Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mets don't have same HOPE as Yankees

It's a good thing that New York Yankees players aren't as busy or skittish as some of their counterparts in Queens or HOPE week would never have happened.

When Yankee Public Relations Director Jason Zillo started preparing to host the second annual HOPE week at the stadium last month, he told the team all about the people whose accomplishments and perseverance would be honored. After he was done, there was a line of players eagerly waiting to sign up to participate in not one, but multiple events celebrating the team's most disadvantaged fans. It's too bad the Mets can't get the same kind of commitment from all of their players.

What should have been a nice gesture by Mets players in visiting injured veterans at Walter Reed Hospital instead turned into a PR disaster because Carlos Beltran, Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo couldn't find the time or just didn't have the heart for the visit. Castillo made a comment about not wanting to see that, presumably referring to young soldiers missing limbs due to their time in war zones. It's understandable that the image might be disturbing to him. But what Castillo obviously failed to comprehend is that spending some time with major-league ballplayers helps these young men and women forget their troubles, if only for a few minutes, and lifts their spirits. That alone should have gotten him past his skittishness. But it didn't.

I give a lot of credit to the Mets players and staff that made the trip. The story should have been them talking about their experiences with the injured soldiers, bringing light to their plight. Instead, it's about three players who couldn't spare three hours out of their lives. If the Mets can't even get all their players to attend an afternoon outing to comfort people who have sacrificed so much for this country, it doesn't bode well for their future as a team.

Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the photo.

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