Meet The Mess
The Mets somehow out-Mets'd themselves in the dumbest way possible on Sunday
It is, quite literally, one of if not the No. 1 rule of any business - the customer is always right. For sports franchises, it's a difficult rule to follow. The customer, in this case the fan, is often very wrong. Egregiously wrong, even. Particularly when it comes to knee-jerk things that require much more nuance like roster construction, the depth chart, potential trades, value of players, etc. The list goes on.
BUT, one thing the fan is almost never wrong about is the actual product on the field. They're going to let you know when you're good, and they're really going to let you know when you stink. Few franchises experience this phenomenon quite like the New York Mets, who have had a very bad, no good, terrible and horrible month of August.
Not long ago, the Mets were riding high atop the NL East, and the fanbase was fully in their corner, even willing to overlook the glaring lack of offense and the fact their ace pitcher, Jacob deGrom, couldn't seem to stay on the field for extended periods of time. Those two things have blown up in the Mets' face this month, and as a result, they had dropped 12 of 14 games prior to Saturday, freefalling in the NL East standings.
Finally, against the lowly Nats, the Mets were able to stop the bleeding this past weekend. Two straight wins by a combined score of 14-7 featured some much-needed offense and solid pitching. With 12 games coming up against those same Nats and the equally-bad Miami Marlins, New York, 7.5 games out in the division, has a legitimate shot to get back in this thing. Perhaps the fans were prepared to jump back on the bandwagon.
Well, they were prepared, but newly acquired middle infielder Javy Baez appears intent on making sure they not only jump back off the bandwagon, but that they actively root for their own team's failure. On Sunday, Baez, who had just hit a TOWERING 444-foot dinger, arrived at home plate after his trot and made a pair of thumbs-down gestures:
Later in the game, Baez's buddy Francisco Lindor, who will be paid over $34 million per year by the organization for the next 10 years, did the same gesture after ripping a two-RBI double down the left field line. At first, it appeared to be a poor attempt at replicating the New York Yankees' thumbs-down celebration from a few years ago, which wouldn't have been all that surprising from the little brother across town. But Baez—foolishly—explained what it actually was, and it might actually be the dumbest thing a professional athlete has ever said or done, to put it lightly:
In fairness to Baez, he is 100-percent correct in saying that they are not machines and that they are absolutely going to struggle. Do they have feelings? Of course! Most folks who work 9-to-5s or live paycheck to paycheck have zero interest in hearing about the "feelings" of grown men who make millions of dollars playing a game, but yes, they do have feelings. Had Baez simply stopped the sentence there, he'd have a point that some people disagreed with, but everyone would quickly move on.
Alas, he did not stop there, instead calling out the fans and essentially giving them the middle finger back in the form of a thumbs down. To bring this all the way back around, this is the No. 1 thing you do NOT ever do as a player. Does getting boo'd not feel good? Of course, but you simply have to suck it up. The best way to stop the boos is to play better and the fickle fans will hop back in your corner in a millisecond.
And again, Baez is not entirely wrong. The Mets fanbase is negative to an aggressive degree, even when the team wins. But when you call them out you're allowing sh-t to hit the fan, and sh-t has really hit the fan now that team president Sandy Alderson came out with a statement about Baez's thumbs-down gesture and his comments, calling it "unnacceptable." A true PR nightmare, something the Mets do better than every other organization in the four major professional sports, so they've got that going for them.
To recap, the Mets as an organization somehow had a terrible weekend on a weekend where they won back-to-back games, took a series and kept themselves (somewhat) in the division race with a favorable schedule ahead. How is that possible? The Mets, that's how.