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Published: September 9, 2010
The New York Mets had an opportunity to actually do something meaningful and positive in the month of September for the first time since 2006. No, we’re not referring to a pennant race here, but rather something a bit more important in the game of life. During their recent stop in Washington, D.C. and before a night game against the Nationals, the organization that has done so many things wrong the past few years planned an optional team visit to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Many athletes and celebrities have done so to brighten the day of our injured war veterans.
What should have been a no-brainer for the millionaires club that is the Mets clubhouse ended up being another black eye on them because of three names that have come up in a negative light more times than not. 29 players out of the 33-man roster made the short trip and only one (pitcher Dillon Gee) was excused and even ordered to stay back at the stadium to prepare for his inaugural major league start. But centerfielder Carlos Beltran, second baseman Luis Castillo and pitcher Oliver Perez decided on their own to not accompany their teammates.
‘The Trio of Disgrace’ all had separate excuses why they stayed away from giving real true life heroes that served their country a little happiness. Beltran stated that he had a meeting about a high school that he is building in Puerto Rico. While that may have been true, surely rescheduling it or using an alternative (Blackberry’s have become today’s replacement for the board room) could have been options. If anything, he should have used the time to work on his hitting instead of educational facility construction plans. Since returning from controversial offseason knee surgery, Beltran has struggled and is only hitting .235 in 50 games.
If anyone should feel like giving back in some way, it should be Perez. The $12 million he rakes in every year would have been ludicrous when he was effective and a decent middle-of-the-rotation pitcher. But since signing the three-year free agent deal to come back to Flushing in 2009, the southpaw is 3-8 (0-4 this season) with an ERA near 8. His reason for not wanting to go see legless and armless soldiers who have made the near-ultimate sacrifice? Perez refused to answer the question before leaving inquisitive scribes standing by his locker.
Perhaps the only one who should get a pass on this is Castillo, who was man enough to admit that he is squeamish about seeing people in that condition. He could have shown some balls and at least stood in the back, though. When you’re already in the manager’s doghouse and hitting a paltry .236, it’s in your best interest to remain inconspicious.
Some of the Mets who did the right thing and made the trip must be looking at their three teammates sideways over this. This is an embarrassment of the fullest form and one that should be dealt with in-house by the players themselves, because management did not make it mandatory.
But the problem with that is who would be the one to stand up for the majority of the roster and confront the three? The Mets lack a team leader and a true captain, the type of player that is respected and takes charge, one of the main reasons why they will miss the postseason for the fourth consecutive year.
What makes this even more disrespectful is that we are approaching the ninth anniversary of 9-11 and – coupled with the controversy over what has become commonly known as the Ground Zero Mosque – patriotism should shine even brighter right now.
About as bright as a productive baseball player’s statistics, something unknown to The Trio of Disgrace.
Photo by Bill Menzel
Tagged with: Army Medical Center, Carlos Beltran, Centerfielder, Educational Facility, Facility Construction, Game Of Life, Life Heroes, Little Happiness, Luis Castillo, Mets Clubhouse, Millionaires Club, New York Mets, Oliver Perez, Optional Team, Pennant Race, Reed Army Medical Center, Second Baseman, Walter Reed Army, Walter Reed Army Medical, Walter Reed Army Medical Center