Bleeding Orange and Blue, David Wright experienced what he was dreaming of
The Mets were well on their way to clinching the National League East on their own terms before Matt Harvey even toed the pitching rubber at Great American Ballpark late Saturday afternoon.
And despite the Mets carrying a 7-2 lead into the ninth inning on Saturday, the game couldn’t have had a more fitting ending to it.
In the ninth inning of the Mets 155th and division-clinching game, David Wright – the man who has survived through all of those lean years healthy or otherwise – capped the Mets run to October with a majestic three-run home run to centerfield.
Sure, it may have been unnecessary for the win, but it was symbolic is so many other ways.
For it was Wright, the man who has been here since the good and promising days from 2004 through 2006, the failures of 2007 and 2008, and the dark times of the embarrassing years from 2009-2014, who’s ninth inning home run served as the ultimate act of survival and perseverance.
“He is who he is,” manager Terry Collins said about Wright after the game. “A special guy and he does special things. Can’t happen to a better guy.”
It was Wright’s third home run and tenth RBI since returning from what seemed like an eternity on the disabled list for the Mets captain. He’s hitting .298/.371/.452 in 25 games since returning from injury.
But that one home run will be something the 32-year-old third baseman will cherish forever.
“It doesn’t get any better than that, to hit a home run in the clinching game and celebrate with the guys in the clubhouse, celebrate with the fans who made the trip here to Cincinnati,” Wright said. “We deserve this, the fans deserve this, the city of New York deserves it. I’m glad we could deliver for them.”
Wright has admitted he took the 2006 playoff run for granted. He expected those seasons with the Mets year-after-year, in a way assuming it simply be that way with the franchise he grew up rooting for.
Obviously, that was not the case, and Wright has learned his lesson through all of the lean years he’s been a part of.
“I’m not going to take this for granted,” he said.
Wright is truly a baseball survivor, and is the book definition of perseverance.
Think about it for a second. He has dealt with as much professional failure as anyone can in this sport. For what looked like a second consecutive season the club would runaway with the National League East in 2007 with only two weeks ago, he was a part of one of the most epic collapses in the sport’s history. To have it happen again the following year – albeit to a lesser degree and with far more tangible reasons as to why – is simply unheard of.
Then, he had to deal with the painful disappointment of 2009 and 2010, and look at the cameras and the media and defend an organization who couldn’t get out of it’s own way in the midst of poor play, financial crisis, internal controversy, and the third managerial and front office transition in the first six years of his career.
To think he would even consider staying onboard and committing to what had been nothing but a tumultuous franchise after the 2012 season – let alone doing so with minimal hesitation – speaks to the man David Wright is.
And he is admired by people all over the game for his perseverance, loyalty, and dedication to the New York Mets. Some people don’t know how he was able to do this for so long.
On top of all of that, he was faced with the greatest trial of his career and life in early 2015 when doctors told him he had spinal stenosis, an irreversible condition in his lumbar spine which was indeed career damaging.
But as was the case with the dark times of his career, Wright wasn’t going to let this compromise his determination to be a part of what he committed to when he signed his long-term deal after the 2012 season.
“When I was laying on my back rehabbing for a few months this summer, this is what I dreamed of,” Wright said on Saturday. “This is what motivates you, this is what pushes you, this is what drives you. Not just for what we do on the field, but how close this team has come together and how we play for one another.”
And so here is, Captain America, delivering as the face of this Mets franchise he is, always has been, and always will be.
“I can’t be more excited or more proud to wear the orange and blue,” Wright said. “I’ve said it from Day One, I bleed orange and blue. To be able to celebrate with these fans, this city, this team, it’s an unbelievable feeling.”