I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I got an email from one of our readers yesterday that basically asked me a few questions about Bay, Tejada and a couple of other players, but what really struck me was this:
Why do so many fans hate David Wright? Everybody seems to pin the blame for everything wrong on him. What about you, do you hate him?
No I do not hate David Wright – I don’t believe anybody does. Hate is too strong a word. Let me see if I can try to explain this. Whether you believe it’s valid or not, David Wright is the undisputed face of the franchise. What does that mean? It means that he’s the Mets front-man among all the players. It means he is the face you see on the press guide and on the yearbooks and on the score cards. Wright is the players the Mets want to identify themselves with the most and he is the team’s #1 ambassador. I don’t believe anyone can deny those things.
As a person and teammate and member of this organization, you probably couldn’t have a better a better person as the face of the franchise. Not only is Wright a very likable guy, but he’s also very charitable, caring and loves to be involved in the community. He is at every charity even the Mets conduct and he always says the right things.
Being the face of the franchise is quite an honor, and in Wright’s case it is much deserved, but it’s kind of like a double-edged sword. Because Wright is so closely identified with the team, he gets tied into much of the teams performance and off the field drama. Perhaps, undeservedly so.
Part of the blame goes to the Mets themselves for that. From the moment Wright burst onto the scene, the Mets put him in the spotlight and raised everyone’s expectations about the type of player he is. A homegrown superstar in the mold of Derek Jeter is what many believed or should I say hoped he would become, and of course that was never the case.
There are maybe one or two third baseman in the game who have produced what Wright has has in the last seven seasons. You take Wright’s production, and let’s say pin it on Angel Pagan, and we don’t have this conversation. No matter what Wright does, it’s never good enough to many fans.
Adding to this is the frequent moniker of “Team Captain”. I think captains on baseball teams are unnecessary and overrated, but for whatever reason, there seems to be a good percentage of fans who want Wright to be named captain. The mere thought of that pisses many other Mets fans off because they compare him to past Mets captains like Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, John Franco and Mike Piazza who have all led the Mets to a World Series, something Wright has yet to do.
All of this negative reaction has even led to many urban legends, chief among them is whether or not Wright is clutch. As I said two days ago, the mere mention of that word and the gloves come off and it’s an all-out brawl of epic proportions. I can point you toward 250 comments in a particular post which clearly supports that notion.
Is Wright clutch? Well, here are some stats that were emailed to me yesterday:
David WrightCareer Stats: .302/.382/.511High Leverage .318/.388/.530
So let me ask you, do you see a significant difference?
So why does it seem that every time Wright comes up to the plate in a critical part of the game he strikes out or fails to come through?
About 99% of all players fail in 70% of their at-bats, but in Wright’s case it’s just more memorable and sticks with us because of our pre-conceived notions. You assume he’s going to fail and when he does fail it’s “a-ha, as usual Wright fails again.”
The other thing is that he’s the face of the franchise and he’s not allowed to fail. If only that were true.
So anyway, I’ve already exceeded my self-imposed 200 word limit on blog posts, so let me cut to the chase. No, I don’t believe people hate David Wright – they hate the fact that he hasn’t met those Jeter-esque “El Capitan” expectations that were very unfair to begin with. I blame the Mets for feeding those expectations.
The only thing David Wright is guilty of is being himself, and when you throw away all the irrelevant negativity, what you find is a very solid player that any team would love to have on their roster and an all-around good guy.