It’s not the way David Wright wanted to end things, but if this is how it had to be done, it couldn’t have gone more perfectly.
It was a bright, sunny day in New York City. Not too hot, and not too cold. Just right, and exactly how you would draw up an ideal late September day.
There was energy and emotion in Citi Field that has only been present there a handful of times. If it wasn’t Mets vs. Marlins, you’d think it had playoff atmosphere.
This day was special, and one we may never see like it again in any of our lifetimes. Saturday was for David Wright.
The Mets have had a lot of players come through Flushing, Queens. Some tremendous, some mediocre, and some that you will never forget. Wright falls into the last category seamlessly.
Whether you were at the game as part of the nearly 44,000 people in attendance, were watching at home from your couch, or were elsewhere listening on the radio, you felt Saturday in your heart.
The Mets do a lot of things wrong, and even leading up to Saturday didn’t do things completely right. But on Saturday, they hit the nail on the head.
The gates for Citi Field opened at 4:30 p.m., and as one fan put it to Pete McCarthy on 710 WOR after the game, that’s when the emotion started. When a majority of the stadium was filled up well in advance of first pitch.
As Wright came on the field for his batting reps, the entire building was fixated on the Captain.
And some time later when the Mets were on the field for stretches, the place erupted just at the site of the longtime Metropolitan.
This was a recurring theme throughout the night, whether it was the mere presence of Wright on the field, graphics on the jumbo tron, the video tributes or his interactions with teammates. The entire stadium was jampacked with emotion that was due 100 percent in part to one man.
It’s a very special thing, getting to witness what we did on Saturday night.
Mike Francesa, who I seldom agree with, put it rather nicely. He said that Wright didn’t get the send off he did just because he was a Mets lifer and a great player. He got the send off he did because he was an incredible person.
And an incredible person he is. His contributions on and off the field are second to none. He exemplified what a captain’s responsibilities on the field were, spoke uniquely to each player, coach or staffer he came into contact with, and brought that same intensity with him off the field.
His humanitarianism and charity work, his love and interaction with fans and his general disposition will never be matched. We can only hope that he rubbed off on the rest of the Mets and they can take away his tremendous characteristics from having worked with him.
The name of the game is to have left your jersey in a better place than when you started with it, and Wright did just that. No one will ever don No. 5 again, and for good reason.
After Austin Jackson lined a gapper to left center field in the 13th inning to send the Mets home with a 1-0 win, the team celebrated but shortly thereafter stood and watched a three and a half minute tribute on the monitor.
Wright then spoke, this time without tears and thanked the fans. This seems like a small gesture, but from him, it was genuine. He realizes how special it is to have been a ballplayer and savored every minute.
But now it’s time for us to say thank you to him. He stuck it out with this organization through some of its darkest years just so he could try and bring a World Series championship back to Queens.
While he never got to see that come to fruition, he did homer in a World Series game at Citi Field and got to help the team win a National League pennant.
Wright was a one of a kind player, and one that will be sorely missed.
Thank you, Captain, for all you have done. We love you.
“This is love. I can’t say anything else. This is love,” Wright said in his post game speech to the fans.
“If you’re not a person like David Wright is, you don’t get to get honored like this. These guys are going to play baseball for a small part of their lives, and then they have to be human beings the rest of it. They should all look up to David in that regard,” said manager Mickey Callaway.
“I really don’t want to go in there and get changed right now. I want to wear the jersey around a little longer,’ Wright said following his exit from the game.
“I can’t sit here and tell you that I’m good with where I’m at right now — that would be a lie and that would be false. You love something so much and you want to continue that. … I’m at peace with the work and the time and the effort and the dedication that I’ve put into this. I’m certainly not at peace with the end result. But tonight was special,” said Wright.
“David’s always been a generous guy, so he gave us a playoff-type atmosphere even when we’re not in the mix,” said Steven Matz.
“I feel bad for the guy, but I don’t feel bad for the guy,” Wright said about Marlins’ first baseman Peter O’Brien, who caught his pop out during Wright’s second at-bat.
“I’ve never been one to love the spotlight. I love the playing field and I love being part of a team. But to be singled out tonight was something that was a little, for me at least, uncomfortable. But toward the end of it, I can’t tell you how much I loved the fans’ reaction. I can’t tell you how much I loved the city’s reaction. It was truly amazing and I can’t thank everybody enough. It hit me right in the heart.” — Wright
“He’s honestly the best teammate I ever had. I was talking to my wife on the way home and told her I’m really gonna miss the guy,” said Jacob deGrom.
Seen Around Twitter
— Paul Lo Duca (@paulloduca16) September 29, 2018
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 30, 2018
Hard to believe that’s the last time we will play together. Through all the laughter and tears it was always my pleasure. You’re the best! Much love #5 pic.twitter.com/vaiW9Lzsec
— Jose Reyes (@lamelaza_7) September 30, 2018
Most people don’t know that #DavidWright was one of the reasons I signed with the @mets in ‘13. I believed in his vision as the team Captain & wanted to play w/one of the greatest leaders this game will ever know. Thanks for the memories bro, it was an honor to be your teammate! pic.twitter.com/zoNGD4KO99
— Curtis Granderson (@cgrand3) September 29, 2018
Can’t Miss Moments
— GENY Mets Report (@genymets) September 30, 2018
— Cut4 (@Cut4) September 29, 2018
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 30, 2018
Wright: "To be able to come to work, at a place like this in front of this fan base with this organization was the honor of a lifetime." pic.twitter.com/457srT1hxP
— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) September 30, 2018
— Joe Manniello (@joe_manniello) September 30, 2018
One last time.
— Bleacher Report MLB (@BR_MLB) September 29, 2018
Asked how he’d like to be remembered by #Mets fans, David Wright says he’d like to be remembered “as one of them…I live and die with this team.”
— Steve Gelbs (@SteveGelbs) September 30, 2018
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) September 29, 2018