As Javier Baez descended the dugout steps at Citi Field after finishing up a few minutes with the media Tuesday, a fan yelled to him, “Javy, we just want to win here, bro.”
“Me too,” Baez replied.
Baez, Francisco Lindor and the Mets attempted to do damage control following Baez’s revelation Sunday that a thumbs-down celebration a few players had been using in recent games was in response to booing fans.
“I didn’t mean to offend anybody. And if I offended anybody, we apologize,” Baez said less than an hour before the start of a split doubleheader against the Marlins. “We’re just trying to move forward and leave this in the back.”
Both players attempted to clarify the meaning of the gesture, saying it was directed more at the dugout than at the team’s fans.
Baez had said Sunday: “I want to let [the fans] know that when we have success we are going to do the same thing to let them know how it feels.”
On Tuesday, he said: “This is something that I’ve done in the past, against the other team. I did it in LA to the dugout. I might say something wrong about I was booing the fans.
“I really meant like, to boo me now, and not to the fans, but our dugout. I’ve done it against other teams. I didn’t say the fans are bad. Like, I love the fans. I just felt like we were alone. Like, the fans want to win and they pay our salary like everybody says. We want to win too. The frustration got to us.”
Manager Luis Rojas acknowledged the Mets held a team meeting before the game, but didn’t divulge specifics of who was in attendance beyond saying that Baez and Lindor “showed up and they were accountable.”
“They told us to be ourselves. Obviously we are going to be professional and we’re going to stop it for the love of the fans,” Baez said. “This was a couple of days back and this is going to stay in the back. The fans can do whatever they want. They’re gonna do them, and we can’t control that. We just want to win, as the front office [does], and the fans.”
Mets president Sandy Alderson had called the thumbs-down gesture as a response to the fans “totally unacceptable,” while owner Steve Cohen told The Post’s Joel Sherman on Monday that those players – also including Kevin Pillar – “hit the third rail…messing with fans.”
“Glad to hear our players apologizing to the fans,” Cohen tweeted Tuesday. “Let’s get behind our players today and go out and win 2 today!”
Baez will be a free agent after this season following his deadline acquisition from the Cubs, but Lindor is signed for 10 more seasons and is owed $341 million after a trade last winter from Cleveland.
“We did it. We went over it, however, it was wrong and I apologize to whoever I offended,” Lindor said. “It was not my intent to offend people. I can’t go against the fans. I’ve never done it in my career. We play for the fans…for our teammates, for the front office, for our families, for the city. With that being said, I apologize. It don’t look good on our part.”