Most know me as the whacky and passionate Mets fan. Always watching the game on my laptop or TV whenever I can, tweeting my frustrations and RARE joy about the franchise, and shouting “Let’s go Mets” at every and any person I see wearing the orange and blue.
But it wasn’t always that way. Up until the age of six I was a Yankees fan. A kid from New Jersey just in love with the popular pinstripes who always found a way to win. And then my seventh birthday rolled around and my uncle shockingly presented me with a Mets jersey. I was shocked and a little upset, it was my seventh birthday I wanted something I could use! There was just something about that jersey, though. The orange and blue was cool and hip, and the guy whose name and number graced the back of that jersey was one of the most exciting players in baseball: David Wright. It took some convincing from my uncle, but I eventually decided to trade the Yankee pinstripes in for the #5 jersey and Mets fanhood.
Some would say that was a mistake. And to a degree I agree, life as a baseball fan would be so much easier and a lot less painful if I was a fan of the team that runs New York from the Bronx. But there was one guy who always made being a Mets fan worth it, and that was the captain.
Did David Wright have a hall of fame career? No, probably not. His .296 career batting average and ownership of most Mets records is impressive, but he never had a career worthy of a trip to Cooperstown. And as a Mets and just pure baseball fan, that’s okay. Wright has provided us all enough memories to last a lifetime.
His diving barehanded grab in San Diego. The walk-off hit over Johnny Damon’s head in the Subway Series as he famously shuffled down the line. Earning that “Captain America” nickname while leading Team USA to glory. Doing everything he could to get back healthy in 2015 for the magical playoff run and blasting a no-doubter to the second deck in Philly in his first at-bat back. His legendary fist pump in Washington. The game winning RBI in Game 1 of the NLDS in LA. Staring down public enemy #1 Chase Utley after that “slide” into Ruben Tejada. And sending Citi Field into a frenzy with his two-run homer in Game 3 of his first ever World Series.
Even signing an 8 year contract in 2013 in the midst of possibly the worst 6 year stretch in the franchise’s history and telling the fanbase that things will be turned around and this team will win. He easily could’ve went anywhere else and tasted winning while getting a hefty payday, but he stayed in Queens because, as he’s always said, he “bleeds orange and blue.”
The goodbye to Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter was hard for Yankee fans for sure, but winning heals everything. For Mets fans, watching Wright go through everything he did and hang around only to never win the title he so badly deserves, that will sting forever.
That’s why when he tearfully said goodbye in his press conference yesterday, I and many Mets fans everywhere had a tough time holding back the tears with him. He never forgot about us fans and everything we went through together. In a presser in which he mentioned all his teammates and coaches, and wanting to play one last time so his daughters could watch him, he didn’t forget to thank the fans for the journey we’ve been on with him these past 14 years.
He’s one of the few guys who can repeat a line like “I bleed orange and blue” over and over and you genuinely believe him every time. As a kid who grew up in a household where sports are like religion, David Wright was the leader I always looked up to. He’d been through “some good, some bad, and quite a bit of ugly” but always hung around and let us know that good times were coming soon. Heck, I wore the number 5 in every sport I played because of him.
We all wish Wright could hang around for one more run at a title. But I can’t ask much more from a man who has given me everything as a fan. So, when he takes the field for the final time at Citi Field on September 29th, it will no doubt be a tearful goodbye to one of the franchise’s great players and men.
But after all these years we cannot be hurt, angry, or upset. There’s really only one thing we can say…
Thank you, Captain.