The thumbs down celebration the New York Mets have engaged in over the last week or so is the talk of the town. Javier Baez revealed after Sunday’s win that it’s a knock against the fans. If we boo them when they lose, they’re going to boo the fans when they win.
It’s about as childish of an argument as an adult can make. If that’s what fuels this team to finish above .500, okay then.
A big issue I see from this is how much better it could have gone. Despite their struggles, Baez and his teammates like Francisco Lindor and Kevin Pillar that engaged in the Siskel and Ebert’ing of the fans had a wonderful opportunity to join them and have some fun.
This celebration could have gone so much differently for the Mets players
Rather than treat the fans to a thumb down, why not join in on the cheering or reverse it and round the bases with your thumbs pointed up at the sky? It’s a little sarcastic but I think it gets the same message across while not coming off as negative as a big thumb down.
The thumb down is best reserved for Roman Emperors, not athletes frustrated with the lack of unconditional support they are getting from the fans. On the other hand—no pun intended whatsoever—the thumb up can bring a different kind of energy. It shows loyalty, appreciation, and in this case, is a smug little sly remark about the booing fans have been doing.
As luck would have it, this is exactly what Jonathan Villar attempted to do:
Here’s where I stand on a personal standpoint as far as attending Mets games goes: I’m probably never going to a game again. It has nothing to do with Baez or anyone else. It’s just too far to travel, too expensive, and I might end up uncomfortable due to bad weather or other circumstances, like a smelly person next to me; which happened the last time I attended. There’s more of a chance of losing than winning even without considering the outcome of the game.
When players treat fans this way, it’s a lot tougher to justify the price of admission and the day devoted to supporting a team. It’s a huge effort and adventure for many to get through the event. Moments like these from the players make me less interested in showing up.
Imagine a Mets squad where they understand why the fans are booing and rather than attack back, they pump their fists, pound their chests, and ask for a little more noise when things are going well. Pete Alonso’s never-ending positivity can get annoying but he has been brilliant at doing this. Thumbsdowngate has also given me an appreciation for Michael Conforto. In all of his years with the Mets, he has been one of the blandest players on the team. He says nothing of importance and that’s just perfect enough for him.
The 2021 Mets have loved their gimmicks and personal creations. From Donnie Stevenson to the home run horse to the churve sign and everything else, they have shown a lot of personality.
After the game on Sunday, Kevin Pillar did try to help the situation on Twitter:
Of course, this kind of contradicts everything Baez said so which is it?
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Their fun took a wrong turn just as the standings did. Hopefully, a day off and some sleep allows everyone to move past this and the unnecessary civil war at Citi Field is nothing more than a temporary distraction.