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David Wright, Crossing Imaginary Thresholds

Deep down: We bet there's a part of David Wright that wishes he would have been drafted by a different team than the Mets. It's not that he has had a bad time here, or that his career has somehow been smothered in Flushing. (Other than those easy home runs down the left-field line the last couple of years, of course.) It's not like he doesn't like the fans or anything. It's just ... well, there's a whole bunch of nonsense you have to deal with when you play for the Mets that you don't have to deal with anywhere else. If Wright had been drafted by, say, Washington, he could happily be Ryan Zimmerman, underrated, forgotten, still making millions, generally left alone. He'd have just about as good a chance at the playoffs, too.

Instead, he has to endure ridiculousness like yesterday. Wright has arrived early at spring workouts, and he was in the batting cages. Now, obviously, this is a trying time for the Mets, with Madoff and uncertainty and the lack of free-agent signings in the off-season. Wright knows all this, and, all told, there just isn't much he can do about it. If David Wright hits 80 home runs this season and steals 111 bases, while also notching twenty wins with an under-3.00 ERA, the Mets are still unlikely to win the NL East this year. But that's not what this was about. This was about Being a Leader.

So, dutiful ol' Kevin Kernan makes his way to Wright and asks him about the Mets' off-season. And this is what he says:

"Internally, the idea is that things haven't gone the way that we've expected them to go now that I've been here seven years. It's to the point now where you've got to put up or shut up."

Now, "put up or shut up" is in a proud tradition of athlete clichés, just a step above "take 'em one game at a time," really. Also: Who on the Mets was talking? These are not the Jets, bragging about how great they are. These Mets were just going about their business, as their franchise collapsed around them. There is no shutting up to be had! No one is talking! Maybe "Put Up or Remain Silent" would have been more appropriate. Doesn't have the same ring to it, though.

This is to say: Wright was just, you know, talkin'. Answering a question, in the same way athletes have answered questions for years: in the most boring fashion possible. Hardly brash. Hardly a call to arms. No gauntlet thrown. Just yakkin' in the cage. You know how it goes. We mean, come on: It's freaking February 8.

This is how Kernan runs his quote:

There will be no excuses for the Mets. No pity party. That was the word yesterday from David Wright.

"Time to put up or shut up," Wright told the Post during voluntary workouts at the Mets' spring training complex.

The Madoff Mess is everywhere, and no one is expecting much from these Mets. Wright, though, doesn't want to make any excuses — for himself, or for his team.

People have been waiting a long time for David Wright to become the Mets' leader in the clubhouse. With these comments, he has crossed the threshold.

Sigh. It must be so freaking exhausting to play for the Mets.

Photo: Hunter Martin/Getty Images