Mets approached dating website

Updated: June 14, 2013, 1:54 AM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- A New York Mets marketing official courted a dating website that pairs older women with younger men, seeking to promote third baseman David Wright's All-Star candidacy.

The Mets ultimately got cold feet and backed away from the partnership, the team acknowledged Thursday.

Wright recently had been named "MLB's Hottest Cub" via a vote of more than 11,000 respondents on the dating website Cougarlife.com -- topping the likes of Cole Hamels and Matt Kemp. So a Mets employee approached the dating site, inquiring if it might want to help Wright overtake San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval in NL All-Star voting at third base.

The prospective arrangement, first reported by Deadspin, eventually was nixed by the employee's superior.

The Mets host the All-Star Game on July 16 at Citi Field.

Wright surely will represent the Mets, even if he's not the starter at third base. He already has been named captain for the Home Run Derby and is featured in advertisements leading up to the game.

Sandoval, incidentally, is on the disabled list with a left foot strain. He leads Wright by more than 200,000 votes in the most recent balloting that was released Sunday.

"Cougar Life voted David Wright as the hottest cub," the Mets said in a statement Thursday. "In our effort to expand All-Star balloting to wider audiences, so as to increase votes, we did reach out to Cougar Life. Last year there was a big swing of votes at the end that cost David the starting job. We decided to do everything to make sure that doesn't happened again this year.

"We ultimately elected to pass. We thank whoever leaked this to Deadspin for increasing awareness of #VOTEWRIGHTNOW AT METS.COM."

Asked after Thursday's 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals about the Mets' abandoned marketing effort, Wright said he was appreciative.

Wright then revealed he actually has asked the team to tone down its in-game appeals to fans to vote for him for the All-Star Game. The Mets' captain said he does not feel right getting singled out for attention while the team is struggling. The Mets (24-37) are a season-low 13 games under .500.

"It's nice when the organization is trying so hard to do something for one of their players," he said. "And I can't thank them enough for that. At the same time, I've asked them to back it down a little bit, especially with the stuff in between innings.

"You appreciate what they're trying to do, and they're very good-hearted. At the same time, this is a team game. As much as I'd like to be here to represent this team in the All-Star Game, we can't let this become an in-between-inning, one-player production. Especially with the way we're playing as a team, I feel very uncomfortable being singled out for All-Star Game-type stuff."

As for being named "Hottest Cub," the recently engaged Wright responded playfully.

"Serious? Ummm, I guess it's a nice honor," he said. "Did you guys have to draw straws for who asked that question? I guess I'd like to thanks my parents for the genes."

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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