David Wright gets it and always has. Now let’s see if the same can be said for Noah Syndergaard. The Mets’ captain reprimanded the young pitcher Tuesday for being in the clubhouse eating lunch instead of being on the bench for the intrasquad game.
Without getting in Syndergaard’s face, Wright let it be known Syndergaard’s place was in the dugout, not in an air-conditioned clubhouse. It’s something a team captain should do.
Syndergaard did not immediately move until Bobby Parnell picked up the rookie’s plate and dumped it in the trash.
Call that an exclamation point.
Wright is the captain for a reason, and that is to not only be a good example, but make sure his teammates understand.
“Being a young player, any chance you get to learn, you go out there and learn,’’ Wright told Newsday. “I’m not a big ranter and raver. When I get on somebody, it’s 99-percent private. I’m not going to yell and scream, but when I speak to somebody, when I get on somebody, the point needs to be taken.’’
The Mets have pointed to this year as when they could be competitive and possibly even challenge for the playoffs. Syndergaard is counted on to be a integral piece in the Mets’ development, and if he’s to become what they hope, he must learn how to win.
And, that includes learning the protocols of a clubhouse. If Syndergaard is to eventually be a leader, he can’t be if he’s eating in the clubhouse during a game – even an intrasquad game.
Wright was teaching. He showed Syndergaard there is a right way and a wrong way to being a teammate.
Syndergaard should have known better, but made a mistake. He said he didn’t think it was a big deal, and in the grand scheme of things, maybe it wasn’t. But, Syndergaard hasn’t been around long enough to make that decision.
Championship teams are built on little things, and that’s why Wright thought it was a big deal. Lecturing Syndergaard is as much a part of his job description as driving in runs and playing third base.
If he doesn’t step forward, then who will?
“I understand where David was coming from,’’ Syndergaard told Newsday. “We’re playing a team sport. I should be out there supporting my teammates.’’
Often, there is a mental turning point in a player’s career, as if a light switch was flipped. Maybe Wright turned it on for Syndergaard.