In an emotional press conference, David Wright announced he was playing on Saturday, September 29th and never again. While we’ve already entered into a post-Wright Mets era, this was a crushing confirmation of the news.
With news like this, the last thing on most people’s minds was playing a game. Let alone two. And yet, there was a scheduled doubleheader.
In the first game, we were treated to a terrific performance from Steven Matz.
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 13, 2018
Overall, Matz pitched 6.1 innings allowing three earned on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
It seemed the Marlins were going to win this game 3-2, but that was until Don Mattingly made a mistake. Instead of sticking with Adam Conley, who absolutely owns the Mets, Mattingly went to Kyle Barraclough because Amed Rosario was due up.
While Smith wouldn’t deliver, Michael Conforto would hitting a game tying homer off Barraclough. It was his fourth homer in five games.
Three pitches later, Todd Frazier would hit a walk-off homer.
With that, the game ended with a homer by Wright’s heir apparent for best homegrown position player followed by a homer by the guy signed to replace Wright. Really, it was quite the fitting ending.
But still, there was more baseball to be played.
Vargas would get the win for a few reasons. Chief among them was his catcher Tomas Nido, who made a great play in the field
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) September 14, 2018
before hitting his first career homer
Tomas Nido, the @Mets' No. 12 prospect, went deep to left for his first MLB homer. The 🚀 went 400 feet and had an exit velocity of 101.9 mph. Watch live: https://t.co/nY6ru3JzAQ pic.twitter.com/n8SdejjbMq
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 13, 2018
The Nido solo shot opened the scoring for the Mets in a three run inning capped off by a two out Conforto RBI double.
That 3-2 lead would hold up as Seth Lugo was as dominant as you can be in his two innings. In fact, Lugo would strike out five of the seven batters he faced.
The Mets built a seventh inning rally starting starting with a Jeff McNeil two out single. As the inning progressed, the Mets scored insurance runs on singles by Conforto and Smith.
That 5-2 lead proved to be save for Robert Gsellman to shut the door on a seemingly rare doubleheader sweep.
With the sweep, the Mets are now just 10 games under .500 for the first time since June 21st.
When telling the history of the New York Mets, you will have to include the story of David Wright. Wright was not only one of the best players in franchise history, but he was also one of the most beloved players. More than that, Wright’s tale is a story of perseverance with respect to how he keeps battling back from spinal stenosis and a litany of other ailments.
Certainly, the end of Wright’s career is a story of tragedy with many looking for a story of redemption at the end. With the Mets currently 12 games under .500, there is no better opportunity to finally allow Wright to play in front of his daughters. It is also a good opportunity to allow Mets fans to say good-bye to one of the most beloved players in franchise history.
It seems that while the Mets will allow Wright to play in rehab and simulated games, they are not willing to let him play in Major League games. The Mets will say he’s not physically ready to play while many believe this is just a way for the Mets to not give up the insurance money. More than ever, there seems to be anger among Mets fans over the perception the team is allowing the insurance money to stand in the way of Wright playing again.
With that as the backdrop, our Mets Bloggers have offered their opinions and level of anger over the situation:
11 out of 10.
Good: let David play when he wants.
Bad: Don’t let David play because it’ll save you money. Worst: don’t let David play because it will save you money, but while doing so, put on a charade that you’re trying to let him play in a few days and that there’s still something he has do to. Of course the Wilpons chose the worst option.
Michael Mayer (MMO & MMN)
I have nothing to add to his perfect statement
Anger would eminate from passion … a will to fight. I’m not sure it’s worth it to fight the stupidity of an organization that specializes in same the bad optics that they love to bring up when Yoenis Cespedes plays golf on his off days. Especially when “bad optics” are the best case scenario with insurance fraud being the worst. What a depressing scale, eh?
