Yesterday we got the news that we’ve dreaded but expected for a while…sort of. All signs point to David Wright hanging em up for good. Though he didn’t actually say the R-word, the writing is and has been on the wall. For the first time in the better part of two decades, the Mets will operate without David Wright as a part of their plans, at least on the baseball field. HOWEVER, before we get to that point, David will get one last crack at it. David Wright’s most recent major league appearance was May 27, 2016, more than two laps around the sun ago. Less than a month later, it was announced that he was set for surgery, which I predicted to be career-ending surgery. And today I sit here happy to admit that I was wrong in that declaration. David Wright will be activated by the New York Mets on September 25, and he will start at third base on Saturday, September 29 against the Miami Marlins.
Let’s begin with the good because this will effectively be the David Wright Retirement Blog. David Wright has more than earned this chance to take the field once more in a Mets uniform. Mets baseball has been an atrocity for two years now, and as much as the fans are deserving of something to cheer for, nobody deserves this more than David Wright himself. To be able to go out “on your own terms” is what every athlete wants; I’m sure David would be the first to say that this is not how he envisioned it, but at the same time he’s grateful for the opportunity to take the diamond for the final time as a major leaguer. The road to recovery has been filled with pain, setbacks, disappointment, frustration, and more for DW5. It genuinely felt like it was never gonna happen for David. He has done everything possible, sacrificing his body and his health, all to leave it on the field. He wanted no regrets when it was time to call it quits for good. And to lay it all on line to play for the New York Mets, of all teams, it was separates David Wright from the rest. There’ll be a rush of emotions on Saturday the 29th.
We need to break down yesterday’s presser. It was weird in the sense that it had the tone of a retirement announcement without the words being said. It took a question for David Wright to confirm that his body is not improving and he doesn’t see it possible to play major league baseball after the final home stand. Hearing David Wright say this made my heart hurt:
This speaks volumes to just how arduous the journey has been for Wright to get back to health. We’ve heard reports of it taking him hours to get loose before a game. To hear it laid out like this so explicitly by the man experiencing it is totally different. It was an emotional press conference to say the least. David Wright said he thought he’d be able to hold back the tears; he was not.
But despite it all, I’d be remiss to not mention that Wright kicked things off with a joke. He’s been through the ringer and then some. And with the end of the road in plain sight, he’s still able to keep it all in perspective and lighten the otherwise somber mood.
Throughout his entire illustrious career, David Wright has been as professional and gracious as anyone I’ve ever seen in a Mets uniform. That came through today in spades. Wright sacrificed money, he sacrificed winning, and he sacrificed his body. All to remain the face of the New York Mets, The Captain. Nobody would have faulted him for leaving. I almost wish he would have left at some point so he could have lifted a World Series trophy that he’s so profoundly deserving of. He’s not gonna get that ring, but his new goal of allowing his daughters to see him play for their first time is going to come true at the end of September.
In August 2009, Matt Cain drilled Wright in the head with a fastball in the mid-high 90s. I’m in the school of thought that this moment was the beginning of the end. The later part of his career has obviously been plagued by injuries. Unrelenting neck and back issues jump out, but that concussion may or may not have been the catalyst. If nothing else, he looked RIDICULOUS in his protective helmet after that…
David Wright emerged onto the scene as a 21-year old in 2004. Who would have thought that he’d “play” for almost 15 years in the same uniform? Who would have thought he’d step away as the all time Mets leader in Runs, Hits, Doubles, RBIs and just 10 shy of the Home Runs record? We’re talking about a 7-time All Star, one of the greatest New York Mets ever, and one of the faces of baseball at his prime. Had he stayed healthy he’d probably be a Hall of Famer. The accolades go on and on, but above all else he was and is the epitome of what a baseball player should be.
The legacy of David Wright goes far beyond the confines of the baseball diamond. This is a guy who’s well known for his contributions to the community and various charities. He never once shied away from the media. This is a clubhouse leader and a class act in all aspects of life. It’s no wonder why he was loved by all from fans to teammates and everyone in between.
Out of respect for David Wright, I am going to emulate him and take the high road. I am going to keep the Wilpon’s out of this and not mention how much money they’re recouping on insurance. David Wright would tell me to not bother, so I won’t. I could go on and on about David Wright. And I will. But at a later date. I want to compile some of the best and most memorable moments of his career (walk off against Mariano, barehanded catch in San Diego, Home Run Derby in 06, first game back in Philly in 2015, clutch hit against the Dodgers in NLDS).
But I want to first mention that I am very conflicted on showing up for David Wright’s last start on September 29. It should be a no brainer to scoop tickets and show up and enjoy the day. I wish it were that easy. But I have such hatred for the owners and how they operate. They don’t deserve my money or my attendance. Having said that, David Wright has played such a major role in my sports fandom that it’s only right that I see him off. So I will, reluctantly, be in attendance on September 29. I can put my pride aside for a few hours because I won’t ever be able to see David Wright play again. David Wright has given everything to the Mets and their fans. It’s the least I can do.
And one last thing. It’ll take the Mets 10 years probably to retire David Wright’s number, but no New York Met shall ever wear the #5 again.
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