Archive for the 'David Wright' Category

Is David Wright’s Career Over?

With all the turmoil the Mets have dealt with this season, the story that has gotten lost in the shuffle has been that of the Captain, David Wright.  David has not played in a baseball game of consequence since May 27, 2016. Shortly after that date, Wright was placed on the disabled list for a herniated disk in his neck and has not played a regular season game since.  David did make a couple of spring training appearances this past March before a shoulder impingement shut him down once again.

Spinal Stenosis, a herniated disk that required season ended surgery, and now a shoulder impingement (that is apparently being attributed to his herniated disc according to has had Wright see action in only 75 games between the 2015 and 2016 season.  He is currently on the 60 day disabled list and his return is nowhere in sight as once again, he continues to rehab in California, far from where he wants to be.

It’s very possible and very sad that Wright just might be the Mets’ Don Mattingly.  The Yankee star first baseman of the late 1980s’ and early 1990s’, like Wright, was a perennial all-star and a fan favorite. And like Wright, Mattingly suffered from Spinal Stenosis, had his career shortened and never got to enjoy the fortune of the late 90’s Yankee championships.  Mattingly got a taste of the post season in 1995 and so did Wright in 2015 as well as in 2006. David was not able to play in last year’s wildcard game and if the Mets do become a consistent winner (which seems doubtful based on the body of work this season), he’s likely to suffer the same fate as Mattingly in that he will not be around to enjoy some great seasons to come.

Wright will be 35 years old this December.  Had he not suffered these debilitating injuries, he would still be facing a time in his career when his skills would be diminishing. It’s normal for a 35 year old player to lose a step, not have the same bat speed, and experience more difficulty in making the throw across the diamond.  In fact even a healthy Wright would have to be starting to consider a move to the outfield or first base.  So realistically what can Wright hope to achieve given his tremendous uphill battle as he works so hard to get back into playing shape.

There are two possibilities, Wright works his way back and perhaps sees some action late in the season, or next season but at less playing time with diminished skills.  Or the more realistic result is Wright retires from the game.  It’s sad and almost unthinkable for that to happen but it has to be a consideration in the back of the Captain’s head with all he has gone through the last three seasons.

If Wright chooses retirement, he will leave holding some of the Mets all-time records that include at bats (5996), total hits (1777), runs (949), doubles (390), RBI (970), walks (761), total bases (2945), and sac flies (65).  He is currently second in home runs (242, ten behind Darryl Strawberry), hit by pitch (45, Lucas Duda leads with 47), and games played (1583).  With over 5000 at bats, Wright also leads the Mets in average/slugging/OPS at .296/.491/.376.  Wright shares the best RBI season (2008) with Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza at 124. Wright also hit 42 doubles in a season three times and had more than 30 homers twice.  At third base, Wright is way ahead having played 1583 games at third compared to Howard Johnson who played 835 times at the hot corner.  And in 2012, Wright was voted as the Mets All-Time third baseman.

Wright is a seven time All-Star and batted .379 with a home run in the 2006 All Star game in Pittsburgh.  He’s appeared in two post seasons as a division champion in 2006 and a NL Champion in 2015. Wright won two silver slugger awards in 2007 and 2008 and two gold gloves in the same years.  Wright was player of the month twice and player of the week three times.  Wright will never be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown but rest assured he will be a member of the Mets Hall of Fame shortly after he does finally retire from the game.

I honestly hope that Wright makes it back.  He epitomizes what every Mets fan wants to see in the players they root for.  Wright is a fan favorite not only because of his outstanding play and effort but because he is proud to wear the orange and blue and never wanted to play anywhere else.  Wright will never be considered in the class of Derek Jeter but when it comes to team loyalty, Jeter has nothing over the Mets all time third baseman.

On a personal note, I brought my son, then 10 years old to his first Met game on July 22, 2004. It was a blistering hot Thursday afternoon when the Mets took on the Montreal Expos.  The Mets lost the game however David Wright playing in his second game got his first major league hit, a double down the left field line.  We got to see Wright’s first and second career hits that afternoon and could tell the Mets had something special in their new third baseman.  We’ve been fans ever since and my son, now 23, still occasionally wears his David Wright tee shirt.