I actually choose to not be angry. I also don’t believe the Mets should activate David Wright for the hell of it either. I mean, it’s not like he’s saying publicly he’s ready. He himself has said he still has work to do to get to the place he needs to be in order to play at this level. And he knows his body, condition, and skill better than anyone. When he says he’s ready and the Mets are playing a game, that’s when I’ll get pissed. That doesn’t at all mean the Mets do things right, and aren’t messing with the finances of his contract right now. But I myself certainly don’t want to see a fractional version of Wright or Wright get hurt ten minutes after he gets activated. I trust him, and understand what all of this is and want him to play when he can actually be productive.
Michael, these are very important points and you’re right. If they want a “major league player”, as they say, then they should have the guts to shut him down and then reason that there are two more years left on his contract and we’d rather have him 100% (or as close as possible) for those two seasons. Why would you rush him back for these three weeks? That’s why this all makes me feel like this is a stunt by the Mets to have the nostalgia night with him and Reyes, and then negotiate a buy out after the season or release him. And honestly, I don’t want nostalgia night. I’d guess that David doesn’t want that either. I think we do too much looking back and not enough looking forward anyway. And nostalgia night with David and Jose one last time on the left side of the infield would be an obvious contrived cash grab. That would make me sick to my stomach.
I don’t know the Mets are looking for nostalgia night either. John Ricco has indicated they want a productive player when they activate Wright. I also don’t think they’re trying to rush him back. Remember, he got 40 AB and they took it very slow. And at one point he shut it down himself temporarily because he had trouble. This has been an excruciatingly slow and grueling process, for both his sake and the team’s sake. He’s close and I think a lot of people – including me – are itching to see him play. But the last thing anyone needs is for David to come back, get hurt and it all be over. So they’re going to make sure they do everything they can to get him back and get him back to a place this can be managed so he can stay healthy, on the field and can live a normal life after baseball.
It’s such a sui generis situation. Any other player who’d been out two-plus years working his way through rehab would have been reinstated and been used accordingly (sparingly). But no other player would figure to have David’s kind of contract and there wouldn’t be this kind of insurance consideration on the table.
In that same vein, I don’t believe any other player at this stage of his career would have worked as hard as David Wright to get back. David takes his Metsdom and his captaincy very seriously, though I also believe if he was in any other profession, he’d approach it with the same level of dedication.
There’s also the matter of the physical ailment he’s trying to play through. It’s not the usual baseball injury, is it? Both the player and the team ought to be as careful as possible. This is a 35-year-old we’re talking about, with a life after baseball. I’d hate to see his determination backfire into something catastrophic (as if that could happen to a Met).
All that said, it’s clearly about the money. The Mets like getting those checks from the insurance company, this year and next. It’s a lot of money. To forfeit it for a few at-bats (I find the “he needs to come back as a complete player” jazz to be nonsense) is a legitimate if distasteful business consideration.
As a Mets fan, I will take my lead from David. If he thinks he can do it, if he’s not in agony, if he’s been putting in all this effort because playing baseball is what he does and what he’s contracted to do, I think it’s chintzy of the Mets to deny him the logical conclusion of his effort, which is playing baseball.
That, too, is part of doing business. Also, it’s a sport, for cryin’ out loud. David is being sporting about this. The Mets are being less so.
As for the notion that this is strictly about nostalgia, I don’t think so. Not for David, certainly. He’s an active player, as inactive as he’s been. He’s not Minnie Minoso coming out of retirement at the behest of Bill Veeck or something like that. It would certainly warm my sentimental heart to see No. 5 and No. 7 take the field together one last time, but I doubt that’s what’s driving the third baseman. If it was driving the Mets, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. He’d be on the roster already.
And let’s be real: the Mets are incapable of selling tickets for anything in September 2018. The modest bump they might (might) get from “oh boy, the Captain is back,” doesn’t measure up to whatever they’d be forfeiting in recovering on the insurance policy…neither of which should be our concern as fans, but baseball is indeed a business, our favorite team included.
In the end, when he does call it a day, we’ll remember David Wright for so much more than a month full of clouds. He was sunshine for so many seasons. No matter what happens, he shines on.
