Column: As David Wright leaves, so does a piece of my childhood

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New York Mets third baseman David Wright speak during a news conference before a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

David Wright is one of the most beloved New York Mets of all time. The homegrown third baseman and captain did everything (excuse my pun) right. Many Mets stars who have come through their pipeline have struggled to stay out of the negative microscope that exists within the New York media: Darryl Strawberry, Dwight “Doc” Gooden and most recently, Matt Harvey are all examples. Wright never fell victim to the tempting New York nightlife that dragged down those stars.

In his 13 years donning the orange and blue, Wright has established some impressive statistics. He is first in team history for hits (1,777), doubles (290), total bases (2,945), extra base hits (658), runs scored (949), RBIs (970) and WAR (50.4).

But at the age of 35, Wright will be forced to hang up his cleats after he fought and clawed to make his way back to the major leagues. Unfortunately, it seems that he has lost his battle with nagging back injuries that have resulted in several surgeries. He will be activated Sept. 25 and will start in his final game Sept. 29, against division-rival Miami Marlins.

While, Wright offered some impressive statistics, he is much more important to the Mets than his records. He should be remembered and revered for his heart, desire and love for the game of baseball.

I was eight years old in 2006, I was just becoming a sports fan and I was trying to figure out which team to root for. My entire family – parents, siblings, cousins and grandparents – were all Yankees fans, so it made sense for me to become a Yankee fan as well. However, the Mets were really young, exciting and talented that year, and the tickets were much cheaper, so those were the games my dad would take me to.

I remember seeing the green grass at Shea Stadium for the first time and seeing my favorite player manning third base. Everything seemed to click. Not to mention that out of the eight games I went to, the Mets won each of them.

Nothing was more exciting than watching two, homegrown players (Jose Reyes and Wright) dominating and having fun on the left side of the infield. Now, when I heard that his final game would be played in just about two weeks, it made me remember some of his most iconic moments.

First, in a subway-series matchup with the best closer of all time, Mariano Rivera, set to close the door on the game, Wright stepped up to the plate. With a 2-2 count, Wright smashed the pitch 400-feet over Johnny Damon’s head and the Mets won 7-6 in walk-off fashion. This proved that the team was not going to be overshadowed by the Yankees that year.

Another key moment that I remember as if it happened yesterday was Wright’s homerun in game three of the 2015 World Series. During the regular season, Wright was only able to play in 38 games due to various injuries. While most people wrote him off for the rest of the season, Wright did not quit, and he was able to play October baseball.

With the Mets down in the series 2-0, they needed to show fight at home and they did just that. Power-pitcher Noah Syndergaard brushed off the leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar with a pitch up and in. It seemed like the Mets had won the game right there, but for a team that struggled to put runs on the board, they had to find a way to do that against a team that had befuddled them.

Leave it to Wright to get the offense back on track. With the Royals up 1-0 in the bottom of the first, Wright sent the ball over the left field wall to put the Mets up 2-1. By the end of the game, Wright had driven in four runs and the Mets had won 9-3.

Even though he could hit as well as anyone, no one could defend their position better than Wright in his prime. He has the hardware to prove it, with two Gold- Glove awards. But there is one play that vividly sticks out in my mind that happened at the end of the 2005 season against the San Diego Padres.

Brian Giles flared what should have been a bloop single. However, Wright had other plans as he sprinted back, leapt and caught the ball barehanded. It is a play that I had never seen prior and have never seen since.

Wright never wronged the Mets or their fans and he should be honored and proud for what he accomplished. No one, especially Wright, should regret what could have been if he didn’t suffer these debilitating injuries. The fans should be thankful that Wright gave us everything he had and more.


Michael Logan is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at michael.logan@uconn.edu.

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