New York Mets president of baseball operations Sandy Alderson had stern words for Javier Baez after the star infielder made controversial comments about the team’s “thumbs-down” celebration. Just days later, Alderson was on hands and knees searching for Baez’s jewelry as “El Mago” celebrated scoring the winning run in a spectacular walk-off victory over the Miami Marlins.
Mets fans booed Javier Baez for his “thumbs-down” remarks, only for him to score the winning run in the very next game
Mets fans in attendance for the resumption of a suspended game against the Miami Marlins could not wait to let their feelings be known when Javier Baez strode to the plate in the eighth inning.
Baez’s remarks about the fans needing to be “better” in supporting the team and extrapolating on the “thumbs-down” celebration created quite a stir in the baseball world this past weekend. The Citi Field crowd let the two-time All-Star know exactly what they thought about his comments with a chorus of boos on Tuesday.
However, Baez would get the last laugh.
New York launched a furious rally against the Marlins, scoring five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the game. Baez played a key role in the rally, singling in a run with two outs and then scoring the winning run in dramatic fashion following a single by Mets outfielder Michael Conforto.
One of the reasons Baez seemed to expose himself to criticism after the “thumbs-down” fiasco is because he hasn’t exactly thrived since coming to the Big Apple at the trade deadline.
The former Silver Slugger is hitting .227 with a .736 OPS in 19 games with the Mets. His game remains full of swing-and-miss, with 23 strikeouts in 71 plate appearances. Yet, Baez’s thrilling dash to the plate on Tuesday reflected the constant passion and excitement he displays whenever he’s on the field.
The 28-year-old proved something to Mets fans. He also had Sandy Alderson practically eating out of his hands only two days after Alderson issued a public statement combatting the “thumbs-down” saga.
Sandy Alderson got on hands and knees to look for Baez’s jewelry after he scored the winning run
Sandy Alderson was quick to dismiss Baez’s postgame comments this past weekend and issue his own statement that the “thumbs-down” celebration was totally unacceptable. Just days later, he was part of a search party looking for the infielder’s jewelry.
Mets manager Luis Rojas said Tuesday that Baez had lost an earring in front of home plate after scoring the winning run. Alderson was among those searching for the earring following the celebration, even getting on hands and knees to comb through the turf around the plate.
Here is a video of Alderson desperately searching for the earring:
Regardless of how Mets fans feel about Baez’s comments, the past few days have amounted to a rather humorous turn of events and change in tonality.
Sunday appeared to be the defining moment of New York’s implosion. Alderson decried the mentality of his own players, who had irked the fans with their actions. Suddenly, the Mets are riding high. They are coming off one of the most remarkable wins of the season, and Alderson is catering to one of his most disgruntled players.
Will the “thumbs-down” saga actually be a rallying cry for the Mets?
Is this the moment the Mets launch an unprecedented surge back up the National League East standings?
New York came into August with a four-game lead. The Mets then went 9-19 in August and are now 5.5 games back of the first-place Atlanta Braves. However, there’s still a month left. Will the fallout from the “thumbs-down” saga and Tuesday’s stunning victory serve as rallying cries for a team in desperate need of momentum?
A lot still needs to change for the Mets to have a realistic chance at winning the division. The offense needs to start scoring on a more consistent basis. Starting pitchers like Taijuan Walker and Carlos Carrasco must give New York quality starts throughout September, and the bullpen will have to be effective in the middle and late innings.
Still, Baez and the Mets might have found their swagger at just the right time. New York could be on the cusp of a wild turnaround.
Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.