Approximately 1,200 miles from Citi Field, one of the most important stories of New York Mets fans’ disappointing and pitiful season began this week: the rehabilitation stint of captain David Wright.
The 35-year-old took the field for the first time in two years — hobbled by debilitating neck, back and shoulder injuries — for the organization’s class-A affiliate, the St. Lucie Mets in an attempt to make it back to the majors ideally for the very end of the 2018 season.
It’s an idea that seemed far-fetched to plenty of Mets fans seeing as Wright has played in just 75 regular-season games since the start of the 2015 season. Understandably, many believed his career was over when the 2018 season, like 2017, seemed like a lost cause after the team almost immediately put him on the 60-day disabled list at the start of spring training as he continued to recover from the litany of injuries that have stolen the second half of his career.
Yet here is David Wright, the face of a downtrodden, often belittled, poorly-run and owned franchise, trying one more time to get back to the team that he (for some reason) loves.
I say that he’s trying one more time because he basically admitted to the New York Post that he’ll call it quits should there be another setback.
It’s a very real possibility that something could go wrong. We’re talking about a man who has had surgeries to repair a herniated disk in his neck, a torn rotator cuff and spinal stenosis in the last three years.
Getting back on the field, even if it’s in single-A, is an accomplishment that should be heralded already.
But there are always the pessimists, especially in a sour and frustrated fan base, who have rolled their eyes and scoffed at the idea of the captain coming back.
In reality, he should have the full support of this fan-base, a group of people Wright has literally put his well-being on the line for.
Wright came into the organization at a promising time in 2004. Within two years, he was an All-Star and the Mets were one win away from a World Series appearance. With a young core of himself and Jose Reyes, the Mets were expected to at least be relevant for the next decade.
But this is the Mets and things will always find a way to explode and come crashing down to earth (you can thank the ineptitude of the Wilpon family for that, but that’s for another editorial).
Wright wouldn’t make the playoffs until nine years later in a 2015 season that was limited to just 38 games before helping the team make a magical run to the National League pennant and hitting a memorable home run in Game 3 of the World Series, the Mets’ first home game in the Fall Classic since 2000.
It was a fitting moment that the captain more than deserved because, during that drought nearly-decade-long drought, Wright represented a dysfunctional organization with class, bringing legitimacy to a franchise that didn’t deserve any.
He became a hero to the masses in Queens, putting himself in the upper echelons of franchise lore as he became the Mets’ all-time leader in hits, doubles, runs scored and RBI. He made seven All-Star appearances, provided a marketable and friendly face to keep a bad team relevant and remained loyal to a franchise that did little to build a winner around him for a majority of his prime.
What did the Mets do to deserve David Wright?
I don’t know, but the least the organization and fans can do is get behind him 100-percent and be ready to show their appreciation should he make his return to the majors.
To loosely paraphrase the great Ogden Nash (who originally was speaking of Lou Gehrig in his poem ‘Line-Up For Yesterday’:
W is for Wright,
The pride of Citi Field,
His record pure gold,
His courage pure steel.