“Thumbs down for me means adversity, the adversity we have gone through in this whole time,” Lindor said. “Like the negative things, we overcome it, so it’s like, ‘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.”
It reached a boiling point within the organization when Baez made the gesture to the crowd after getting a hit during Sunday’s 9-4 victory at Citi Field.
Said Baez: “I didn’t mean to offend anybody.”
— Javier Báez (@javy23baez) August 31, 2021
Baez is hitting .210/.258/.452 with three homers and five RBIs in 17 games since he was acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline. Since then, the Mets have dropped from first place to third in the National League East.
Players began making the thumbs-down gesture toward their dugout after base hits and other positive plays while at Dodger Stadium Aug. 20-22.
“I didn’t say the fans are bad. I love the fans, but like, I just felt like we were alone,” Baez said Tuesday. “The fans obviously want to win, and they pay our salary like everybody says, but like, we want to win, too, and the frustration got to us. And, you know, I didn’t mean to offend anybody, and if I offend anybody, we apologize.”
Lindor is hitting .224 with 11 home runs, 38 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in his first season with the Mets since signing a 10-year, $341 million contract with the team last offseason.
“I have sucked at times, and I haven’t done my part when it comes to the offensive side,” Lindor told reporters Tuesday. “But I don’t think that we have a bunch of guys just complaining all the time about the media, the fans, the city — no, no, no.
“We’re playing the game; we’re trying to win. We’re trying to do whatever it takes to win and represent the organization the right way.”
Mets president Sandy Alderson on Sunday said the gestures “are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated” and “booing is every fan’s right.”
On Tuesday, Mets owner Steve Cohen said on social media that he was happy that the players apologized.
“Glad to hear our players apologizing to the fans,” he posted on Twitter. “Let’s get behind our players today and go out and win 2 today.”
The Mets were completing a delayed game against the Miami Marlins from April 11 prior to Tuesday’s regularly scheduled game.
Lindor was booed before his first at-bat Tuesday and again after laying down a successful sacrifice bunt. Baez was not in the lineup for the first game.
“I hope this doesn’t stick around because it wasn’t meant to offend anybody, to disrespect nobody,” Lindor said Tuesday. “This is just a time of trying to pick each other up. We’re going through a rough time, and it was a gesture to pick each other up.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.