“I miss the days when the biggest controversy was the black jerseys,” Cohen tweeted.
He is the second member of the Mets front office to react to shortstop Javier Baez’s comments on the thumbs-down sign he and teammates Francisco Lindor and Kevin Pillar flashed toward the crowd at Citi Field after hits as a response to fans who have jeered the club during a rough August.
Mets President Sandy Alderson released a statement on the controversy on Sunday night:
“In a post-game press conference today, Javy Baez stated that his ‘thumbs down’ gesture during the game was a message to fans who recently have booed him and other players for poor performance. These comments, and any gestures by him or other players with a similar intent, are totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
“Mets fans are understandably frustrated over the team’s recent performance. The players and the organization are equally frustrated, but fans at Citi Field have every right to express their own disappointment. 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. I will be meeting with our players and staff to convey this message directly.
“Mets fans are loyal, passionate, knowledgeable and more than willing to express themselves. We love them for every one of these qualities.”
Báez launched a 444-foot home run Sunday in a 9-4 win over the Washington Nationals before spelling out the meaning of the thumbs-down gesture during his post-game press conference.
“When we don’t get success, we’re going to get booed,” Báez said. “So they’re going to get booed when we have success.”
The Mets are 8-19 this month, dropping them from the NL East lead to third place, 7 1/2 games behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves.
Báez, who is batting .210 with 22 strikeouts in 62 at-bats since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs on July 30, said the booing doesn’t bother him, but that it is discouraging.
“I love the fans and I like playing for the fans,” Báez said. “But we can’t have our fans against us.”
Manager Luis Rojas, who heard chants of “Fire Rojas” during a loss to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night, said he wasn’t aware what the downturned thumbs meant.
“I didn’t know there was any intention of giving anything back to the fans,” Rojas said. “We want to win for the organization. We want to win for ourselves, we want to win for our front office, our owner and we want to win for our fanbase. So that’s where the focus should be.
“They have the right to react however they want,” Rojas added. “Especially Mets fans, New York fans, this market, this city that knows baseball. … They have the right to react however they want. We’ve got to understand where they’re coming from.”
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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