The baseball world has been talking about fandom and how to be the correct fan for the last 48 hours, but the story about the Mets versus the Mets fans goes beyond that.
The former Cubs shortstop was beloved in Chicago. He will be forever. Going from a city where he will never have to buy another beer to a new city — one that doesn't care about the past — means things are different, however.
That doesn't mean fans at Wrigley Field don't care. Báez helped end a drought that lasted over a century. It is complete different circumstances.
No fan in New York cares about what Báez did for the city of Chicago.
His performance in New York is actually worse than it was with the Cubs in the first half of the season.
Báez has the worst strikeout rate in baseball at 35.8 percent. He also has the ninth worst OBP (.286) in baseball. To put it simply, his only production is if he gets hits or hits homers. When he struggles, he really struggles and is almost a non-factor in a team's lineup.
For the Mets, Báez has a 92 weighted runs created (wRC+), which is eight percent below league average. This measures a hitter for the value of each outcome in plate appearances.
His .210/.258/.452 slash line is not something to brag about either. However, it is in just 66 plate appearances. We'll see where he is at by the end of September.
Factor the performance in and now consider the state of the Mets.
The Mets are 9-19 since the July trade deadline. Of course that record isn't all on Báez, but he hasn't produced like the Mets hoped, meaning he has blame in their free fall from the top of the NL East standings to third place and seven games back.
From a fan perspective, they don't want to hear excuses or complaints, not when you're making millions of dollars (Báez is making $11.6 million this season).
Telling the media, and especially the New York media, that the thumbs down motion is to the fans is simply not a good look when you're not performing. It just isn't.
Players are not robots and they have emotions. However, Báez created a gigantic distraction at the absolute wrong time.
The team is not playing well and he created a war between the players and fans.
He put himself ahead of the team, forcing other players to have to answer questions related to this topic rather than just baseball.
He put the front office in a position to have to pick a side in the controversy. The front office made it worse, but if Báez at the very least says the thumbs down gesture isn't at the fans, this entire story blows over.
I understand where Báez is coming from. No one likes getting booed. It doesn't make players play better. It actually makes you as a fan look bad.
New York fans are not perfect either. They probably have booed more than they should, but all of this comes with the territory of being a professional athlete.
Báez just had no place saying what he said in that moment. He had no justification. He has 13 hits and 22 strikeouts to show for the city over the course of a month.
This story is a non-story if Pete Alonzo makes a similar statement. At least he's been in New York for consecutive seasons.
Perhaps Javy should realize he's not a $200 million player before he tells the fans how to fan.