Given the firestorm of criticism that greeted Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and Carlos Beltran last September when they failed to participate in the Mets’ visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C., you’d think club officials would issue very thorough instructions prior to tomorrow’s return to the hospital, if only to avoid the public relations fallout.  However, as the New York Post’s Dan Martin reports, there’s just enough grey area where any player who oversleeps and/or parties too much this evening can be served up as a sacrificial lamb, without the team ever running afoul of the union.

“I felt very strongly it should be voluntary,” GM Sandy Alderson, an ex-Marine, said. “I think it’s important for us, and in keeping with the fact that those at Walter Reed have volunteered, we want people to go visit who want to be there.”

Carlos Beltran said he will attend. A year ago, he was involved in meetings for the school he is setting up in Puerto Rico.

“I would have been there last year,” Beltran said. “I’ve visited veterans … and I’m looking forward to going.”

Manager Terry Collins said he expects the turnout to be “maxed.”

OK, everybody up to speed here?  Attendance isn’t mandatory — you can’t have that sort of thing in a free country. However, the servicemen and women at Walter Reed have lost limbs trying to protect those very same freedoms, so any Met who dares blow off tomorrow’s photo opportunity is AN ENEMY OF FREEDOM and deserves no more benefit of the doubt from talk radio or the local papers than your average al-Qaeda foot solider.

If you’re confused by this, don’t worry, that just means you’re an enemy of freedom, too.