(I hate to say it, but John Stearns has really let himself go)

Opining that Norfolk Tides officials had their fill of “the bitter aftertaste of a rag-tag team made up primarily of has-been free agents who could muster nothing better than a 57-84 record,”, the Virgina Pilot’s Rich Radford suggests the parent club showed little respect for its Triple A affiliate, before or after last week’s announcement the Tides were hooking up with the Orioles.

A delegation of Mets officials visited Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday. When they learned that the Red Barons were going to align with the New York Yankees, the Mets’ concerns grew. That’s when they asked All-Star third baseman David Wright, who was born in Norfolk, grew up in the area and played briefly with the Tides in 2004, to call Young and plead the Mets’ case late Wednesday night.

Said Young: “I hope they didn’t pull him out of the lineup to make that call.”

Calls to the Mets were not returned on Friday. But here are some of the comments made in a Mets news release and to members of the New York media.

Said Jeff Wilpon, Mets chief operating officer: “We thank the fans of the Virginia Beach area for their support for the past 38 years.”

The Tides played one year in Portsmouth and 37 in Norfolk. They never played in Virginia Beach.

Add Wilpon: “In some cases, being in a major airport like New Orleans, you’ve got a much easier time moving guys. In Norfolk, they usually had to go somewhere else before they could get where they had to go.”

Wayne Shank, deputy executive director of the Norfolk Airport Authority, has news for Wilpon. Norfolk flies direct nonstop to 26 cities, including many with National League teams.

New York?

“Direct,” Shank said.

Philadelphia? Atlanta? Miami? Cincinnati? St. Louis?

“Direct, direct, direct, direct, direct,” Shank said. “And when I say direct, I mean nonstop direct.”

Mets GM Omar Minaya said the franchise preferred New Orleans because “we also wanted to be in a warm-weather area.”

Aside from the possibility of a chilly week in April, the weather in Hampton Roads is hardly arctic.