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Mr. Met Gives Fan The Finger, Employee Out As Team Mascot

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Even Mr. Met is frustrated with the team's disappointing start.

New York's funny-looking mascot flashed his middle finger at a fan during Wednesday night's 7-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, and the team says the employee who did it won't work in the costume again.

A person tweeted video of the incident, which soon went viral online, and the club quickly issued a statement. The fan who posted the video said his friends reached over a wall simply hoping for a high-five -- and they got a one-finger salute instead, CBS2's Tony Aiello reported.

"We apologize for the inappropriate action of this employee," the Mets said in an email attributed to the organization. "We do not condone this type of behavior. We are dealing with this matter internally."

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A Mets official told The Associated Press more than one person wears the Mr. Met costume during each season, and the person who donned it Wednesday night will not do so again. The Mets official spoke on condition of anonymity because the statement from the organization was the team's only authorized comment.

Mr. Met, known for an oversized head with baseball seams, is among the sport's most recognized mascots. Technically, he has only four digits on each hand — three fingers and a thumb. 

"You don't want to see the mascot of the Mets flipping off the fans," Jermaine, a Mets fan, said. "I think he's had it with that costume or uniform he's gotta wear, and it's not even the middle of summertime and he's already calling it quits."

"It didn't shock me the way that things are getting out there. It doesn't surprise me at all," said Bryan, a gloating Yankee fan who suggested the team capitalizes on the incident by redesigning Mr. Met's hand to include a giant middle finger. "I think they should recast it permanently, maybe hand them out on Opening Day to all the fans."

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"I think Mr. Met should have a little more savoir faire and not flipping the bird at Met fans," Alex Trinkoff, of Port Washington, told Aiello.

"As a role model for Met fans and for kids, that was the wrong thing," said Eddie Ali, a fan of the team.

"I can understand the frustration because you know as a Met fan, it can be very frustrating, but that's getting a little carried away, especially with the fans," said Alex Delgado, of Paramus, New Jersey. "It should have been to the team -- just kidding, just kidding!"

Expected to contend for a playoff spot, the Mets are 23-28, hurt by injuries to ace starter Noah Syndergaard, closer Jeurys Familia and slugger Yoenis Cespedes.

In another embarrassing incident for the franchise following 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, and the background included the locker of backup catcher Kevin Plawecki and a clearly visible sex toy.

Plawecki attributed the incident to clubhouse pranksters.

And in another flap, pitcher Matt Harvey didn't show up a game after a late night on the town, causing the team to suspend him for three days.

A.J. Mass, who authored a book about his three years as Mr. Met, says any mascot who would do this should have his oversized head examined. 

"Doctors, it's do no harm. And with mascots, it's don't do what he did," he said. "You have to assume everybody's looking at you, and you have to behave professionally."

Mass told Aiello it gets miserably hot inside the costume, fans get rude and sometimes grabby. But obviously, rule No. 1 for mascots is never lose your cool.

Mr. Met did make a brief appearance during the seventh inning of Thursday's game, but it was a different employee inside the costume.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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