I continue to hope that Wright will beat the odds and make a meaningful comeback.  But as the days drag on it is going to be more difficult for that to happen.  Regardless of how it all ends, Wright has made his mark on the Amazins and will always be remembered with the likes of Tom Seaver, Mike Piazza, Darryl Strawberry, Keith, Dwight, Ron, and so many others.  Wright will be a Met forever and I’m so grateful we got to enjoy the many thrills from his playing days with just one team, his favorite team as well as ours.

Is David Wright our Don Mattingly?

Don Mattingly was an outstanding first baseman for the New York Yankees. His last season was 1995, the first season the Yanks started an incredible run making the playoffs every year through 2007. In the five seasons following Mattingly’s retirement, the Yankees won the World Series four times. However 1995 was the only time Mattingly experienced the post season.  The Yanks lost to Seattle in the first ever League Division Series, exiting in the first round.

The reason Mattingly hung ‘em up was because of spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal column.  The condition causes a lot of pain, stiffness, and tingling in the lower back (lumbar spinal stenosis) and legs. It’s manageable with therapy and medication but after a time it can take its toll on an athlete. So at the age of 34, the Yankees first baseman, still a fan favorite, retired from the game. Currently Mattingly is the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Of course you know what I am getting at. This past weekend, Mets third baseman David Wright was also diagnosed with spinal stenosis in the lower back. He has been experiencing back stiffness while recovering from a pulled hamstring that knocked him out of action after an awkward slide in a game on April 14th. We have not seen the Mets’ captain since. He is currently in California working with a renowned specialist in the field. We should know some time this week what David’s long term prognosis will be. Of course the New York media, as they are so often apt to do, is painting a gloom and doom scenario luring viewers and readers to whatever venue they are serving. Initial response is that David is experiencing a minor case of stenosis and that rest will help it subside. However, there is no denying that for a professional athlete, spinal stenosis can be a very serious and career threatening condition. It is the reason that former Met and Phillie Lenny Dykstra retired from baseball at the age of thirty-five.

It is an interesting parallel. Mattingly was a very popular player in New York and today, there is still a heated debate whether he belongs in the Hall of Fame or not. His numbers are as good as some already in the Hall but what seems to hurt him is that he had a very short career, at least in terms of the seasons when he dominated offensive categories. Mattingly, a pure hitter and outstanding fielder, was often overlooked in New York because of the other first baseman in town, Keith Hernandez.  But make no mistake, before his back problems, Mattingly was a very talented and beloved baseball player.

David Wright is a similar type of player to Mattingly. Wright is on pace to be the best offensive player in Mets history. He is highly popular and has already established records in many categories as a Met.  Like Mattingly with the Yankees, it is very unlikely that Wright will ever wear another uniform. He bleeds orange and blue.  Another irony he shares with Mattingly is if he is forced to leave the game sooner than later, he may also miss golden years with his franchise. As the Mets youngsters continue to blossom, good things loom on the baseball horizon. What a shame it would be for David to not be a part of that.  So could it be that the same medical condition that shortened Don Mattingly’s career will also curtail the career of David Wright?

Of course we certainly hope not but I take David’s plight personally in this regard. I took my son to his very first Mets game back on July 22, 2004. It happened to be the game when David Wright got his first major league hit (David’s second game in the bigs having been called up and debuting the night before). It was a double down the left field line at Shea Stadium off of right hander Zach Day of the Montreal Expos. It happened in the fifth inning, David’s second at bat of that blistering hot afternoon. In fact in that inning David would go on to score the only run of the game for the Mets as they lost by a score of 5-1. So my son and I have followed Wright very closely ever since. And for me being a fan of this team for over 50 years, it is my hope to see the greatest Met of all time start and end his career with this organization. Not be traded away like Tom Seaver or having come from another organization like Mike Piazza. David Wright is a Met though and through. It’s not supposed to end like this. It can’t.

Obviously my son and I are not alone and are quite concerned for David’s future and that goes beyond what he means just to the Mets.  I cringe when I hear fans say “well who will play third now?” as if David is just a machine or something. He’s a human being that we hope finishes his career with the Mets at age 40 or beyond, retires and becomes our number one Mets ambassador for the rest of his life. That’s how this story is supposed to end.

