There's still almost a month left in the baseball season, but the Mets are in fourth place in their division, two games below .500, and have essentially given up on another mediocre year. They've tacitly acknowledged they are out of contention for the playoffs by giving away Jeff Francoeur and Rod Barajas; in addition, Jason Bay, Johan Santana and Jose Reyes are all injured, and average home game attendance has dropped by nearly 5,000 people this season. For a while, it seemed like the K-Rod scuffle would be the quintessential metaphor for the teams' season, but now another off-the-field incident has captured the enraged minds of sportswriters everywhere.
The Mets made a team visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Tuesday, but Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo all missed the trip (so did rookie Dillon Gee, but he was making his first major league start that night). According to clubhouse sources, you can add the snub to a growing list of frustrations the organization has with the three derelict players. Beltran excused his absence saying he had a foundation meeting about a high school he is building in his native Puerto Rico, and that he visited a veteran's hospital last off-season. Castillo sounded scared of the wounded veterans: “I don’t like to see people like that, so I never go there. Sometimes you see people with no legs, no arms. I don’t like to see that.” Perez refused to comment on the matter.
All three have had a rocky relationship with the club as of late—Beltran because of his off-season knee surgery, Castillo because of his vanishing playing time, and Perez because he refused to go to the minors. Mike Lupica thinks this is the final straw for the three, and that they may not be Mets next season: "...Beltran and Perez and Castillo are just bad stats and bad contracts, front men now for another bad Mets September. Of course Beltran and Perez and Castillo don't get on the team bus to go to Walter Reed. Why get on a team bus when you don't want to be on the team?"