Since Sunday, the New York Mets have purveyed absurdities and palace intrigues that seem excessive by even their own lofty standards. In order to catch you up on all the in-character madness in Queens and environs, we're here to round you up on not the week that was but the week that still is for the Mets. The madness has been abundant, but the situation can be regarded as still developing.
Sunday: Javy homers, gestures, and explains it all
The recent round of Mets palace intrigue began when deadline acquisition Javier Báez hit a fourth-inning home run in an eventual 9-4 win over the Nationals on Sunday. Báez celebrated his blast in a rather curious way -- by making a double thumbs-down gesture at home plate:
On the post-game Zoom call with the media, Báez was asked about the thumbs down:
"It feels bad when I strike out and I get booed. It doesn't really get to me, but I want to let them know that when we have success, we're going to do the same thing, to let [fans] know how it feels," Báez told reporters. "...They got to be better. I play for the fans and love the fans. If they're going to do that, they're going to put more pressure on the team."
Yes, in essence Báez explained that the gesture -- which had also been performed by other Mets players, including star shortstop Francisco Lindor, and appeared to be first done back on Aug. 6 -- was a metaphorical "booing" of the fans. All of that was in reprisal for the fans' non-metaphorical booing of the Mets players because of their recent struggles.
Suffice it to say, players' lashing out at fans for what was really some standard-issue booing was story enough. Then, however, team president Sandy Alderson a few hours later heightened tensions by releasing a statement that felt at least a little overwrought. It read:
In a post-game press conference today, Javy Báez stated that his "thumbs down" gesture during the game was a message to fans who recently have booed him and other players for poor performance. These comments, and any gestures by him or other players with a similar intent, are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
Mets fans are understandably frustrated over the team's recent performance. The players and the organization are equally frustrated, but fans at Citi Field have every right to express their own disappointment. Booing is every fan's right.
The Mets will not tolerate any player gesture that is unprofessional in its meaning or is directed in a negative way toward our fans. I will be meeting with our players and staff to convey this message directly.
Mets fans are loyal, passionate, knowledgeable and more than willing to express themselves. We love them for every one of these qualities.
Owner Steve Cohen chimed in on Twitter later Sunday night, saying "I miss the days when the biggest controversy was the black jerseys."
Tuesday: Players' apology tour, Báez plays hero in win
I didn't mean to offend anybody. This is something that I've done in the past against the other team. I did it [during the Dodgers series in L.A. last week] to the dugout. It's not -- I might have said something wrong about booing fans. I meant like, 'boo me now,' and not to the fans. To our dugout. I didn't say the fans are bad. I love the fans. I just felt like we were alone. ...I didn't mean to offend anybody. If I offended anybody, we apologize.
Lindor also apologized for using the thumbs down gesture.
Tuesday's action started with the completion of a suspended game from April 11. Although Báez was still with the Cubs then, he was eligible to play. Báez indeed entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and not surprisingly heard plenty of boos:
Báez wound up reaching base via hit by pitch. He batted again in the ninth with two outs, runners on second and third, and the Mets down by two. He came through with a clutch RBI infield single that brought the Mets within a run, and and soon thereafter scored the walk-off run via a hustling mad dash home:
The Mets won the second game of the quasi-doubleheader by a score of 3-1. In that second tilt, Báez went 1 for 3 with a run scored.
Deep within the celebratory scrum following Báez's dash home in the first game, his earring broke loose and nestled itself deep within the Citi Field dirt or perhaps grass. This led to something close to an all-hands-on-deck rapid response to the matter, and no less a figure than Alderson was spied looking for the wayward accessory. As of Wednesday, the earring still had not been located, which brings us to this:
I am told the search is still ongoing for Javier Báez's earring at Citi Field. No luck yet. Even the Mets' analytics team has gotten involved, combing through video to figure out where exactly it might have fallen.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) September 1, 2021
Yes, the analytics department is now involved.
Wednesday: Zack Scott's DUI arrest
Things on Wednesday took a turn for the serious when news broke that acting general manager Zack Scott was arrested Tuesday morning in White Plains, New York on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that Scott attended a fundraiser at owner Steve Cohen's house in Connecticut on the night of the arrest.
The Mets released a statement soon later on Wednesday: "We were surprised and deeply disappointed to learn this morning about an alleged DUI involving Zack Scott. We take this matter very seriously."
The team initially announced that Scott would not accompany the team on its next road trip. However, on Thursday, the Mets announced that Scott -- who pleaded not guilty -- was placed on administrative leave.
Scott initially joined the Mets as an assistant general manager in December of last year after spending nearly two decades with the Red Sox. He took over the general manager position in January once the Mets fired Jared Porter following an ESPN report that Porter had harassed a female reporter in part by sending unsolicited, explicit photographs.
And that's all. For now, anyway.