Who Snatched The Real David Wright?

An article by posted on May 19, 2010

Have any of you ever watched the 1956 sci-fi horror classic, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” starring Kevin McCarthy? The movie was so awesome that it has spawned over a dozen remakes including my favorite version, the 1978 release that starred Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams.

The premise of the movie is simple. One day you wake up to find yourself in a world where everyone you knew was replaced by emotionless clones. They looked the same, they acted the same, they remembered everything, but they all lacked feelings and emotions. On the surface everything  appeared perfectly normal, but clearly something was dreadfully wrong. Sort of like David Wright.

What happened to the David Wright who always thrilled us with his ability to break a game wide open with a dramatic late inning clutch hit or one of his many dazzling game saving plays?

Do you get as excited when David Wright comes up to the plate with runners in scoring position as you did in 2006 or 2007? Be honest, you’d much rather see Angel Pagan at the plate instead right?

Do you find yourself holding your breath whenever Wright fields a grounder and has to fire the ball to first base? 

When he struck out in the top of the ninth last night, blown away by a Billy Wagner fastball with the go-ahead run on third and one out, were any of you really surprised? Or were you just maddeningly frustrated like me?

What’s happened to the David Wright that was once the Prince of New York and the Pride of Flushing?

As if last year’s home run drought wasn’t bad enough, we must now endure another bizarre chapter in which Wright has suddenly become a strikeout machine. He has now struck out in each of his last 15 games (a new Mets record) and has 26 strikeouts during that span.

If someone had told you two years ago that when Wright began reaching his prime, that he would be leading the league in strikeouts you probably would have laughed at the mere thought of it. And yet he now has a league leading 55 strikeouts in 40 games and is on pace for 225 K’s this season.

Is it mental or physical? Or maybe it’s both? Since his beaning last year, Wright is whiffing in a third of his at-bats and there’s no end in sight.

Wright has also seemed out of sorts defensively, and last night’s ninth inning error directly resulted in another Mets loss. What was he thinking about when he threw the ball to first base knowing that the winning run was already standing at third base?

Wright has never really been as good as his gold glove awards would indicate, in fact he is very – well – average. But let’s face it, he’s never been this awful either. His whole game is suffering right now.

How can the Mets play meaningful games in September without an effective David Wright leading the charge?

Jason Bay was signed to give Wright some much needed protection, and at age 27 many thought Wright could put together an MVP type season, but right now most Mets fans would simply settle for a dozen or so clutch hits in the next 100 games or else the Mets’ goose will surely be cooked.  

Wright is expected to get the game off tonight against the Nationals. Maybe he can learn something by watching his pal Ryan Zimmerman, who at 25 is enjoying another great season batting .316 with 8 HR, 23 RBI and a .994 OPS, all while playing a gold glove caliber third base. Oh and I forgot, he also has about 35 less strikeouts than Wright.

I once read that Zimmerman used to look up to David Wright when they played against each other growing up in Virginia. Hmm… Is there any Met fan who wouldn’t swap Wright for Zimmerman in a heartbeat right now?

There is no shortage of ideas out there as to what the real problem is and how to fix it…

Manager Jerry Manuel has batted Wright third for most of the season, then slid him down to fifth a couple of weeks ago, and yesterday he had Wright batting cleanup, but no matter what Jerry does, nothing seems to work.

Howard Johnson, whom I loved as a player, has proved useless as a hitting coach this season, and Wright’s problems are far beyond his level of expertise.

I’ve also read all the posts from bloggers who seem to know how to fix his swing, or his approach at the plate, or his stance, or the problems with his glove and shoes, but let’s be real… If and when David Wright does come out of his funk, it certainly won’t be because J-Man, Joe the blogger or HoJo had the cure.

Only David Wright can figure this thing out, and all we can do is hope that he does so before the Mets fall completely out of contention, something that could happen in the next 30 days unless things change dramatically for the better.

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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