David Wright did not shed a tear Saturday. After a long day and evening, this was the Mets at their best as they sent their Captain off with a farewell that was fit for a New York City baseball icon. As Wright said the night before, it was going to be surreal. No other words to describe the love fest that will continue during the season finale Sunday afternoon at Citi Field.
He won’t take the field again. That was not in the plan after saying goodbye to the fans, the organization, and New York City. Those pre game warm ups in the infield, batting practice, and the first Met to take the field Saturday night won’t be duplicated at Citi Field for a long time.
The first time he started a game, since May 27, 2016, was surreal. David Wright wanted to be there again and those two years that it took for him to get back where he belonged was a story in itself. It was a love fest with the fans and one that will never conclude.
“This is love,” Wright said to the fans. “I can’t say anything else. This is love.” That was moments after Austin Jackson ended a long evening with a run scoring double that made the David Wright farewell that more special. The Mets would win 1-0 in a four hour 13-inning marathon.
Those fans, 43,928 and many who remained, they did not want this night to end. They loved their Captain as much as he loved them these past 14 years with the New York Mets.
He greeted the home plate umpire, tipped his cap numerous times. Jose Reyes, the one teammate that he grew up with in the organization, got to be on the field again with David Wright during the first four innings this love fest. Manager Mickey Callaway did not want to take his Captain out of the game but that was the plan.
The honor was being able to finally manage the seven-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, even if it was inserting the name David Wright in the lineup this one time.
“If you’re not a person like David Wright is, you don’t get honored like this,” Callaway said. It was handled, and as they say, “The Wright” way. The Mets have had their share of great moments and the players that got the honor. But not like this night at Citi Field where perhaps their most popular player was granted that final night to say goodbye.
He said the future is uncertain but the Mets will find a way to keep him in the organization. David Wright always wanted to be a New York Met and he made that clear. He said the effort to get back was worth every minute but he will never be in peace with the final outcome.
Had there not been the unfortunate injuries and pain to return, perhaps David Wright was headed to a Hall of Fame career. He said the 2015 season and that first World Series will always be memorable and he hoped there would be another.
“Tonight was special,” he said. And more than once it was about the fans who loved him and he had more love for them.
That walk-off hit from Jackson was for David Wright. It was meant to be that way as the Mets ran out of the dugout and chased down Jackson on the infield. David Wright watched and enjoyed the moment. For one more time he was a part of the celebration like the one in 2015.
During the week, as this final night got closer to being a reality, the Mets always said David Wright was their leader.
“Never had a teammate that I knew in such a short time with that dedication to work so hard and get back to do what he loved so much,” Jackson said. This was the highlight of my career”
Us too. The media guys and gals that covered David Wright will always appreciate the courtesy and his time. We also had a love fest with this New York City athlete, The star was Austin Jackson this night, but in the clubhouse, by his locker and near the door it was David Wright. He had a difficult time wanting to take off the uniform.
“I can’t tell you how much I loved the city’s reaction. It was truly amazing and I can’t thank everybody enough. It hit me right in the heart,” he said.
Finally it was time to put a wrap on all of this. The emotions of the entire evening and seeing how much David Wright is also a family man, also having that love for his young daughter, Olivia. No doubt the pain to walk away was difficult but being a proud Dad was first.
David Wright made sure to shake the hand of every media member that exited the Mets clubhouse which is a sanctuary for every player. He said thank you and we thanked him.
A surreal moment for David Wright. And the New York Mets did this the “Wright” way.