Greason: Thank you, Captain
Elizabeth Greason | Monday, October 1, 2018
Everything finally felt right again Saturday as, for once, baseball was not a team sport, because all eyes were glued to one man. The face of an organization. The heartbeat of New York for so long.
Saturday night, David Wright tearfully took the field in his New York Mets uniform at Citi Field one more time. But this time, he did it alone. He jogged out without his teammates beside him to a raucous standing ovation, tapped third base with his foot, as he always does and basked in the warmth of the outpouring of love from fans who had stood behind him during his 17 years as a Met, through wins and losses, through the good times and the years of devastating injuries.
David Wright played in his final MLB game Saturday after two full years of attempting to come back from a spinal injury. And boy, did it feel right. But boy, did it feel so, so wrong to watch the Captain leave the field, knowing he wouldn’t don that jersey in Citi Field again.
Watching Wright catch the first pitch tossed to him by his two-year-old daughter, and then scoop Olivia Shea up in one in arm with his entire family watching on was something special. Watching Wright and José Reyes, who stood next to one another at shortstop and third base for 11 years in Mets jerseys, embrace one final time as Wright walked off the field brought on chills like no other.
For the last 17 years, Wright has embodied what it means to be a Met. He has been a class act, an extraordinary talent and the epitome of what a leader should be. The well-spoken, but soft-spoken 21-year-old young man from Virginia who was drafted in 2001 has grown up in front of New Yorkers’ eyes. He has become a husband, a father of two, a seven-time All Star, a two-time Gold Glove Award winner, a two-time Silver Slugger and a member of the 30-30 club. And I can’t think of anyone who embodies the name “Captain” better. Because he is Our Captain. He is the quintessential Met, holding franchise records in not one or two, but 11 categories. Even over the course of the last few years, when Wright neck and back injuries left him unable to play, he remained team captain. A vocal and active presence in the locker room, continually working to come back as good as ever, never giving up on a body that gave up on him.
The first Mets game I ever attended featured a young Wright starting at third base. Because of course it did. That’s what baseball games have been, for me. Peanuts, Cracker Jacks, the seventh inning stretch and David Wright. And while it’s been a few years since Wright has been able to take his rightful place at third, there was the thought that he could return. He was always on the roster. And seeing him there Saturday was the right thing — the Mets did right by Wright, letting Wright and Reyes play alongside each other last time.
Wright himself said it best when he took the microphone on the field Saturday night to a completely packed house at Citi Field.
“This is love,” he said, in reference to how he feels about the game of baseball, the New York Mets and Mets fans.
Well, David, right back at you. While I was not at Citi Field on Saturday night, the tears welling up in your eyes throughout the evening mirrored those in mine and those in most fans’ eyes as we watched and listed to the heart of the organization who is so loved and respected bid farewell to the only team for which he has ever played. David, thank you for the memories, the smiles and the passion, the RBIs and miracle bare-handed grabs. David, thank you for never giving up on the Mets and on Mets fans, because we definitely never gave up on you.
So, thank you, Captain. For everything.
Because how New Yorkers feel about you, that is love.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.