I’ve seen a lot of baseball players come and go during my career as a professional, but none will ever be as special or mean as much to me as my friend, David Wright.
David will be going through his final days as an active major leaguer, including tonight when he makes the final start of his fabulous career. Due to a prior work commitment, I cannot be there this evening as I have been for many of his memorable moments of the past, but I will be watching as my friend gets to go out with the class and grace that defined his career.
I’m going to miss the time that I spent with David at the ballpark. There were times that I would go down to the clubhouse after a game that I’ve scored, just to say hi to David and chat a bit. While the media crush (that David faced every day without a complaint or rejection at anytime in his career) would be conducting their interviews, I would be standing in the back, waiting for the session to end. Sometimes, before the scrum ended, David would see me walk in and we’d make eye contact like it’s “good to see you.”
Our friendship began during the 2005 season after David approached me with a question about official scoring. He’s a student of the game and a baseball fan, so scoring a game intrigued him.
Over my 20 years as a scorer, players have gotten to know me better (not always for the better) but one thing has always been a certainty, they know that I’m approachable and could discuss a call with me if they so desired. Major League Baseball has restrictions on face to face meetings but David knew he could always talk to me and I felt like he conveyed that to his teammates.
David’s impact on my life was such that it involved my rooting interests. David knew that I grew up as a Yankee fan but he did something remarkable, he got me to root for the Mets. I used to bust his chops about that and his success vs. the Yankees but it was all in good fun. He got me back a couple of times with some good-natured ribbing.
A few years back, I asked David to write the “Foreword” for my book, “162-0, Imagine a Mets Perfect Season,” and he was gracious enough to put his name to it. His name is just below mine on the cover. It’s one of the highlights of my professional career.
Another one was game 3 of the 2015 World Series when I was one of the official scorers and David hit his only World Series home run. I gave him a copy of my scorecard as a memento.
Last night, I was the scorer when David made his return. I have to admit that there were “goosebumps” when he came to the plate. The at-bat lasted one pitch, a hard smash to third that Miami Marlins third-baseman Brian Anderson made a nick pick to throw Wright out at first.
Since it was my final game at CitiField this season, I wanted to see David and wish him well but the clubhouse closed quickly and, because of my responsibilities after a game, I missed out on the opportunity. Instead, I sent him an e-mail and busted his chops one more time. What would I have scored the play if Anderson booted it, I kiddingly wrote with a ‘lol’ and of course he appreciated where that came from.
David has touched or impacted so many lives over the years. Whether it’s seeing a kid’s face light up when he interacts with them or just the way he’s received by those people who work behind the scenes for the team on the field and off, David is a very special person.
David Wright was not only a great ballplayer but he’s one of the nicest human beings on the planet.
Thank you for being MY friend.