Baseball: New York Mets star players debut 'thumbs-down' celebration as dig at unhappy fans

The New York Mets' new celebration looks a bit counterintuitive.

Javier Baez, acquired by the Mets less than a month ago, gave the team's fans an emphatic thumbs-down gesture after hitting a home run in Monday's (NZ time) home win over the Washington Nationals. 

Francisco Lindor and Kevin Pillar also mimicked the thumbs-down during the game.

Baez told reporters that the thumbs-down is some players' response to fans' boos during a rough August.

"We're not machines. We're going to struggle seven times out of 10," Baez says.

 "It just feels bad when I strike out and I get booed. I want to let them know that when we have success, we're going to do the same thing to let them know how it feels."

Mets president Sandy Alderson issued a statement rejecting Baez's gesture, and promising he would meet with the team's players about their anti-fan reactions.

"In a post-game press conference, Javy Baez says that his "thumbs down" gesture during the game was a message to fans who recently have booed him and other players for poor performance," Alderson said in the statement.

"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."

The Mets plummeted from first place in the National League East to third this month, going 8-19 in August with one game left to play. 

After returning from a California road trip this week, they dropped four straight at home to the San Francisco Giants and the Nationals before winning two in a row.

The Mets landed Baez, a star shortstop, in a deal with the Chicago Cubs at the MLB trade deadline July 30.

"When we don't get success, we're going to get booed," Baez explained. "So they're going to get booed when we get success."

Mets manager Luis Rojas told reporters he did not know the intention behind his players' actions.

"Javy being a new guy here and getting to know our fan base, and some of the reactions that our fan base has, I just see it as something he's learning," Rojas said.

"Our fans are like that, they're very passionate. They demand the best. They demand wins."

While his teammates sent fans a negative message, Jonathan Villar wasn't on board. After getting on base during the sixth inning Sunday, the first-year Met was seen giving fans a thumbs-up.