The New York Mets have reportedly fired one of their employees who plays the role of team mascot Mr. Met after he flashed his “middle” finger at a fan during Wednesday night’s 7-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
A fan tweeted video of the incident, which quickly went viral. The club then issued a statement of apology.
“We apologize for the inappropriate action of this employee,” the Mets said in a statement. “We do not condone this type of behavior. We are dealing with this matter internally.”
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Mr. Met, known for an oversized head with baseball seams, technically only has four digits on his hand — three fingers and a thumb.
The Mets, who played in the 2015 World Series, were expected to contend for a playoff spot this season, but have sputtered to a 23-28 start due to injuries to ace Noah Syndergaard, closer Jeurys Familia and slugger Yoenis Cespedes. New York is 9 1/2 games behind division-leading Washington and eight games back Arizona and Colorado, who are both 33-22, for the National League’s two wild card spots.
Wednesday’s incident is just the latest embarrassing moment for the Mets.
After a win over Miami on May 5, the Mets tweeted a photograph of T.J. Rivera wearing the star-of-the-game crown in their clubhouse with a clearly visible sex toy in the background inside the locker of backup catcher Kevin Plawecki. The Mets quickly deleted the photo before tweeting a cropped version of the picture. But the damage had already been done as the original photo had gone viral.
The next day Plawecki blamed the incident on clubhouse pranksters.
Mascots behaving badly is hardly a new thing in sports.
In April 2014, BleacherReport.com put together a list of 25 incidents involving sports mascots.
Three mascots Miami sports fans will surely recognize made the list.
The University of Miami’s Sebastian the Ibis was on there after he drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty for excessive celebration at the 2001 Sugar Bowl. The Ibis ran out onto the field and hugged Najeh Davenport after he scored the game-clinching touchdown in a 37-20 win over the rival Florida Gators.
The birds’ antics upset coach Butch Davis, who screamed at a member of his sports information staff on the sideline before the mascot was booted off the field. Sebastian returned a few moments later and was on the field celebrating with the team as the game ended.
Burnie, the Miami Heat’s mascot, made the list for his incident in 1994 when he was hauled into court for injuring the wife of a federal judge at an exhibition game in Puerto Rico. The man who played Burnie was arrested for throwing the woman down in a mock wrestling match. Three years later, the case was settled and the team paid out $50,000.
Billy the Marlin, meanwhile, made BleacherReport’s list for a 2000 incident in which a fan claimed he had permanent loss of vision as the result of being hit in the face with a souvenir t-shirt, fired into the crowd by a bazooka-like cannon.
According to the Baltimore Sun, the team tried to smooth things over with a get-well card and a written apology from the mascot, but the fan was seeking at least $15,000 for his injury and related medical bills. The fan’s claim was ultimately unsuccessful.