Pedro Alvarez shouldn't waste any time with David Wright this weekend when the New York Mets visit Pedro's North Side playground, nor should he resolve to ignore the captain of the National League All-Stars for the entirety of the weekend, nor should he find any usefulness for conciliatory language on the matter at hand.
This is a simple task for the Pirates slugger.
He should seek out Wright at the change of batting practice shifts Friday, walk right up to the man who excluded him from the All-Star Eve Home Run Derby festivities Monday in Gotham despite sterling credentials, shake his hand and thank him profusely.
As in, "Thank you so much for that, Mr. Met."
And I mean without an ounce of sarcasm, not even on the Mr. Met part.
You might have heard that Alvarez, who rode an 0-1 pitch from Oakland A's starter Dan Straily all the way over the 'R' in the Pirates' center field topiary Tuesday night for his 23rd home run of the season, has been unfairly cast as a bystander through a kind of All-Star cronyism, specifically the kind where Wright puts himself and Washington's Bryce Harper in the Derby, two players who share the conspicuous commonality of having 10 fewer homers than Alvarez.
Michael Cuddyer, another Wright selectee, has 15 homers. Rounding out the roster is Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez, who took 24 into play Tuesday night.
It's unfair on its face, but it's not a bad thing.
There's probably a different opinion on the marketing side of the corporate flow chart, but if I were running the baseball operations for the Pirates, I'd be so mad at David Wright that I'd be hard-pressed not to kiss him on the mouth.
There's nothing Alvarez needs less at this stage of his ultra-promising development than a night spent swinging from the heels on national television like some kind of carnival act.
No good can come of that.
It's hair-raising enough that four of Clint Hurdle's best players might be cavorting about in the game itself, teasing the injury fairies, perhaps altering the course of a fateful and long-awaited Pittsburgh summer.
And for what, by the way?
Don't tell me it's about home-field advantage in the World Series, so the teams are obviously trying to win. If they were trying to win, would they select the teams this way?
"We have given opportunities to people to engage in this All-Star Game -- fans, coaches, managers, everybody's got a say," Hurdle said before the Pirates went out to see if they could beat the A's for the first time in the history of history. "You elect respective captains and give them the opportunity to pick the [Home Run Derby] teams; it is what it is.
"There's a part of me that was hoping [Alvarez] would get an opportunity. Now there's no opportunity. You control what you can control."
And there's another part of the manager, the bigger part I dare say, as well as the better baseball parts of everyone involved, who probably thinks Wright did Alvarez a favor.
"It very well could be; we don't know," Hurdle said. "It might have helped him a little bit, but it could have hurt him. There would probably be guys, guys that I've had conversations with, who it might have fatigued them a little bit coming out of it."
Does the name Bobby Abreu ring a bell?
Abreu had 18 home runs at the All-Star break, hit 41 to win the Monday night carnival of 2005, then hit exactly six the rest of the way. Wright himself was victimized to a lesser extent after losing to Ryan Howard in 2006 at PNC Park, and serious research has generally held that the Home Run Derby has been an exacerbating factor to an inferior second half ever since it was instituted in 1985.
Perhaps at another time, in another place, Alvarez will have reached a level of accomplishment and maturity as a hitter that he could withstand an experience in this needless sideshow, but the time isn't now and the place certainly isn't New York City, his hometown.
Can you imagine the adrenaline pumping through El Toro as he stands in the batter's box at Citi Field, in the glare of the national television lights and the din of Chris Berman's back-back-back-back-backery?
White Sox slugger Paul Konerko told Sports Illustrated after the 2002 event that he never felt adrenaline like it, not even in crucial situations of real baseball games. Such is not the climate for a still-developing hitter with a still highly imperfect swing.
On top of which, emerging from the Home Run Derby with a screwed-up swing is the better-case scenario. You might also come out of with a fractured confidence.
What if, for example, Alvarez had participated Monday and failed to homer?
It has happened.
I was at a comedy club a week after the Home Run Derby Abreu "won" in 2005. One of my favorite comics, Bill Scott, opened with this:
"I watched that Home Run Derby the other night. Yeah, I was lying on my couch and I hit as many homers as Jason Bay."
Gene Collier: firstname.lastname@example.org.