Walter Reed Flap a Fitting End for This Mets Season - NBC New York

Walter Reed Flap a Fitting End for This Mets Season

One last bit of ugliness before the Mets go away for a while



    Walter Reed Flap a Fitting End for This Mets Season
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    Not to pat our own backs or anything, but our prediction that the story of three Mets skipping a visit with wounded troops at the Walter Reed Hospital has proved to have some serious staying power.

    Mike Lupica climbs his pedestal to call for heads to roll, veterans are defending the players' right to do something else while in D.C. and Jeff Wilpon is unhappy withCarlos Beltran, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez. There's some sentiment that those three players, all of whom have had issues with Mets management, skipped the visit in order to make some kind of a statement and that other members of the Mets have decided to go public with their negative feelings about their teammates. Beltran denied that and said he had a charity engagement while Castillo decided to do his best to make things worse.

    "I don't like to see people like that, so I never go there," Castillo said. "Sometimes you see people with no legs, no arms. I don't like to see that."

    Maybe not so much with the talking for you, Luis.

    At any rate, this thing is sticking around. Our opinion is that this shouldn't be much of an issue. We might not agree with the choices made by these ballplayers, but it's certainly their right to make them. Charitable works should be done because you want to help, not because you're being forced or because you're looking for attention. It probably wasn't much of a unified statement by those three guys -- If nothing else, Castillo would have come up with a better fake excuse -- but it also probably says something about team cohesion that the Mets couldn't do something as honorable as visiting wounded soldiers without seeing it blow up in their face.

    That said, there's little chance that this would have fueled so much controversy if it wasn't these three players who missed the trip. All three represent everything that an increasingly infuriated fan base hates about the current Mets. All three represent the state of inertia this team is in because of their huge outlays of money to players who don't help the team win and limit their chance to bring in players who will. They serve as shining examples of all that has gone wrong under Omar Minaya's watch in the last two years and have allowed themselves to be seen as players who don't care on a team that has long been seen as apathetic about their poor results.

    There's long been a feeling that Beltran doesn't fit in with the Mets, a feeling exacerbated by the entirely coincidental way his return from injury coincided with the team's regression to expected levels after the All-Star break. Castillo and Perez have each wildly underperformed their contracts and have never endeared themselves to anyone with their willingness to do more to help the team. Worst of all, the team has refused to aceept that this is wasted money and move on to find players who might actually help them. No one much wants any of the three of them around any more and that's helped make this a firestorm.

    Sadly, all of the above makes it a fitting capper for this Mets season and, assuming there actually are some changes, the entire dismal era of Mets baseball that's followed the 2006 National League Championship Series. It's ugly, embarrassing and wholly unnecessary, which makes it like just about everything else in Queens of late.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for You can follow him on Twitter.