“This is probably one of the proudest days of my career so far,” Wright said. “I’m honored and very proud to be on that short list of guys that have been considered captain of this franchise. For me, it’s a dream come true, to say the least.”
There has been speculation for years – as far back when Willie Randolph was manager – and intensified this winter when Wright was signed to a $138-million eight-year extension. Manager Terry Collins said at the start of spring training it was something he was considering, but needed to run it through GM Sandy Alderson and COO Jeff Wilpon, as well as poll the clubhouse.
It was a foregone conclusion the announcement would be made prior to Opening Day. According to ESPN, Wilpon said the second Wright signed the contract there was nothing else to think about.
“When you commit that kind of money and resources that we have to a guy like this, you want to make sure he’s the leader,” chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said. “And he’s proven to be that.”
During the Randolph era, the manager said the promotion might be awkward because that team was loaded with veterans such as Carlos Delgado – who became a mentor to Jose Reyes – Carlos Beltran, and pitchers Tom Glavine and Pedro Martinez.
At the time, Randolph said there wasn’t a need for a captain because of the veteran influence. Then came the Jerry Manuel era, but the team was so bad it seemed like a futile gesture.
Even so, Wright was always the face of the franchise, and the one player the media sought out for analysis on the Mets or anything else relating to baseball.
Wright will not wear a “C” on his uniform, but his leadership has been obvious in the clubhouse for years. Once, Reyes wanted to stay in a game, but was clearly hobbled. Wright, knowing an injured Reyes could be a liability told the manager, then Manuel.
Wright has worked closely with the pitchers and was one of the few players who could reach Mike Pelfrey when he was losing concentration. He often goes to the mound when a rattled pitcher needs to catch his breath.
With the Mets moving in a youth direction, there was no veteran presence other than Wright, who, as an All-Star had the talent to back up the promotion.
At the start of camp, Wright said being captain would be an honor, but wanted it through his teammates and not an edict from ownership or management.
“This is where I wanted to start my career and finish my career,” Wright said. “I feel very comfortable and very confident in this role.”
Today was just a formality. Wright has captained this team through good times and bad for the last five years. From the moment Wright was first called up, he has shown himself to be a leader in every sense of the word and has done so with integrity and honor.
He was never one to run and hide after an awful loss or those forgettable collapses in 2007 and 2008. Instead he stood front and center in front of his locker and was always willing to take the bullet for the team.
As the years wore on, Wright eventually assumed the role of team ambassador, and no player in franchise history has done a better job despite the the negativity he was forced to navigate in. Despite it all, he always stood strong and wore his team colors proudly.
His record of accomplishments speak for themselves and he leads the team in over a dozen different offensive categories, many of which will likely never be broken.
Wright is too modest to wear the “C” on his uniform like all of his predecessors have. Instead he gets the “C” for class by all of us here at Mets Merized Online.
A heartfelt congratulations to David Wright – Our Captain.
Contributed to by John Delcos.