When you operate a blog, when you observe everything that happened today at Citi Field, the last thing you want to be is overwhelmed by the moment. But when it comes to David Wright how could you help but be overwhelmed.
As a diehard fan who watches nearly every game, beginning on July 21, 2004 until May 27, 2016, in some, way, shape, or form, Wright was a part of your everyday life.
The hits. The catches. The wins. The losses. Sadly, the injuries.
From February until October, Wright was there. The best thing about my favorite baseball team. The one thing worth loving from a team who did not always deserve the love and respect.
To pick a favorite moment is nearly impossible.
The bare-handed catch in San Diego. Diving into the stands in Seattle. The classic bare-handed play with which he’s become synonymous.
Putting on a show in the Home Run Derby with Paul Lo Duca firing in darts. Homering in his first All Star at-bat. Starting and playing third at the first All Star Game played at Citi Field. Any of his seven All Star appearances.
The 30/30 season. Gold Gloves. Silver Sluggers. Being the first Met to homer at Citi Field.
Homering in his first at-bat back of the DL. The slide in Washington. The RBI single and fist pump in the NLDS. Staring at the World Series logo on his cap at Wrigley Field. The home run:
As much joy as there was, there is a sadness.
The epic 80s type run we all expected never materialized. It wasn’t due to Wright’s lack of trying.
Wright would be the only Met to deliver an RBI in Game 7. In September 2007, he hit .352/.432/.602. In September 2008, he hit .340/.416/.577. He homered off Yordano Ventura. More than any of that, he stayed.
Because he stayed, we watched on as his body failed him. It robbed him not just of a chance to go out there and play, but it was enough to cost him a chance at a ring and possibly much more.
With his body failing, we got to see what made Wright truly great. His integrity, hard work, dedication, and love of baseball were on full display. Make no mistake. Unless Wright possessed all of these qualities, especially the love of baseball, we would not have seen him continuously fight his way back despite the injuries and the surgeries.
If nothing else, Wright earned the opportunity to step back onto the field and end his career on his terms instead of in a trainer’s room. He earned that not just by the rehab and work he put in to return, but because of who he is and what he means to the franchise.
While Wright was thinking of sharing the moment with his daughters, I was thinking of sharing it with my sons. It was important for me to share the moment with them. After all, we’re Mets fans, and as Mets fans we love David Wright.
Certainly, poor Peter O’Brien missed the memo as he caught a Wright foul out in the fourth. For that crime, he will be forever mercilessly (and good-naturedly?) booed every time he returns to Citi Field.
With the foul out, you were left hoping and praying for just one more at-bat. Even an inning in the field. It wasn’t to be as Mickey Callaway made the switch.
Wright left the field to the adoration of Mets fans everywhere. Really, it’s remarkable how loud everyone was as they were all fighting through the tears.
A brilliant career in which he set many records and became arguably the second best player in Mets history was now over, and even with fans having over two years to prepare, none of us were.
We can say it’s time to find a new face of the Mets. It’s possible there will be another captain. But, there will never be another David Wright.
I count myself lucky for watching Wright’s entire career. I cherish the fact I got to share the experience with my father and brother, but also now my sons.
To me, in the end, this is what baseball is all about – the shared experience across generations.
There will be other players and other moments we can all share. Short of a World Series, it’s going to be next to impossible to top David Wright’s career.
In some ways, it’s sad to see that go. In others, there’s joy in having been able to experience it. Mostly, it’s gratitude.
Thank you for everything David Wright. You are loved by Mets fans, and you will never be forgotten.
Congratulations to David Wright on a great career, and from Mets fans everywhere thank you from the bottom of our hearts.