Flushing, NY: Javier Baez went from villain to hero at Citi Field Tuesday evening. An apology from Baez and Francisco Lindor to Mets fans, prior to a day-night doubleheader with the Marlins, may have not been enough after their Sunday thumbs down escapade.
But a five-run ninth inning, highlighted with Baez’ speed and aggressive base running from first to third. sliding into home with the winning walk-off run, secured a peace truce.
In the aftermath of a Mets suspended first game 6-5 come from behind win, their third straight, Lindor was the first to hug Baez who lost a gold earring in the jubilation of hero at home plate.
Grounds crew and security personnel, along with team president Sandy Alderson, spent over a half hour near the home plate grass area on their knees in search of the earring that is now lost and probably won’t be found.
However after this unexpected drama of the past few days, which concluded with a doubleheader sweep, the first nine-inning game a completion of an April 11 suspension due to rain, Javier Baez is now the hero. .
The gold earring wasn’t found, though, a peace truce with Mets fans, Lindor, and most importantly Javier Baez was.
Pehaps as Baez and Lindor said, a thumbs down was not intended to disrespect the loyal base of Mets fans. Regardless, the thumbs down national headline resulted in a closed door team meeting, kind reprimands from Alderson, and team. owner Steve Cohen.
A pre-game public apology on the field with the media seemed to be sufficient enough from Baez and Lindor that would hopefully offer closure. The thumbs down was another dark eye for the Mets, so getting back to winning was the emphasis
And of course the proper remedy is winning.
The Mets did their part and many have forgiven Baez and Lindor. There were mixed feelings when Baez came to the plate in the ninth as a pinch hitter. Thumbs went up for Baez from Met fans with his pinch hit single.
Thumbs up for Baez when he scored the winning run. Smiles all around and an apology accepted.
The doubleheader Mets’ sweep, 3-1 in seven innings of game 2, was also important as they try and get back in the division race with the Phillies and first place Braves. The Mets are in this 14-game stretch with the last place Marlins and Nationals.
So now it is their chance to capitalize and win ball games and if they are going to make this interesting again, Baez and Lindor are key factors in their lineup.
“Javy being the hero on that, it’s just incredible,” said Conforto about the winning run. “He’s here to win. He’s here to be a big part of this team.”
With a larger crowd, 18,101 settled in for Game 2, Baez in his first at bat heard some boos and cheers but many chanted “Javy Baez…Javy Baez.”
Baez said, “Like I always say, I play for the fans and I love the fans. And I know the fans in New York have a little passion for this team and this organization, so I have the most respect for them.”
Apology accepted. As Conforto said, “In short, I think that winning cures everything.”
Edwin Diaz recorded his.27th save of the season to close out Game 2 and has not allowed a run in 13 of his last 14 appearances.. The Mets got their fourth straight win and for now everything seems to be normal.
“As soon as I saw the hit, I think instincts kicked in and no one was stopping him,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said about Baez and the winning run.
In a nutshell, that is Javier Baez. He can excite a crowd and make a difference in a ballgame. His adjustment is starting to begin with a New York fan base that is sensitive and compassionate about their team. It was different in Chicago, and he will always be a hero with Cubs’ fans as a major contributor to their 2016 World Series championship.
I stated in a column posted on NewYorksportsday.com, Javier Baez was not not a fit for New York in a Mets uniform. Perhaps that statement is wrong and not correct. Perhaps with the thumbs down attitude, and no doubt joining childhood friend Lindor in the drama, was improper.
And we can’t question how Baez, and for that matter Lindor, can change the complexion of a lineup that impacts final results of winning ballgames and that occurred Tuesday evening. Baez has that tendency to strike out often, but his base running and defensive skills are an asset.
So like Mets fans, I would assume Baez more than Lindor gets the second chance. A few days ago, the Mets fan base was the public enemy of Javier Baez.
After Tuesday night the attitude went from villain to hero. Winning will do that. What happens to Javier Baez and his future with the Mets will be determined when the season concludes.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso
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