When looking at franchises, there just some players who matter more than others. Most people subscribe to this theory, the Wilpons included. How else could you explain all that they have done for Jose Reyes despite his proving for two years now he is no longer a Major League player.
In the end, when you look at how well the Mets treat Reyes, you have to ask why they are not extending the same courtesies to Wright. Certainly, with all that Wright has given the franchise, including his signing an under-market extension to stay and keep payroll at a level where the Mets could add additional pieces, he has done all that has been asked of him and more.
Right now, he just wants to play in front of his daughters. It’s a human request. One that should not fall on deaf ears. Ultimately, if Wright is not given this chance to at least end his career on the field instead of the trainer’s table, you may see a level of anger from Mets fans you have not seem in quite some time. I know I will be as angry as I’ve ever been.
In the end, we all hope to see Wright play again. Personally, I also hope you return the favor these excellent writers have given me by participating in this and other roundtables by visiting their sites.
If you’ve been to or watched Mets alumni at Citi Field for events like the 30th Anniversary of the 1986 World Series or Mike Piazza‘s number retirement, you will see just how much former Mets respect and revere David Wright.
What makes those moments so special is you see Wright look on with admiration at players he grew up rooting for as a child, and they treat him as an equal. There is a mutual respect between Mets greats.
As we are seeing with the Mets yet again, this mutual respect is shared between Mets players but not ownership. No, the Wilpons just have a way of alienating themselves with players like they have with the fans.
One interesting note is how prominent Mets who have played for both the Mets and Yankees are more closely affiliated with the Yankees organization. David Cone and Al Leiter have worked for YES. We’ve seen them and players like Dwight Gooden participate in Old Timer’s Day.
Part of the reason we see these Mets with the Yankees is because of the World Series titles. We also see the Yankees making the efforts to bring these players back. More importantly, these players have typically received better treatment from the Yankees than they have the Mets.
For example, could you imagine the Yankees removing a popular player’s signature from the walls of their stadium? Would you see them turning Monument Park into an unkept portion of their team store?
More importantly, could you see the Yankees handling the Wright situation in the matter the Mets have? It’s extremely doubtful.
Over what amounts to less than $5 million, the Mets are not going to let Wright play again. For what it’s worth, the Mets have that money socked away from the trades of Asdrubal Cabrera and Jeurys Familia and maybe even the insurance from Yoenis Cespedes.
Sure, the Mets have offered other reasons, rather excuses. They’re going to rely on medical reports (even though he’s been cleared to play baseball games). They’ve said there’s a higher standard of medical clearance to play in MLB as opposed to minor league games.
Now, the Mets are moving the perceived goalposts by saying the team wants him to be a regular player as opposed to a “ceremonial” player or pinch hitter.
Of course, Wright being an everyday player is a bit difficult with the presence of Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier, and Wilmer Flores. It’s also more difficult due to Wright’s own personal physical limitations.
Of course, the Mets don’t know what Wright wants or feels like he’s capable of doing because John Ricco admits to not talking to Wright about all of this.
Seeing how all of this has transpired and how the Mets have opted to operate their business, especially post Madoff, this is about the insurance money.
While Wright has always said the Wright thing and has never been truly critical of the organization, everyone has their breaking point, and this could be his.
Much like we’ve seen with former Mets greats, Wright may be so aggrieved, he just stays away (not that the Mets give players reasons to return with event like Old Timer’s Day). And seeing how Wright has been treated, we may see the same thing with fans and other former players because, at the end of the day, no one should be alright with how this is transpiring.
Sadly, unlike the greats of Mets past, there’s no other home for him. The Mets are it.
So while we’re seeing what could be Wright’s final chance, we may be seeing the end of Wright before he fades away forever. That could be the saddest thing of all, and it was all over a few million.
That would start with Jay Bruce hitting a first inning homer, and it would continue thanks to the younger players on the Mets roster.
Nola would make a tough pitch, but with McNeil being excellent with his bat control, he was able to put a cricket swing on the pitch and hit it into right field for an RBI double.