I’m not much for prayer but I do hope that David will be able to manage this condition. He is the real Mr. Met, make no mistake about it. No one is more proud to wear a Mets uniform than David Wright. He is as loyal as they come and my son and I, as well as thousands upon thousands of Mets fans are hopeful that he enjoys many more years creating exciting memories and setting records at Citi Field.


Baseball, the World, and Captain America

It is clear to see why David Wright is performing as well as he is in this World Baseball Classic. He has runners on base to drive in and hitters behind him to protect his at bats. Mets fans are likely drooling over what Wright might do for the Mets this season. However, unless general manager Sandy Alderson can somehow deal to obtain Jimmy Rollins, Brandon Phillips, Ryan Braun and Joe Mauer to hit in front of the third baseman, I would not get too excited.

This is not to say that Wright cannot have a big year for the Mets. He certainly can and has done so in the past with much less of a lineup than he is currently enjoying in Miami and hopefully in San Francisco for the WBC finals. The point is Wright has always been an all star player and criticisms often leveled against him were unfair in large part due to the fact he had absolutely no protection.

Wright’s stats over his career match the lineup he has had around him. He was great through 2007 then tailed off for a couple of seasons. Well no wonder, Carlos Beltran was often injured and so was Carlos Delgado whose hip completely deteriorated. Taking those two bats away from Wright had a profound effect.  He pressed and tried to pick up the slack and that led to developing some bad habits increasing his strikeout total and lowering his overall productivity.

So far in the WBC, Wright has driven in 10 runs and most in clutch situations. His RBI total leads the tournament so far.  In fact if it was not for David Wright, team USA’s players would all be back with their current clubs in Florida or Arizona getting ready for the regular season. Mets fans can be proud of their third baseman who has been appropriately nicknamed Captain America. That really is a good nickname for Wright.  He has looked forward to the WBC and he feels very proud when he puts on the USA jersey.

II have thoroughly enjoyed the entire tournament and think it is a great thing for baseball. Many in the media don’t because it disrupts spring training. Oh my, God forbid something should disrupt boring spring training where there are way too many games played by players whose numbers are in the 80s and 90s and we’ll likely not see at the major league level for years if ever.  And what if the players get hurt in the WBC, then what? Yeah I guess because players never get hurt in spring training. What would you rather see, a player getting hurt in the WBC playing baseball or pulling a rib cage muscle on the golf course after their work out? Most regular players no longer make the trip to away games in the spring.

Mike Francesa, the sports talk show host on WFAN in New York said the other day he watches none of the World Baseball Classic but yet he claims to be a huge baseball fan. His rational is that the WBC is not legitimate, that it’s just a made up thing. Huh? Isn’t the baseball regular season and post season just a made up thing? Isn’t baseball just a made up thing? Sorry but I am missing something?

The WBC has 28 countries (including the qualifying rounds) very interested in competing in baseball every four years. If we love the game and its stars, why would we not like the WBC? Is it a perfect tournament? No, not yet but it’s getting better and it will help the game overall as players from unheard of places around the world become the stars of tomorrow.  It actually shocks me that many of these players know of baseball let alone play it.

Sure, I know a lot of the players play in the major and minor leagues already and compete for other countries because of ethnicity  (at least one parent had to be born or a citizen of a foreign country). But many of the players did grow up in these foreign lands and love the game we take so much for granted.

Baseball is a great game and I am glad it is on the world stage with the WBC. Its growing popularity in years to come will hopefully reinstate the game in the Olympics. (They can have synchronized swimming in the summer Olympics but not baseball?)  The naysayers that turn their noses up to the WBC are missing the point. While baseball is the most popular game in the US (with all due respect to the NFL) it is not as beloved around the world. If the WBC cannot promote the game around the world, then what will? It’s a great idea and something I will look forward to every four years. And once it’s over this year, I will look forward to Captain America returning home.


When Chinese Taipei opened the 2013 World Baseball Classic against Australia in front of a packed house, it made me think that perhaps this tournament has gained some legs in four years since the last. The Pool B game was played at Intercontinental Baseball Stadium with over twenty-thousand in attendance. Intercontinental Baseball Stadium is a new facility and looked to be every bit as good as new modern minor league facilities in the United States, including the imported natural Kentucky blue grass field.

