Slumping infielder Javy Baez said he and other players used the gesture to “boo” back fans who haven’t been supportive enough of the struggling team.
Baez claimed that jeers from the crowd don’t bother him, but said he and his teammates are returning the gesture all the same “to let them know how it feels,” according to ESPN.
“They’ve got to do better,” Baez said of the fans, adding that they’re putting more pressure on the team with their boos.
But Mets management wasn’t amused.
“These comments, and any gestures by him or other players with a similar intent, are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Alderson said in a statement, adding that “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,” he continued. “I will be meeting with our players and staff to convey this message directly.”
Baez was acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the July 30 trade deadline to help the Mets make a push toward the playoffs. Instead, Baez has hit just .210 and the team has since been in free fall, losing 19 out of 27 games in August and dropping from first place in the National League East to a distant third.
Players Francisco Lindor and Kevin Pillar were also seen doing the thumbs-down, but Pillar clarified his behavior later Sunday on Twitter.
“No I’m not booing the fans. We are having fun,” he tweeted.
Team owner Steve Cohen was much more muted in his response:
“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 that he’s learning,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said, per the New York Daily News.
Fans, he said, “have the right to react however they want.”
Twitter users stepped right up to greet the Mets:
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.