For a moment, it looked like Bruce was going to drive home McNeil, but he was robbed by Carlos Santana.
At that point, it was tied at 2-2 with Steven Matz matching Nola pitch for pitch. Over his five innings, he allowed two earned on three hits while walking two and striking out eight.
Those two runs were the result of a Santana homer. As it would turn out, Santana would not be the only first baseman flashing leather and hitting homers.
In a surprise decision, Dominic Smith got the start at first against one of the best pitchers in the National League despite not having started a game in over a week. Despite the difficult circumstances, Smith would deliver:
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 8, 2018
That homer would tie the game at 3-3, but the Mets would not be able to pull this one out as the young bullpen was not up for the task.
Tyler Bashlor entered in the seventh, and he dominated the Phillies with two strikeouts and a pop out. The problem would be Callaway left him in for the eighth.
In the eighth, Rhys Hoskins hit a leadoff homer to put the Phillies up 4-3. The Phillies couldn’t muster a rally past that as McNeil and Smith combined to make a phenomenal defensive play:
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 8, 2018
Overall, the Mets would increase Nola’s ERA from 2.23 to 2.29, but they would also give him his 16th win of the season. Time will tell if this will be sufficient to help deGrom.
Game Notes: While downplaying the possibility David Wright will return this season, John Ricco admitted he has not spoken to Wright.
Tonight, the new NFL season officially begins with the Atlanta Falcons taking on the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. With that, for the first time since Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals claimed their first Stanley Cup, Major League Baseball no longer has the stage all to themselves.
That’s a big problem for the New York Mets.
On Sunday, the Mets are going to take on the Philadelphia Phillies at the same time the New York Giants will begin their season at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. With respect to the Giants, they are a team featuring a new head coach, the second overall pick from the draft, and of course, future Hall of Famer Eli Manning.
On Monday, the Sam Darnold Era begins as the Jets travel to Detroit to play the Lions on Monday Night Football. At the same time, the Mets will be hosting the Miami Marlins on Bark at the Park Night.
Certainly, the early NFL season offers optimism for both Jets and Giants fans. It also features young and exciting players who fans hope will serve as the cornerstones of their respective franchises for the next decade.
By the same token, the Mets have decided it was not time to call-up Peter Alonso, and have instead opted to play Jay Bruce at first base. For that matter, the team is not playing Dominic Smith at either first base or left field. Apparently, the team believes fans want to see Austin Jackson play center field over Brandon Nimmo.
That’s the problem with the New York Mets right now. Short of a Jacob deGrom start and possibly a Zack Wheeler start, the Mets are not offering you a real reason to tune into their games. That was one thing during the summer when baseball was the only show in town. However, with the NFL season staring along with your favorite TV shows beginning to roll out their season premieres, the Mets are going to fade further and further away.
Really, short of David Wright making a miraculous comeback, a proposition which seems less and less likely by the day, the Mets are not offering their fans much of a reason to watch.
Clearly, this is something which has been lost on the Mets franchise. It’s not just that they are a bad team who is 13 games under .500. Now, they’re a team overshadowed by the world around them. For the moment, it is something that will affect just September viewership and attendance. However, until the Mets fix something with their team, it is something that is going to plauge their 2019 season and beyond.
The Mets Fan
My name is Tim Ryder. I’m a writer for MMO, a contributor at Call to the Pen, and have been published at Hardball Times/Fangraphs, as well as Good Fundies. I formerly wrote for Friars on Base, a San Diego Padres site.
Personally, I’m 34. I was born October 12 at Booth Memorial in Flushing, which probably sealed my fate. I’m married to a wonderful woman named Heather and I have two lovely daughters, Kayla, 13, and Lily, 8.
How You Became a Mets Fan
I became a Mets fan at birth for the most part. Being born in 1983, I don’t remember ’86 and only vaguely recall ’88. My first real Mets memory is that 1989 team with the championship core still intact. I do remember hysterically sobbing on my kitchen floor after finding out Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter were released in November of that year. A precursor for my relationship with this team, I guess.
