David Wright’s latest signature moment reflects months of endless hope
How far has David Wright come?
Three months ago, he couldn’t even stand up for too long before experiencing eye rolling pain in his lumbar spine.
Four months ago? He couldn’t stand up and try to explain his condition without having to lean over a chair.
Wright has delivered a lot of big hits in his 11-year career, but on Friday night in Los Angeles, he potentially delivered the most meaningful of all to date with a bases loaded, two out single to plate Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada to give the Mets a 3-0 lead, insurance runs which proved vital in the Mets game one victory over the Dodgers.
“You rewind a couple months and obviously I was a spectator out here and wasn’t able to participate and join in all the fun,” Wright explained after the game. “So being able to kind of come full circle and be able to enjoy it as a baseball player now, that meant a lot.”
And to think, just three months ago Wright was a Los Angeles resident as he spent what seemed like endless days and weeks in physical therapy with only a mere hope he would be able to play baseball again.
“That it was cool,” the Mets third baseman said. “It was fun, and that’s what I love to do. That’s about as sweet as I thought it was going to be.”
Wright expected Friday’s game to be a pitcher’s duel between two of the game’s great young arms. And he felt it was important for the offense to come through and support Jacob deGrom’s magnificent seven-inning performance.
As it turns out, Wright provided the knockout punch for the Dodgers on Friday.
“To be able to settle down and have a couple quick innings and throw a 7 shutout and get the win against Clayton Kershaw,” Wright said. “As an offense, you want to go out there and do something for him so he can scratch out that win.
“It’s just you want to do everything you can to scratch out the win for him,” he concluded.
As for his seventh inning at-bat, Wright battled to get into several fastball counts, culminating in a situation in which Baez was forced to come in with one with two outs and the bases loaded.
But instead of powering up and trying to do too much, Wright went with the pitch, and made a little hit count for big results.
“I was fortunate I got a chance to see a couple of his fastballs early in the count that were balls, so I felt like timing-wise, I was on time,” he explained. “Then you get ahead in the count and the guy that’s got a great fastball usually that’s his go-to, especially with the bases loaded.”
It was a very professional at-bat with a mature approach. For a lot of hitters, one might try to seize the moment in grand style and try to put to big of a swing on a pitch. Any player in the game will say trying for a specific result usually results in failure.
But Wright has been around that block before. He knew what was coming, but he shortened up and served the ball just past the diving Howie Kendrick at second base to deliver two big runs for his team.
“I’ve been fortunate where I’ve been in a position to be up there in some big spots with guys in front of me getting on, with plenty of protection behind me,” he explained. “If you look at this lineup top to bottom, it’s dangerous.”
This is a guy who after every game, is roaming the clubhouse with a cold ice wrap around the lower part of his back. He never lets on to anything or makes his condition the center of attention.
He puts a tremendous amount of work into simply getting ready for his pre-game on the field with a 90 minute therapy and stretching session every afternoon.
It’s a painstaking, arduous process Wright must endure if he intends to survive in his baseball life.
So far he has, and he has had big and rewarding moments to show for his guile and perseverance.
And while he will never make any single moment or game about himself and will always turn and credit somebody else instead, his emotional response once again served as a reminder as to how much that hit meant to him in his ability to deliver for his team.
That’s who David Wright is. He’s a man for his people. And it’s why he worked so hard to come back this summer.