David Wright experienced magic 12 years in the making on Friday
David Wright has been able to preserve several moments and achievements in what has been the most trying time of his life in 2015.
There was his home run against the Phillies in his first at-bat off the disabled list against the Phillies.
There was his now trademarked fist pump after scoring a run against the Nationals on Labor Day.
There was his big two-run single in Game 1 of the Division Series against the Dodgers, again prompting a fist pump after reaching first base.
But for the most part, Wright has been largely absent through his club’s run through October, as he’s spent the bulk of his at-bats searching for that timing, eye and swing which has found him so much success through what seemed like an endless journey to the postseason until 2015.
He was just 7-for-41 with nine walks and 14 strikeouts through the first 11 games in the postseason.
But on Thursday, manager Terry Collins wanted Wright to have the whole day off and escape from baseball in an effort to allow his back a reprieve but to also allow him and the rest of the team to hit the reset button after two very rough nights in Kansas City.
It looks like Collins pressed the right buttons again, as he’s done all year long with his club.
On Friday night, in front of the fans which have grown to adore him despite his struggles in recent years, Wright found his timing in the very first at-bat he took.
After Curtis Granderson led off the bottom of the first with a single, moments after the Royals had taken a 1-0 lead in Game 3, Wright conquered a Yordano Ventura fastball at the belt for a mammoth two-run home run to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.
It was only his second home run at Citi Field this season, but of course it may be the most memorable home run of his career when it’s all done.
“This is what you dream about as a kid,’’ Wright explained after Game 3. “Running around the bases, it’s like floating. You can’t describe the excitement of hitting the home run, and crossing home plate, high-fiving your teammates and looking up into the stands and just seeing people going absolutely nuts. It’s one of those memories that is going to stay with me for the rest of my life.’’
Wright wasn’t finished after that home run, however. With the score 6-3 in favor of the Mets in the sixth inning, Wright drove in a pair with a single off of Kelvin Herrera to give the Mets breathing room and a reason to finally smile in this World Series. For it was a laugher the Mets needed after two very downtrodden and forgetful losses at the hands of the Royals in their home ballpark at Kauffman Stadium.
Once again, his timing – both literally and figuratively – was impeccable.
The same kind of laugher the Mets experienced in Game 3 of the 1986 World Series, when they won a 7-1 laugher against the Red Sox to break the ice and claw back from a remarkably similar 0-2 hole 29 years ago.
“To be able to fight back the way that we did, we were relentless tonight,” Wright said. “And it seemed like every time they had an answer, we had an answer right back. And I think that’s the type of baseball that got us here, that immediate answer. Might not be getting all the runs back, but to get the momentum back on our side was big.”
Of course, momentum is only as good as the next day’s starter, which lies in the hands of the young Steven Matz. He will be asked to grow up even quicker with his beloved team trailing 2-1 in the World Series.
But for a night anyway, the Mets were able to set a standard and a tone, something they hope will carry them into Saturday night’s Game 4 showdown with the Royals as they attempt to tie the series and make it a best-of-three for the title.
But for Wright and the Mets, being down 2-1 or up 2-1 doesn’t change their mentality in the postseason.
“We went into this postseason trying to tell ourselves that every game is an elimination game,” Wright explained. “That’s what we did a really nice job of. We had that under our belt in L.A. playing that Game 5, and we brought that right into the Cub series. We treated every game like a Game 5 in the first round or Game 7 from there on out.”
The Mets are not out of the woods just yet. They now only trail 2-1 in the World Series. They’re facing another absolute must-win in Game 4. They do not want to fall down 3-1 to the Royals, as only four teams have ever come back from such deficit in World Series history.
But in Wright, the Mets have the right guy to preach that mentality to the younger guys. It’s about taking things one pitch at a time, one game at a time, and to worry about tomorrow when the sun rises on a new day.
Now that tomorrow is here, the worry for Wright and the rest of the Mets must now be on Game 4, and finding a way to tie a most impressive Royals team.
“You don’t want to get too excited where it takes you out of the game,” the Mets captain explained. “I think playing so many postseason games this season like we have, there’s a comfort level that wasn’t there earlier in the season.”
But for a guy who has waited 12 years to reach this stage, even he admitted it was hard to contain the excitement of his mammoth home run.
After all, it is a kid’s game, the World Series not withstanding.