Time for Mets to Send Stern Message After Trio Skips Army Hospital Visit

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Time for Mets to Send Stern Message After Trio Skips Army Hospital Visit The New York Mets' on-field product this year has been, at best, disappointing. That, however, may be taking a backseat to some downright embarrassing off-field incidents.

Things may have reached a new low on Tuesday. With the team in Washington to take on the Nationals, the Mets organized a team-sponsored trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital to visit some of the wounded soldiers who have suffered devastating injuries while serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In an impressive effort, the Mets were able to corral 30 active players to make the short trip to spend time with those who have sacrificed so much for this country. Those 30 players should be applauded. 

The story, though, ended up being about the three players who did not attend. Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez were the only three players (not counting Dillon Gee — Tuesday night's starter, who was excused) who did not attend the team-organized event, according to ESPN.com.

And according to sources cited in the same ESPN.com article, Mets ownership is not very happy at all with the three players. In fact, they are said to be "fuming" over the trio's decision to forgo attending and giving up a little bit of their free time to thank those who do so much for this country.

But the story gets worse. For whatever reason, Castillo decided to talk to the media about it, and when asked why he didn't attend, this was the best excuse he could muster: "You see people with no legs and with no arms, being in a hospital like that — I don't like to see that."

Chalk it up as just another example of a professional athlete — one who is hitting .236, mind you — who has a totally warped view of reality.

It's completely plausible that Castillo is speaking the truth here. There is no one in his or her right mind who does want to look at missing limbs. But you can be sure that there's no one who dislikes it more than the person who is unfortunate enough to lose a limb while serving his or her country.

Castillo obviously forgot all this while also apparently forgetting to take into account that maybe seeing him and the rest of his Mets teammates would give injured soldiers something to take their minds off the fact that they're indeed missing an arm or a leg.

The rest of the Mets — the ones who found time in their busy schedule to make the visit — aren't particularly happy with their teammates either.

All-Star third baseman David Wright expressed that he would have liked to see better attendance for the function, clearly singling out those three.

Pitcher R.A. Dickey was a little bit more vocal and thorough with what he felt about the situation.

"I have not spoken to anyone who didn't go, but I do have feelings about it. Sure," Dickey said. "In our own way, it's a way we can pay personal tribute to people who we take so for granted every day."

Beltran, Castillo and Perez are three players who have all had their fair share of differences with the club in the past. There has been speculation that the Mets will try to part ways with each of the three over the offseason and go in different directions.

If the Mets truly are fuming over the situation, they need to take a stand now. They need to do whatever it is they can to get rid of Beltran, Castillo and Perez. It's bad enough to disrespect the game and underachieve on the field, but to skip out on something like this trip, when just a couple of hours of their time would have sufficed — that is something that is truly unpardonable.

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