The players are clearly aware when they’re struggling. But sometimes booing can be a message to the front office or the organization that fans expect more.

The players’ gesture seems churlish. Sure, the players have every right to do it, but it’s dividing the team from its fanbase. It also could hurt New York in the free agent market if players now don’t see the city as a comfortable place to play.

Athletes are being paid millions of dollars and fans are spending their own time and money to watch them compete. While the gesture made headlines last weekend, social media posts revealed that the team started doing the thumbs-down weeks ago. They just didn’t have enough positive plays that anyone really noticed.

So maybe if you don’t like getting booed, win a few games, or at least don’t lose nine times to the Dodgers and Giants in a span of two weeks.

CN+R Intern Max Baker can be reached at max@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @Maxbaker_15.

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