DAVID WRIGHT WANTS ONE MORE SWING
There are several reasons why David Wright wants to be in the New York Mets’ lineup tonight in Philadelphia, but catching the Phillies for third place in the NL East is not among them.
The Mets will have their fifth consecutive losing season, with long odds of catching the Phillies as they trail by three games with ten to play.
“In my eyes, third place, fourth place, you’re still going home,’’ Wright told ESPN. “So, to me, it’s not all that important. What’s important is that we try to go out there and win each game, to try to play good baseball and finish strong.’’
That has been the Mets’ mantra since mid-August, when they were swept in a three-game series in Los Angeles to fall back to ten games under .500. The Mets had been making overtures about finishing .500, and even catching Washington for second place, but those three games against the Dodgers – all winnable – deflated their season and shifted everybody’s attention to 2014.
When Matt Harvey was shut down shortly after, there was a winter chill in Flushing, and currently, the Mets’ roster has a Kissimmee travel squad look.
As team captain, Wright has been supportive of manager Terry Collins, and continued to echo his sentiments.
“I think there is something to be said – especially when you have a young team like this – to finish strong,’’ Wright said. “Where you have guys competing for jobs for next year, guys competing for playing time. With the injuries that we’ve had, with the trades that we’ve made, it sure has opened up some chances for guys that probably wouldn’t have a chance right now.’’
Collins has been saying that for weeks.
Wright knows his return won’t mean anything in the standings this season, but it could instill something that might in the future. As captain, Wright is giving his teammates a year-end glimpse into this work ethic, which could be of value to Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada, Travis d’Arnaud and Juan Lagares to name a few.
Significantly, they play positions where the Mets are looking for upgrades or improvement. Wright also wants to play to get a feel of his health heading into winter, but there is something more.
Although Wright is too modest to say it, his coming back is a gift to the Mets’ fan base that hasn’t had much to cheer about since Carlos Beltran took a called third strike from Adam Wainwright in in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.
Wright knows expectations have been low in this Ponzi era, and the fans were disappointed again this season, with seemingly much of the anticipation for 2014 diminished with Harvey gone.
If nothing else, Wright wants to show Mets fans he still cares about his profession, playing well and performing for those who cheer for him. It is his way of thanking them for sticking by the team as the season faded.
It might not seem like much, but heading into an uncertain winter and future, it is a classy gesture by the classiest player the Met have to offer.
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