The phrase “they can dish it out, but they can’t take it” sums up many Mets fans.
I have never understood booing your own team. It seems such a juvenile, self-defeating action. Boo the opposition as loudly as you want, but your own players? And then don’t throw a tantrum if the players don’t just take it.
In January, the Mets looked like the next big thing when Steven Cohen backed up his talk with an audacious swoop to take Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco from the Cleveland Indians. Since his first full season in 2016, Lindor has been the most valuable shortstop in the game. The Mets then signed Mr Smile to a 10-year deal to make Frankie the face of the franchise for the next decade.
It took Mets fans just 18 games before they started booing Lindor. Reflecting on the reaction from his home fans, the shortstop said, “Interesting because it’s the first time that it happens in my career.”
Mets fans are entitled to boo. Although, maybe the final two words of that sentence are superfluous.
The Mets paid a heavy price in the form of their 2020 first-round pick Pete Crow-Armstrong to secure the services of Javier Báez for the final couple of months of the season. I don’t know how many games he played before the Mets-unfaithful started to boo him. I can’t have been many.
So, Báez, Lindor and Kevin Pillar were among the Mets players who decided to give the booing fans a taste of their own medicine by flashing thumbs-down after a hit.
Suddenly, Mets fans were indignant. In Priti Patel fashion, Alderson defended the fans’ right to boo. Popularist Cohen criticised his players. And unsurprisingly, Luis Rojas said he knew nothing about the hand gestures.
Then, in a moment of sublime satisfaction, Báez scored the winning run with a dynamic dash from first in a game they had been trailing by four runs at the start of the ninth inning.
The fans who booed a couple of hours earlier were now ecstatic. Give them their dues; at least the Mets’ fans were honest enough about the reasons for booing. I didn’t hear one mention marxism.