Saturday is going to be David Wright’s last major league baseball game. He’s going to make the trot to third base, leaping over the foul line and striding lightly to his position to give third base a thorough kick. He’s going to carefully bend down during warmups, tap the ball into his glove a few times before slinging it to first base, probably slowly, probably painfully.
And I’m going to be cheering the whole time, because Saturday is going to be David Wright’s last time ever standing in the hot corner. He’s been fighting for two years—since May 27, 2016, or 856 days for those keeping score at home—to even get in good enough physical shape to hit the ball out of the infield against minor league pitching. He’s dealt with neck, back and shoulder problems, including spinal stenosis, all leading to the myriad of mental hurdles it takes to keep faith for over two years.
Saturday is going to be David Wright’s last game, and he’ll earn every bit of fanfare he’s going to receive. The 7 Line is asking fans to sign a four-foot tall card for David during their Sunday tailgate. Every single seat in Citi Field on Sept. 29 is sold out, and standing room only tickets are going for $100 on StubHub. He’s not getting a huge farewell tour like Derek Jeter because he didn’t even know this was going to be the end of the line until Sept. 13, when he formally announced he was coming back for the end of the season and then informally announced his retirement. He didn’t flat out say he was retiring; no, it was much more sobering than that.
“Physically, the way I feel right now and everything the doctors have told me, there’s not going to be any improvement… It’s truly been an honor to take the field with you, and serve as your captain,” Wright said to his teammates. “To the fans, words can’t address my gratitude.”
Saturday is going to be David Wright’s last time taking a couple practice swings before adjusting the straps on his gloves about five million times before toeing into the batter’s box. He’s going to stare down at the plate and wiggle his bat around a bit before raising it behind him, sticking his right elbow out in a stance that coaches can only hope to teach their young players. He’ll take a hearty swing with a slight uppercut, the same swing that produced a .296 career batting average, 242 home runs, 970 RBI and 196 stolen bases. Oh, and not to mention that he’s the Mets all-time leader in doubles, total bases, hits, RBI, extra-base hits, walks, runs scored…
Saturday is going to be David Wright’s last game and we should all remember that he was, before injury, a Hall of Fame player. Before the catastrophic injuries, which really started on April 19, 2011, he was a gold- glove, perennial all-star player who excelled in every aspect at a position that not many current players can. He could defend, he could hit for power and average and he was not only the face of the Mets, but the MLB as well.
Saturday is going to be David Wright’s last game and he will finish his MLB career without a World Series ring. We’re painfully reminded of 2006, the 2007 collapse and 2015, where he missed the majority of that year after an April injury. But he fought back. He was crucial in the Mets’ NLDS win over the Dodgers and cranked a two-run home run during Game 3 of the World Series, the first World Series game in Citi Field history. That was his moment. His city. And despite the outcome of that series, he will have that pitch, that swing, those cheers and that home run trot forever.
Saturday is going to be David Wright’s last game ever. And if he appeared next to me at this very moment, and I got to say whatever I wanted to him before he took the field one last time, the only thing I could think to say is thank you. Thank you for being one of the classiest players in baseball, for setting the gold standard all future baseball players should strive to achieve.
Thank you for your unrelenting perseverance in making a comeback, for showing everyone that hard work, dedication and a little bit of hope can get you anywhere you want. Thank you for being more than courteous to the fans and to an organization that deserves none of your gratitude. Thank you for your passion, your walk-off hits, your patented barehanded play, your fist pumps, your leadership. Thank you for being the first player I truly ever loved. Thank you for making me a Mets fan, because for all the strife I get about that, at least I get to say I rooted for you every day. Even if I never get to meet you, I feel like I already know you.
Saturday is going to be David Wright’s last game ever, and we’ll be saying goodbye to one of the best ambassadors for the game of baseball in history. So cheer for him, root for him, appreciate him in any way you can. And don’t forget to say thank you, David. For everything.