Are you like me? When you're on a plane, do you lower the bar for the TV shows and movies they air? I find myself laughing at an episode of "Two and a Half Men" as if Moliere himself had written it.

When I read David Lennon's story on Billy Wagner this morning, I flashed back to such a moment on a flight. It was this episode of "Third Rock From The Sun, " and Dick and Officer Don were trying to do the "Good Cop/Bad Cop" bit on a perp. Only they kept botching it.

"How about a new strategy?" Dick suggets. "What about 'sad cop, slightly effeminate cop'?"

In Lennon's story, Wagner - now with the Braves - said that he spoke with Mets CEO Fred Wilpon last year, right before the Mets traded him to the Red Sox. And that the Mets essentially let him go because they knew he didn't want to set up for Francisco Rodriguez in 2010; he wanted to close somewhere.

Never mind the fact that they had the contractual right to a) exercise Wagner's $8 million option for '10 and keep him, b) exercise the option and shop Wagner or c) offer Wagner arbitration, and then recoup two '10 draft picks when Wagner signed elsewhere, assuming he didn't actually accept arbitration.

So the Mets acted as good cops with Wagner, when they should've been acting as bad cops.

And then...when Carlos Beltran had his right knee surgically repaired in January, the Mets picked a public fight with their All-Star centerfielder. Even though no one faulted Beltran and his agent Scott Broas for perhaps not following the full letter of the law regarding the Mets' green-lighting of the procedure.

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Should've been good cops. Acted as bad cops, instead.

Now, let's not be naive here. The clear theme in this saga is money. The Wagner trade was a salary dump and nothing more. But if they were willing to spend $2 million on Alex Cora and $1 million on Gary Matthews Jr. for their 2010 budget, wouldn't it have made more sense to spend, say, $1 million combined for the people to work those two jobs and earmark the other $2 million toward the Wagner draft picks?

Yes, they also would've owed the Wagner another $3 million or so last ytear that the Red Sox picked up. If digging up another $3 million was a real issue, then the Mets have a real problem.

The Red Sox will get the 20th and 39th selections in this upcoming amateur draft, as a result of the Braves signing Wagner. The Mets, if they were actually willing to pay over slot, could really have given their farm system a lift with those picks.

All of this being written, I do believe the essence of Wagner's story. That Wilpon, in addition to the obvious financial considerations, did want to do right by Wagner. Which is a problem, because that did not also do right by the Mets.


Meanwhile, with Beltran, the Mets were protecting themselves financially, giving themselves the right to get out of Beltran's last two years if something went wrong with the surgery. But there still was no need to go public with it, infuriating Beltran in the process.

If you're not a Mets fan, then you don't need to be up in the air to find the situation hilarious. If you are a Mets fan, though? You're probably like I was when I watched "Kicking & Screaming" on a different flight, my sensitivities heightened once again: Crying your eyes out.

--The Mets have scratched Jose Reyes from their lineup today, although they say it's not related to an injury.

--Joel Sherman questions the Mets' reliance upon Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez and John Maine. I found this on Twitter.

--Bernie Williams arrived at Yankees camp and offered some typical thoughtfulness to reporters. I love that Williams talks as though he's still cotemplating a come back at age 41, when he hasn't played major-league ball since 2006.

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--Erik Boland wrote about Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Aceves, all of whom pitched in the Yankees' Grapefruit League opener yesterday.

--Thank goodness I said, "Thanks, but I'm working" to Governor Pateron's invitation to a World Series game last year.

--Nolan Ryan offered high expectations for his Rangers team. I agree that they are equipped to make a very strong run this season.

--We're gonna have a book giveaway contest today and another one tomorrow, so check back in later.