This Has Been David Wright’s Team All Along
Dec 5, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Mets third baseman David Wright addresses the media at a press conference during the Major League Baseball winter meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
David Wright is officially the captain of the Mets. Since about 2006 he has been destined to take over this team and be the captain. He has filled the role without the official title for what seems like his entire career. It is great that the Mets made it official. It is even better that there is no reason for Wright to change now that he has the title.
David Wright made his Major League debut in 2004. He has seen the Mets rise to the top with the signings of Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran. He got his first playoff experience in 2006 when he had not even been in the big leagues for three full seasons. He was in the middle of the great start the Mets got off to in 2007. He was there for the abysmal ending of not only that season but also the closing of Shea Stadium in 2008. He came close to being one of about three players not to visit the disabled list in 2009, only to be deterred by forces well beyond his control. And he worked so hard to come back from the terrifying beaning and spent 2010 frustratingly searching for the player that had seemingly disappeared.
David is the one who played through a broken back in 2011. He played through a broken finger in 2012. He has been through every possible event a baseball player can experience. He just barely tasted success before the Mets fell back down. Now the team seems poised to build back up to that success.
But this time it will be different for Wright. This time he will be leader. In 2006 it was about David and Jose Reyes being the young guys and making sure they didn’t get spoiled by so much early success. Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado were the leaders. In 2013, 2014, 2015, and beyond it will be about David Wright teaching Ike Davis, Travis d’Arnaud, Matt Harvey, and Zack Wheeler.
One can argue that David Wright has been leading this team forever and he should have been named captain last year or the year before or on some random Wednesday in August of any year. However, I think the Mets did a good job naming him captain this year. They are turning a corner, building a winning team from the bottom up. They didn’t have a captain in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Those teams didn’t have one veteran to build around. They were teams full of veterans, playing to add to their already successful track records. Singling out one leader would’ve been impossible.
It would have been wrong to name Wright the captain when the veterans of those teams were around. He was still learning from them and going through struggles alongside them. Now that David is the veteran, the one who has been on the team and around the changes, it makes sense to give him the official delegation. I don’t see this changing the way Mr. Wright goes about his work in any way. It is more of an acknowledgement of all he has done for the organization than an indication of new responsibilities.
When, not if, this group of players finds success everybody will know it is David Wright’s team. The long term contract and captaincy prove everyone, from the top to the bottom of the Mets organization, knows that.
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