Last night was a strange night as I watched the Mets fall to the Florida Marlins 9-6 on SNY. During the 7th inning, I was suddenly overcome by a deep feeling of deja vu’. I believed that I was watching the Yankees playing at Yankee Stadium and that Alex Rodriguez was at the plate, but when I looked closer at the television screen, it wasn’t ARod at all, it was David Wright. And while my mind may have been playing tricks on me, my ears were not as I heard the unmistakable sounds of boos. I am not talking about the faint scattering of boos you hear when an opposing player comes to the plate, these boos were the thunderous boos filled with taunts and superlatives you would never say in front of your mother. It was the kind of booing that only a real New Yorker would understand. If I had to sum it up in one word, the word would be ugly.
David Wright had just struck out in the 7th inning. The Mets had Beltran on second, and Delgado on first, and the Mets were down by 4 runs. The Mets desperately needed a big hit from their celebrated third baseman, but that hit would never come just as it didn’t in his previous at-bats when he stranded runners in the first and then again in the third inning. He would get one more at-bat in the bottom of the ninth, but there would be no late inning heroics for Wright as he finished the evening hitless in five at-bats.
About 35,000 fans made sure that Wright knew what he already knows. They showered him with their dissatisfaction that has been building up since the season started, and maybe even farther back than that.
His batting average now stands at .244 and at Shea Stadium it hovering around the Mendoza line. As April comes to an end, he has stranded baserunners at an alarming pace, stranding about 35 baserunners (or 35 potential runs). His RBI total stands at 6 and it should be more like 20 or 25. He has yet to hit a home run in 85 at-bats this season.
"I can’t seem to get into a rhythm where I feel comfortable at the plate," Wright said. "I can’t continue to go out there and be a rally killer. The guys around me are doing great."
His booing is probably well deserved but if I may, I would like to make my case for giving David Wright a break.
At 24 years of age, most baseball players are still toiling in the minor leagues and yet David Wright is now in his 4th season as a New York Met. In 2005 and 2006 he had back to back 100 RBI seasons while batting over .300. He has been the face of the "new" New York Mets for the last three seasons and until now, he has handled every adversity that has come his way.
He now finds himself in a situation that is slowly shattering his confidence. How can he regain that confidence when the city he loves showers him with boos? Is this the way we reward Wright for all the thrills and joys he has provided us in the last three seasons?
For weeks I have advocated that Willie Randolph should get Wright out of the number 5 spot in the lineup, at least until he can regain his stroke and his confidence. Everytime this poor guy comes to the plate and fails to hit with runners on base it not only suffocates our offense but it takes more of a toll on Wright as he tries to fight through the worst slump of his baseball life.
Wouldn’t the team be better served (and David as well) if he were hitting second? It seems his one talent of getting on base is still working, so why not use that to the team’s advantage?
I know that what we heard last night was something born out of a month’s long frustration. I know that New York loves David Wright the person as well as David Wright the player. We can’t afford to lose a talent like David Wright by booing him at home. He’s just a kid and as we all have seen, he has such an amazing heart and desire to play this game.
Let’s help him find his way by supporting him through this difficult time. He has given us Mets fans so much. Can’t we find it in our hearts to give him a little bit back?
We have to embrace our own. Especially those who came up through our minor league system. David is one of us. If one of your friends was going through a tough time would you boo them or would you lend them your support?
Although I’ve never met David Wright personally, I feel akin to him. On so many occasions in the last three years when I had a bad day at work or a bad day personally, he lifted my spirits with his enthusiastic play and with his infectious smile. In that sense he was like a friend who would pick me up when I was down.
I for one am going to support him any way I can. Maybe he was not this amazing player he was hyped up to be, but he still is an amazing person, and I know he can still be a big part of this team.