Favorite Mets Player
Excellent question. My favorite Met of all-time is probably David Wright. Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana are right up there, as are Mike Piazza, John Franco, geez, I could literally go on forever. Next question.
Favorite Moment in Mets History
Johan’s no-hitter. I sat with my dad at the kitchen table and watched that game from first pitch to last. My dad passed away in 2015, so it’s definitely emerged as “the one” for me. And no, I don’t care that Carlos Beltran‘s foul ball was actually fair. Plus, even with replay, it still would have been foul (can’t review a ball that bounces in front of the base ump).
Message to Mets Fans
Keep voicing your displeasure with the way this organization is run. Send tweets. Send letters (126 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY).
Keep putting pressure on the Wilpons to run this team properly. They’ve become tone-deaf to our passion, as well as our desperation. We’ve been loyal through the best and, mostly, the worst of times and we deserve the same respect in return.
When discussing David Wright, it is important to remember exactly who he is. Wright is not just a homegrown Met, but he was once a kid who grew up a Mets fan. Essentially, Wright is to the Mets what Joe Mauer has been to the Twins.
Perhaps, that is the reason Wright signed what was an lucrative albeit under value contract to remain a Met for life. Maybe this is the reason Wright has sacrificed. Or just his career but also his personal health to help the Mets try to win a World Series.
Understandably, Yankee fans bemoan all that could have been with Don Mattingly and his back issues, but what has happened with Wright is all the more heartbreaking.
Heading into the 2015 season, Wright was clearly on the path to the Hall of Fame. That was before disaster struck. What was once thought to be a leg injury turned into a spinal stenosis diagnosis. The path of his career would be forever changed.
Still, there was some hope. After being activated in late August after missing 115 games, Wright homered in his first at-bat. Over his final 30 games he hit .277/.381/.437 with seven doubles, four homers, and 13 RBI.
Wright would finally get his chance to play in a World Series, and in his first at-bat at Citi Field, he electrified the Citi Field crowd:
In 2016, there was still hope for a World Series and for Wright.
Through the first 11 games, he was hitting .279/.404/.512. Through 24 games, he was at .258/.405/.472. Sadly and predictably, his body broke down from there.
His season ended on May 27th. After that, he has undergone neck, back, and shoulder surgery. After those surgeries, Wright has not played in another MLB game.
It’s not for want of trying.
Each year, Wright has gone through the same routine. Report to Spring Training with hope. Eventually, he gets shut down, confers with his doctors, and then he starts an ill-fated rehab assignment.
Through all of this, Wright’s body has been purportedly failing him leading everyone to agree to do the merciful thing and stop Wright from playing.
The thing is Wright still won’t give up, and with him being under contract for just two more years past this year, he’s running out of chances to play again. As it turns out, that contract may be standing in the way of his return.
Mike Puma of the New York Post reports the Mets are hesitant to activate Wright due to the financial implications.
According to David Lennon of Newsday, if Wright played the final month of the season, the team would owe him $3.2 million.
But it’s more than that. For the insurance policy to kick in again, Wright would need to miss another 60 games due to injury. Assuming Wright misses Opening Day, the Mets will have to pay Wright roughly $5 million.
If Wright doesn’t pay at all this year or the next, that $5 million would be roughly $1.25 million with insurance covering the remaining $3.75 million.
Essentially, if Wright plays, the Mets stand to lose somewhere between $6 – $7 million in money which would have been covered by insurance.
With that as a backdrop, we have heard John Ricco recently give the following quotes on Wright:
- “It’s unrealistic to think he’d be activated any time soon.”
- “We just haven’t seen that level of consistency of playing on quantity or quality base at this point.”
- “Quite frankly at this point, he hasn’t been able to make some of the benchmarks that were laid out for him.”
Just when you thought things couldn’t get more absurd, Mickey Callaway offered that while Wright is medically cleared to play in the minors, he’s not medically cleared to play in the Majors.
When told of these and other comments, Wright’s response was, “The challenge has been accepted.”
