Reyes also was voted in as a starter last year, but he couldn't play because of a hand injury. If he could, Reyes would like to make up for it this time by playing the whole game, if it would help his league snap a 10-year winless streak."Oh, yeah. I'd love to do that," Reyes said. "But it's up to the manager, and he wants to get in other people the fans want to see." An All-Star break is the season's pit stop, where conversation is dominated by reflections on the first half and anticipation of the second. This conversation pit has been different for the Mets: A year ago, they were dissecting a runaway (a 12-game division lead); this time, they had to discuss a 13-20 spiral that has pared their NL East edge over Atlanta to two games. None of them defended the team's recent play. But they chorused on the theme, "Hey, give us some slack. All those injuries and we still got a lead." Asked to grade the team's first-half play, Wagner said, "C-minus. Even that's probably a little high." "We've been very inconsistent," Wagner elaborated. "The young kids in the rotation [John Maine, Oliver Perez, Jorge Sosa] have really stepped up, but the offense has underachieved and the bullpen hasn't been putting teams away the way we did last year. "But the positive thing is, we are in first place with a chance to improve on that. With the talent we have on the team, we should be better." "We haven't really played the way we're capable," Wright said, "but I think our best baseball is ahead of us. We just need to step up and maintain that consistency and energy." No problems with energy the next couple of days. A year ago, Beltran started in center between Alfonso Soriano and Jason Bay. No disrespect meant, but they're no Bonds and Griffey, who will be bookending him Tuesday night. "To play with Bonds and Griffey ... it's a dream come true," Beltran said. "I admired those guys since high school, and to share a clubhouse with them is a great feeling. As a kid, you never think you'll be in that situation. "To be here, I'm just very blessed."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.