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David Wright: 10 Years A Slave

01 UD David Wright

Metsblog – Ten years ago today, David Wright made his major league debut. He went 0 for 4, but his team eked out a 5-4 victory after blowing an early 3-0 lead. His first big-league hit, a double, came the next day >> Watch here. He has since become the organization’s all-time leader in a number of offensive categories, including hits, doubles and RBI. “Coming into the clubhouse and seeing your jersey hanging for the first time, it was pretty surreal,” Wright said of his debut (New York Post, July 15). “I probably tried my jersey on and stood in front of the mirror for quite some time that day soaking it all in.” In 2004, when Wright first stepped on the field at Shea Stadium, the baseball world was pretty different. The Red Sox were still “cursed,” as were the Chicago White Sox. Barry Bonds was the offensive ruler of the National League, if not all of baseball. Roger Clemens won the National League Cy Young Award. And the Florida – not Miami – Marlins were the reigning World Series champs. The Montreal Expos still existed. They drew only 749,550 fans to their home ballpark that year and in the subsequent offseason moved to Washington, D.C. But those Expos were the Mets’ opposition that Wednesday at Shea Stadium. There were a few players on the visiting club that day who would eventually end up teammates with Wright at one point or another: the catcher, Brian Schneider, and the final Montreal reliever of the afternoon, Luis Ayala. The visiting centerfielder, too, worked his way into Mets lore, two years after Wright’s debut. It was Endy Chavez, who hit a home run on that July afternoon. He hit it to right-center, not yet interacting with that left field wall he’d make so famous in 2006. The leadoff man for the Mets that afternoon was a young Jose Reyes, playing second base because Kaz Matsui was the shortstop in Flushing then. Reyes entered the day with a .241 batting average and seven stolen bases. His 2004 season, which he’d finish with a .255 average and 19 steals, was a far cry from the player he’d mature into later on, side-by-side with Wright on the left side of the infield. The team took a 5-4 lead into the ninth. The closer was Braden Looper. Remember him? The first time he took the field in Flushing, Wright was 21 years old. The oldest player in baseball that year was 45-year-old Julio Franco, who would retain his post as the sport’s eldest for the next 3 years, the final two in a Met uniform. The youngest, though he’d debut a few weeks after Wright, was Wright’s former AAU teammate B.J Upton, at age 19.

David Allen Wright. Dude has been around for a decade now. A decade of some decent highs, and some incredibly low lows. Through it all DW has been the consummate professional and a stud at the hot corner, and he’ll go down as one of the greatest Mets of all time.

You can’t help but think that on a day like this though, David Wright looks back and thinks to himself “What the fuck happened?” I mean I’m not gonna sit here and tell you its been a bad 10 year stretch for the dude. He’s amassed over $85,000,000 and he has over $100,000,000 more coming to him until the year 2021. In every major category, he’s been the best 3rd baseman in the National League over the past 10 years. This is the woman he married:

His life is fucking incredible by all normal standards. But guys like him – stars of his caliber – you know their life financially and socially are gonna be amazing. Guys like him want that professional glory. They want the rings, the awards, the respect. And when DW looks back at his ten years on the Mets he’s gotta be thinking “What the hell am I doing here?”

Don’t get me wrong, as a fan I’m forever indebted to David Wright staying loyal to this team and choosing to (most likely) play his entire career here. They don’t make guys as loyal as he is anymore. But he’s been loyal to a fault. He’s gotta look back and think about the time he was hitting in a lineup with Reyes Beltran and Delgado and look at where he’s at now and what the team around him is and want to pule. He’s gotta look back to those 30 home run seasons right before the franchise decided to building a cavernous ballpark that undoubtedly affected his play and want to murder somebody. Now its just him and Murph, floundering around on this Quadruple A team in that dumb ass stadium. He stuck by a team with an owner that said he wasn’t a superstar. He stuck around in a city with the fans and the media are constantly on your case. All under this promise from the Wilpons and the front office that they would build a winner around him which has never happened since their brief blip of contending in the mid 2000s. Constantly waiting for “next year.”

I honestly think 2007 changed the entire trajectory of the Mets this past decade and David Wright’s career. If the Mets were able to win just one extra game in September and hold on to that lead, the collapse never happens, the Mets make the playoffs and David Wright wins the MVP. You could make the argument he should have won it anyway – .325 34 Hrs 30 SBs 42 2Bs. Rollins should have never won that year. And while David Wright still did all he could down the stretch of that season, I think that collapse cost him the award. The Mets would have been back in the playoffs, back to back NL East champs, with an MVP leading the way. Who knows what would have happened in the playoffs. It was the Rockies, Cubs, D’Backs and Phillies. Not exactly a power house lineup in the postseason. That year changed everything. Instead of “phew, that was a close one” and the team being a consistent contender with a budding star grabbing the league’s most prestigious award, it all went to shit. The Madoff Scandal would have eventually fucked the franchise in some way or another, but while that window was still open and into the Johan years I think everything would have been much, much brighter for DW and the Mets.

The future is bright once again. Hopefully some of these arms pan out and the front office brings in some real, legitimate bats to work around him. I’m not saying DW’s window is closed and its all doom and gloom. I’m just saying I think that window could have been wide open a lot longer if not for 2 incredibly bad weeks in September where his team let him down.