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Kingdom Thumb: How the Mets Created a Mess with Their Own Two Hands

After falling out of first place, the Mets have a new celebration: two big thumbs down to the fans in Queens. But that’s not the full story.

Mr. Met by Ethan Hartman is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Kingdom Thumb: How the Mets Created a Mess with Their Own Two Hands


Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Let’s start by saying the obvious: playing in the New York market is a challenge. The press is relentless, the fans are demanding, the lifestyle is exhausting, and the eyes of the nation tend to fall on you a lot. Now imagine that you’ve been the second-best team in the New York market for a while now. That’s the New York Mets, and they might have just imploded over… giving two thumbs down to the fans?

The Mets are coming off a horrific stretch that saw them go 4-12 over their last 16 games. Since the trade deadline, the Mets own a 9-20 record. They also fell out of first place during this time, sliding back to third, and are now 7.5 games back with less than a month to play in the season. Not ideal. Even worse, the team across town has been on the up-and-up and is now within striking distance of winning their division after being on the bubble of implosion themselves.

This is a nightmare situation for the Mets and it only got worse.

After taking a three-game series from the Nationals, recent trade deadline acquisition Javy Baez took to the microphone and elaborated on the thumbs down gesture that the Mets seem to have adopted over the weekend.

Match, meet fuse.

“We’re not machines,” Baez said to reporters. “We’re going to struggle seven times out of 10. It just feels bad when … I strike out and get booed. It doesn’t really get to me, but I want to let them know that when we’re successful, we’re going to do the same thing to let them know how it feels.”

Not great. That’s the quote that has been circling around for the last 24 hours. However, to be fair to Baez, here’s the rest of it.

“If we win together, then we got to lose together, and the fans are a really big part of it. In my case, they got to be better. I play for the fans and I love the fans, but if they’re going to do that, they’re just putting more pressure on the team, and that’s not what we want.”

This is frustration at its finest. When you have all of this pent-up pressure and no outlet for it, things are going to boil over and explode. With manager Luis Rojas losing control of the locker room, this is what you get. So what should the Mets do? Put out a statement condemning the players and adding more fuel to the fire? No, they shouldn’t do-… Oh, that’s what they did?

Well, at least the rookie Mets owner Steven Cohen didn’t tweet anything either, right? Oh, no. Please no. Come on.

So what we have here is a three-alarm fire, and no one running out of the building to get water, because the fire isn’t their fault. Fantastic. Right when the Mets should be focusing on winning games as they head into the home stretch of a potentially lost season, we have this infighting to deal with. The worse part of this? This whole situation is blown way out of proportion. Here’s Kevin Pillar‘s tweet shedding light on the “thumbs down that rocked Queens.”

I believe Kevin Pillar. Why? If you got hit in the face and required reconstructive surgery just to play baseball for fans who boo you, and you try to calm everyone down after facing serious blowback, I’m going to trust you. But what Pillar’s tweet clears up is that this is all nothing. Maybe Javy Baez, a player who has yet to earn the trust of the Flushing Faithful, wasn’t the mouthpiece the players needed. Perhaps, a softer touch was necessary. Maybe from someone who understands how the media works in this town. But then again, that’s the Mets in a post-David Wright Era, there’s no true team leader yet. There’s no respected orator, yet.

In reality, when the dust clears, this frustration from the players seems to be aimed at ownership, specifically Cohen, who tweeted this insanity during the Mets rough patch.

That feels pointed directly at the free-swinging Baez, as well as a few other Mets hitters, like Michael Conforto, who have been struggling to find their swings all year. The only difference is that now in the throes of a pennant race, the rest of the NL East is heating up. These are the Mets we’ve had all year.

Maybe Johnseshwy Fargas was more disciplined at the plate, Steve. But that doesn’t make bashing him on Twitter a good way to get the rest of the team on board with his approach.

This is quite possibly the worst timing for #LOLMets nonsense to be happening to a team that desperately needs to get their heads right and figure out what’s going on with them. I don’t need Twitter beefs and finger-pointing, I need this team to win some games against the Marlins and Phillies so they can catch the Braves. It’s really simple here, folks.

The Mets are frustrated. The fans are frustrated. The media is frustrated. Ownership is frustrated. WE’RE ALL FRUSTRATED. But instead of pointing fingers, let’s all give this whole situation two MASSIVE thumbs down. It’s nonsense, it’s insanity, but above all else, it’s an unnecessary distraction from the fact that this ballclub is underachieving and they don’t know how to stop their skid.

That’s the main issue for this team. That’s something to worry about. Not what Javy Baez, Francisco Lindor, Mr. Met, Michael Conforto or Jesus Christ himself does after hitting a home run.

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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