Fans cheered and beat their thunder sticks together as home team Chinese Taipei defeated Australia by a score of 4-1.

Then came game two.  The upstart Kingdom of the Netherlands shutout favored South Korea 5-0 in front of just 1,085 fans.

A similar situation occurred in Fukuoka, Japan at the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome. The heavily favored Japan team of Pool A defeated Brazil by a score of 5-3 in front of a sellout crowd of 28,181. Then when Cuba faced Brazil the next day, there were only 4,000 in attendance. And with the place so empty, you could see just how ugly the 1980’s style retractable dome stadium looked. The Japanese are definitely stuck in the past with their cookie cutter domed ballparks with Astroturf and sliding boxes.

The point is people show up for the home teams but not for the out of towners.   Now I like the WBC and follow the tournament lightly. I do agree with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig that it is important to grow the game globally, that future talent at the MLB level could be coming from corners of the globe not conceived of just a few seasons ago. What concerns me is the lack of interest overall.

Most American fans see the WBC as a nuisance, just another opportunity for their favorite star players to get hurt and threaten the chances of their team having a successful season. I have to admit that I would be very upset if David Wright hurt himself while playing on the USA squad and were to miss time during the regular season. I also would find it hard to justify the tournament. Japan finds itself in the same situation having the second most powerful baseball leagues in the world. However countries like Italy, the Netherlands, and Australia want to prove something and for them, the WBC is their chance to present their talent on the world stage. Now granted, many players on these foreign teams are American major and minor league players whose ethnicity qualifies them to play. But there are a number of players on each team from their respective country and some day could be batting 5th at Citi Field.

Japan and Cuba moved on to round 2 having eliminated China and Brazil. Korea, who was favored to at least be a runner up in Pool B was ousted by this year’s Cinderella story so far, the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Chinese Taipei is also headed to Tokyo to take part in the modified double elimination round.

Today, Pool C and D of round 1 begin play with Venezuela facing the Dominican Republic in Puerto Rico and Italy taking on Mexico in Phoenix. Is there any doubt that Italy will have the best post game spread in the tournament?

Cuba will play the Netherlands tonight at 10PM (Noon Friday in Japan) at the Tokyo Dome in round 2. The Dome will be packed but I would guess that attendance will remain mixed overall. Big crowds will gather for home teams and an effort will be made to give away tickets for the other clubs. Let’s face it, as popular as baseball is, from a global perspective it is not going to compete with the Futbol World Cup, at least not yet.

Waiting On Wright

Update 11/30/12 – According to Mets beat reported Ed Coleman, David Wright has signed a contract valued at 138 million dollars. The contract will keep David with the Mets through the 2020 season. For more, go to

Original post…

Some have said the Mets should not have leaked the Wright deal to the press. On the contrary, the Mets had too. Quite simply, the offer on the table, apparently the final offer, is more fair than many would have negotiated. But Wright is deserving of the 140 million that  currently awaits a signature.

According to MLB Network’s Clubhouse Confidential last evening. Wright is the third best third baseman in baseball in terms of WAR (wins above replacement). That includes offense and defense. Speaking of defense, Wright should have won his third Gold Glove for 2012 but the award was given to Chase Headley. Wright was much better defensively.

At a time when few contracts of this magnitude are being offered, Wright would have to be insane not to take it. The contract would keep Wright a Met through the 2020 season. He would be the second highest paid third baseman in baseball behind Alex Rodriguez and it would be the largest contract the Mets have ever offered. If anything and perhaps finally, the Mets are showing loyalty to one of their own, something Tom Seaver unfortunately never experienced.

Wright has said all along he wants to play his entire career with the Mets. If the widely reported offer is true, then the Mets are saying they want him here too. And make no mistake about it my fellow Mets fans, there will come a time when we regret this contract. But Wright is a hard working athlete. So if anyone can continue to be productive on the back end, it could be David.