Here’s the thing. Wright has risen to the challenge. He’s gone out there and played in rehab games, and he’s still standing. He’s still working hard to get back on the field even with his rehab assignment getting cut short. Although, that may be a technicality with Wright’s rehab assignment being up as of yesterday and MLB rules requiring you to sit five days before playing again.
Right now, the challenge isn’t on Wright. No, it’s on the Wilpons to do the right thing here.
Realistically speaking, this may be Wright’s last chance to play again. If we’re being honest, he’s not going to significantly improve this year or the next. Moreover, with this team being 16 games under .500, Wright has a chance to play and not ruin the Mets season.
Him being allowed to play means he gets to end his career on the field and fans can come to Citi Field to wish him good-bye and to thank him for everything.
Insurance money aside, there’s no reason to prevent this from happening, but the insurance money exists and the Wilpons are the Wilpons.
These are the same owners who readily admit the insurance proceeds are not reinvested into the team. These are the same owners who have been willing to take back lesser prospect packages to have their trading partner eat all of the salary. Overall, the Wilpons have arguably made better financial decisions while making bad baseball ones.
While it may be difficult for them to act differently, they need to do so here.
Wright has been the face of their franchise. When times were tough with Madoff, Wright stood by them, didn’t complain, and took less money to stay. With Madoff and just general penny pinching, Wright’s prime was wasted. Even with a chance at a World Series, this organization did not go all-in.
Simply put, the Wilpons owe it to Wright to give him a chance to play again. They owe it to their fans to let them see Wright play again.
Despite all that has happened, the fans and Wright have been there supporting this team. We all deserve our moment. More importantly, Wright deserves a chance to end his career on the field.
Injuries have already cost Wright his shot at Cooperstown. They have robbed him of the end of his prime and the rest of his career. Likely, they cost Wright of the chance to ever win a World Series. Hopefully, it will not be insurance money that prevents him from ever playing again.
The Mets are so far under .500 that they can’t even get in the mix for what is a wide open National League Wild Card. They’re not even following the Nationals lead who traded off Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams at the same time the Mets are playing Jose Bautista and Austin Jackson everyday. Given the record and the poor direction of this organization, it becomes increasingly difficult to find reasons to watch.
With that in mind, here are reasons to watch the Mets other than you love the Mets or you hate yourself:
- Will Jacob deGrom finish the season strong enough to the point where he overcomes everything to become the Cy Young winner with the fewest wins from a starting pitcher?
- How will the Mets handle first base with Jay Bruce, Wilmer Flores, and Dominic Smith? Will the team actually call up Peter Alonso?
- Is Zack Wheeler for real, or is the guy we have known him to be during his Mets career ever going to show up again?
- Can Kevin Plawecki be an everyday catcher? With the Devin Mesoraco neck injury we should finally find out.
- Which one of the young relievers are for real? So far, the answer appears to be Drew Smith and Daniel Zamora, but maybe just maybe Tyler Bashlor can enter the mix as well.
- How much progress can Amed Rosario make on both sides of the ball?
- Will Michael Conforto continue this second half surge, or will he regress as his shoulder presumably tires?
- Is Jeff McNeil really the next Daniel Murphy?
More than any of this, we wait for baited breath to see if David Wright will actually take the field for the Mets again. If he does, that will be the greatest reason of all to watch the Mets again this year.
The Mets Fan
How You Became a Mets Fan
I’ve been a Mets fan for as long as I can remember. My mom would take me to Shea stadium when I was little and I fell in love with the game.
Favorite Mets Player
Favorite Moment in Mets History
My favorite moment in Mets history was when I attended Game 2 of the 2015 NLCS and saw Curtis Granderson rob a HR. It felt like our year but it wasn’t.
Message to Mets Fans
My message to Mets fans is, As long as the Wilpons own the team don’t expect any success. Don’t blame the manager, don’t blame the GM(s), don’t blame Garbage players for being garbage. Put all the blame on ownership and nothing else.