Baseball has unwritten rules.
If you deliberately plunk our best hitter with a pitch, for example, we’ll plunk yours right back.
There are unwritten rules as well for other facets of the venerable game—including mascots, whose wacky antics delight and amuse many spectators.
Chief among those rules, however, is that your high-profile, in-stadium goodwill ambassador doesn’t flip the bird at fans.
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Mr. Met, well-established mascot for the New York Mets, violated that rule Wednesday night, and, of course, the single-digit salute was captured in a three-second video made for today’s fun-size social media appetite:
This season has already taken its toll on Mr. Met.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) June 1, 2017
That kind of move can get a person fired—and it did. The Mets immediately cut ties with the employee and issued the following statement:
“We apologize for the inappropriate action of this employee. We do not condone this type of behavior. We are dealing with this matter internally.”
Team officials told the Associated Press that it has multiple people who don the Mr. Met costume, with its giant anthropomorphic baseball head, Mets uniform and gloved hands (which, by the way, have only four fingers). The team dismissed the specific Mr. Met portrayer whose glove flicked off those jeering fans at the home team’s already disastrous contest against the Milwaukee Brewers.
It’s another in a frustrating series of off-field debacles for the Mets, who seem to be underachieving at five games below the .500 mark following substantial success in the last two seasons.
In one incident a player was photographed with a sex toy in his locker; in another, the team’s once-vaunted pitcher Matt Harvey missed a game due to a hangover that he initially told the team was a “migraine.”
The Mets’ PR team has had its hands full.
On the bright side for the team, the front office can at least be happy with its PR department’s swift and professional response to the one-finger tribute from its grinning mascot. There’s only so much an organization can do when something like this goes viral, and it will wane in due time.
The social media wags will soon have a new online piñata to whack, and Mets fans will focus on the current season—a disappointing campaign or a thrilling second-half turnaround. Either way, Mr. Met’s indiscretion should become a mere footnote to 2017.
Or would that be a finger note?