(David Wright Explodes In Joy Earlier This Month Photo: Neil Miller/Sportsday)
More than Doc Gooden, Keith Hernandez, Mike Piazza, Ed Kranepool, or even Tom Seaver, David Wright deserves the title of Mr. Met.
The Mets captain waited years for this moment and finally, he’s getting a chance to get back into the postseason.
And today, he even added the icing on the cake, hitting a three-run home run in the ninth before the Mets clinched their sixth division title in their history.
“It doesn’t get any better than that, to hit a home run in the clinching game and celebrate with the guys in the clubhouse, celebrate with the fans who made the trip here to Cincinnati,” Wright said to reporters. “We deserve this, the fans deserve this, the city of New York deserves it. I’m glad we could deliver for them.”
From any other player, those words will sound hollow, essentially platitudes towards the fans From Wright, though, you know them to be true.
If Derek Jeter can grow up in Michigan to embrace the mantle of the New York Yankees, then Wright, as a kid for Norfolk, may be the all time symbol of the Mets. All other Met greats had moments playing for other teams outside of New York and in Seaver’s case, even requested to be traded from the club.
Wright, facing Wilpon austerity however, took the hometown discount to stay and hoped that one day, today would happen.
That’s because the 32 year-old third baseman didn’t come to New York and grew to love the city, he was actually a Met fan growing up.
Ten years ago, this newbie reporter – getting his first Shea Stadium assignment from a weekly paper – asked Wright about to say something about himself that most fans don’t know about.
His response: “I’m probably a bigger Met fan than anyone sitting in this stadium.”
Over the years, you saw that love of the blue and orange come out. In 2007, it was Wright who kept the team afloat while the collapse was happening and ultimately, because he was let down by his teammates, the third baseman may have lost out on the MVP award.
You never heard a bad word about that from him and he has been a good soldier over the years.
Now he’s getting rewarded.
It almost didn’t happen either, because Wright was out since the second week of the season. First with a hamstring injury and then with a spinal stenosis, which many though could be career threatening.
But he fought through it and was motivated by what was happening on the first.
“When I was laying on my back rehabbing for a few months this summer, this is what I dreamed of,” he said. “This is what motivates you, this is what pushes you, this is what drives you.
“Not just for what we do on the field, but how close this team has come together and how we play for one another.”
That’s why this may be a special team. Unlike the band of mercenaries that Wright played with back in 2006, this team was built from within, with the pitching staff coming first and then Sandy Alderson building a credible lineup at the deadline.
Even with Yoenis Cespedes coming to Flushing, you felt something was missing. They seemed to be a bat short. Which is why the Mets biggest acquisition probably came on August 24, when Wright returned in Philadelphia, adding another threatening bat in the middle of the lineup.
Showing no signs of the bad back, Wright has helped carry the team the last month, with a .308 average, two homers and nine RBI.
More importantly, Wright has been truly the team’s captain. It was the Captain, who before his rehab assignment started, helped Wilmer Flores through his non-trade.
It was Wright, who helped defuse the Matt Harvey situation earlier this month, speaking to the righthander in the dugout during a game in Miami.
And no matter what transpires over the next month, you know Wright will be front and center for the Mets in the playoffs.
“I can’t be more excited or more proud to wear the orange and blue,” Wright said in Cinncinati. “I’ve said it from Day One, I bleed orange and blue. To be able to celebrate with these fans, this city, this team, it’s an unbelievable feeling.”
Did you expect anything different from Mr. Met?