David Wright Should’ve Supported Matt Harvey Today
When you are the Captain of a team, you’re the designated leader of the team. As the leader, you are tasked with leading both in and out of the clubhouse. At least publicly, you need to have your teammates back.
“Ask Matt,” Wright replied trying to stifle a grin. “If he’s talking to you.”
We tried again a minute later. This time the question was about Harvey thriving on the controversy, maybe even performing better under these types of circumstances. Wright smiled.
“I am not Matt Harvey’s mouthpiece,” Wright said. “I imagine playing in the big leagues, getting a chance to pitch on Opening Day, should be motivation enough. So I expect him to go out there and pitch well.”
I’m not suggesting Wright was malicious here. What I am suggesting is it’s a bad moment for him. He’s grinning while talking about Harvey’s media boycott. He’s declaring he’s not Harvey’s mouthpiece.
You know what we didn’t see here? Quotes about how his teammate was treated unfairly. Maybe as a leader of the team, Wrighf could’ve not spoken to the media at all. Maybe he could’ve had his teammate’s back after the way the media treated Harvey. Sometimes being a Captain is about biting your tongue. Wright should’ve gone to Keith Hernandez for some advice on how to handle the situation.
Back in 1989, the beginning of the end of the Mets terrific run, Darryl Strawberry tried to start not one, but two fights with Hernandez at picture day. At the time Strawberry was upset with Hernadez because he did not support Strawberry’s threats to walk out in the team over a contract dispute. Hernandez supported Strawberry’s request for a new contract, but he also advised that it was a mistake for Strawberry to threaten the front office.
These quotes, the fact that Strawberry was seated next to Hernandez, and probably some of Strawberry’s other demons came to a head. Despite the media being there, Strawberry tried to fight him twice.
After the altercations, the media finally caught up with Hernandez. What did the twice attacked Keith Hernandez have to say about the incident? He simply stated, “It was unfortunate, but we will be fine.” Strawberry was unhinged and tried to attack him twice, and Hernadez simply swept it under the rug.
You couldn’t blame Hernandez if he went off on Strawberry there, but he didn’t. He did what a Captain does. He didn’t make it a bigger deal. At least publicly, he gave no indication of any prior or lingering problems. He at least tried to make things easier for his teammate. It’s what Wright should have done.
There was no one forcing Wright to talk to the media. No one was forcing him to say he wasn’t Harvey’s mouthpiece. These were Wright’s choices. With these choices, he was quoted in an article about how Harvey needs to talk to the media, about how he’s going to make things harder for his teammates. Whether intentional or not, whether or not it was malicious, Wright came off as the good guy, and Harvey came off as small and petty. Wright looked like the good teammate while Harvey looked like the bad teammate.
A Captain has to know better. Furthermore, Wright has been in New York for 12 years. He has to know better. With his responses, he gave the media yet another story about Harvey.
Wright has been a terrific Met. He’s been great with the media and fans. He wasn’t a good Captain or teammate yesterday. Hopefully, he will get better because his teammates need a Captain who will stand up to a tough New York media, not feed it with more stories about his teammate.