The Greatest Position Player in the History of the New York Mets went off on his way this past Saturday eager to start playing for his Country before playing for the City of New York and it’s Metropolitan Area. I am probably one of the biggest advocates for the World Baseball Classic, but it clearly leaves the Port Saint Lucie camp void of the defined leader of this ballclub. While David has expressed sorrow for not being around the guys this March, it clearly wasn’t a hard choice to play for the USA with him being arguably the best American-born 3rd baseman in the game today. On the surface it would seem to be a negative for the ballclub who just signed him to virtually a career contract, but his absence allows others to step it up, and further solidify their leadership skills.
Last night, it was reported that Ike Davis was a candidate to replace Mark Teixeira as the 1st baseman for the USA squad. When I heard that, I wasn’t thrilled, because he is my first example of a player that will step it up. Though the WBC would have been quite awesomer with our 1st baseman launching BOMBS and gaining playoff-type experience, I’m glad (though confused with the choice) that Joe Torre went with Eric Hosmer instead. The broadcasting bunch that did the game Monday even discussed how Ike said he wanted to take more of a leadership role on the ballclub, quoting him as having said, “Wright can’t do everything.” Already a defensive captain with his play at 1st base, now is a perfect time for Ike to fortify that role he is clearly made for.
It makes sense that Ike would be the “2nd in command,” if you will, but there are plenty of others whose leadership skills will most likely be sharpened while the Captain is away on a Mission. It seems like only yesterday we were talking about how there is only 1 player on the team from the 2006 squad, and only 2 from 2008. All of a sudden, a bunch of these players are entering the 4th or 5th season playing with each other, and unlike 2009 when there were 15 Mets playing in the WBC, David Wright is the only one absent. Daniel Murphy has clearly become an emotional presence in that clubhouse, on the dugout steps and on the field of play as well. Jon Niese is all of a sudden a 4-year veteran and I believe prime for yet another breakout season. This is Bobby Parnell‘s 5TH YEAR and could be another stepping stone in his evolution to dominancy. Ruben Tejada has poise beyond his years and is in his 4TH SEASON. Justin Turner has clearly become a leader on the field and in the clutch, and keeps the clubhouse loose with his hysterically catchy pop songs. Dillon Gee. He’s…uh…well…a G. Each will have that much more of a leadership role as they settle into productive Major League careers.
Even the newer guys are exerting these skills, and can fine tune them ever so without Number 5 around. Matt Harvey, we know, is a baller and doesn’t except 2nd best. Robert Carson is crafty, smiles everywhere he goes and knows how to Rock Out. You can see what Collin Cowgill can bring to the table in his first ever Metropolitan play. John Buck has done a great job taking the young staff under his wing (besides bringing some much needed pop to the catching position.) There is even talk of Marlon Byrd being a good veteran presence around these young guys (as long as his productivity is back at appropriate levels.)
David Wright has clearly taken control of the role we hoisted upon him basically since the second he was drafted. Though it would have been nice for him to be there if anything were to get out of line during these March days, his absence allows many other players to carry some of the weight.
A fantastic core is forming in Flushing.
And David Wright expects them to sharpen their leadership skills while he’s gone.
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