Greetings from Citi Field. I don't want to say it's empty here, an hour before we kick off Pirates-Mets, but instead of fans lining up at the concession stands, the concessionaires are lining up to serve fans.
(No, not really.)
Not much new going on here - Jason Isringhausen probably won't be available out of the bullpen - so I'll follow the Columnists' Rules and go back to an old reliable, hot topic: Jose Reyes. It seems like there's a lot of scenarios floating around the yakosphere (trademark Neil Best) that would allow Reyes to stay a Met beyond this year.
Gosh, I sure don't see any of those scenarios coming to fruition.
First of all, I think Reyes is going to get his money if he carries this season through. Something approaching the Carl Crawford contract of seven years and $142 million, which Fred Wilpon so famously referenced. I've been duped too often by people saying, in May and June, "No one's giving (Player X - Reyes, in this case) that kind of money."
Then December rolls around, and Team X suddenly feels compelled to sell some tickets, and bang - Jayson Werth is getting seven years and $126 million from the Nationals.
Second of all, this whole trading David Wright thing? Right now, the Mets would be selling low; we'll see what the duration of this season brings. Second of all, Wright's and Reyes' contracts won't really be comparable once you factor in the terms. Wright is under control through 2013, while it's reasonable to think Reyes will get at least five years, and quite possibly more.
--I was glad to see that Jose Bautista leads the major leagues in votes for the All-Star Game. Not because he deserves the spot more than others. As I've written before, I never object to a fan's vote. Derek Jeter leads the shortstops? Fine with me.
No, I'm pleased because it shows enough fans aren't caught up in speculation regarding Bautista illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
There's a middle ground between the hero worship that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa received back in 1998 and pointing your finger angrily at anyone who enjoys an unexpected power surge. That compromise path involves understanding the game's history. That players always have used whatever competitive advantage they could.
And that now, to MLB's credit, the drug-testing is better than ever, yet that doesn't mean that players have stopped trying to find ways to get better.
So you take the era for what it is, and you salute - but not worship - those who succeed. You vote for Bautista for the All-Star Game, if you so desire. You don't view him, or any other player, as some force of good.
You'll see that the Yankees, by the way, are absolutely dominating the balloting. Crazy. The Yankees already won today, by the by.
--The World Baseball Classic, the delightful, ephemeral international tournament, will expand to 28 teams for 2013.
--Have a great night.