Then of course there is the uncertainty factor. What if Wright decides to try free agency next fall? What if he has a bad season? What if he gets hurt? Is he willing to walk away from 140 million bucks? It makes no sense to me if he does. And by the Mets leaking the information, at least it puts the ball in Wright’s court. If Wright turns it down, Alderson would be free to shop Wright for a bundle. No Mets fan could blame the Mets ownership then. Quite frankly, as good as Wright is, he is not worth more than Evan Langoria with the Rays but he will be paid more, much more.

Perhaps Wright really does not want to play with the Mets. I guess that could be a possibility but I am doubting that. This is probably a case of his agents and Alderson working out the details related to deferred payments and possibly restructuring Wright’s salary next year slated to be 16 million (the last season of his current contract). Hey if Wright really wants to win, why not move eight to ten million off of next year’s salary to be deferred to help the team spend that money elsewhere, like the outfield.

Clearly the Mets have made a generous offer to Wright. They have shown they really want him to remain with the team. They understand he is currently the face of the franchise and that they want him to be that through this decade. Now it’s up to Wright. Do the right thing. Sign on the dotted line so the front office can get on to other things.

Wright Ties Kranepool

David Wright played his first major league game on a Wednesday. It was July 21, 2004. In his first game, he did not get a hit against Montreal going 0 for 4. The next day, July 22, a Thursday noon time game played in the high nineties and very humid, David got his first hit in the majors. It was a double hit down the left field line. My son and I happened to be there that day sitting in the sweltering mezzanine section.

Tomorrow evening, again on a Wednesday, David will have his first chance of becoming the all time leader in hits for the New York Mets. Having gone 2 for 4 last evening, Wright tied Ed Kranepool at 1,418 hits. Kranepool’s record has stood since 1979.

Let’s put this record into perspective. Kranepool played 17 years with the Mets having debuted in 1962 as a 17 year old. Wright has tied Kranepool in just eight and a half years. That’s pretty impressive. While Ed Kranepool will always remain a Met favorite among fans old enough to remember, his prowess as an offensive player never approached the skills of David Wright. I’m sure Eddie would agree.

Wright is on his way to being one of the best home grown players to ever put on the orange and blue. He likely will sign a long term extension over the offseason (we hope). It is imperative that David remains with the Mets his entire career. Unfortunately, the Mets have never been very good at keeping their great players. Most notably was Tom Seaver who should have retired in a Mets uniform. The Mets cannot let it happen again. They cannot let a great player like Wright, the face of the franchise, walk away. Sandy Alderson must sign Wright and I am confident he will.

It seems like yesterday that my son and I sat in the mezzanine reserved seats that day in 2004 wondering what Wright would become. We knew he was good having read about his accomplishments in the minor leagues. But honestly I don’t think anyone sitting in old Shea Stadium that day had any idea of what a fine player and a fine young man Wright would become.

This season has been disappointing to say the least but it will hopefully be remembered for three exciting things–the Johan Santana no-hitter, R. A. Dickey’s magical season, that could end with him receiving the Cy Young award, and David Wright becoming the all time Mets hit leader. No its not a playoff appearance but we’ll take it.

David already leads the Mets with runs (787), doubles (321), RBI (813), strikeouts (1,007), Walks (614), total bases (2,386), and sac flies (58) tied with Kranepool. With 2000 or more at bats, Wright leads the Mets all time in batting average with .300. He is third in homers with 202, 50 behind Darryl Strawberry. Mike Piazza is second with 220 homers.

A Flawed System

Pablo Sandoval will start over David Wright in the All Star Game in Kansas City. Why? – Because he got more votes than Wright. Does Sandoval deserve to start? From the perspective of performance—no, not while Wright is in the same league.

The fact that Wright is not starting points out what a joke the All Star Game has become, at least in my opinion. While the game is supposed to celebrate its stars, instead it points out its contradictions.

In recent years, the winner of the ASG determines which league gets home field advantage for the World Series. This was a gimmick from the get-go. The ratings of the ASG have sagged over time. The powers that be set out to do something that would boost interest in the game. Why did fans turn away from the ASG to begin with? There are a host of reasons, some of which have little to do with the game itself.

In years past, the ASG was a way for fans in the host city to see stars they did not see on a regular basis. It also provided a TV outlet for fans to see super stars compete against each other. Unlike New York, most city’s had (and still have) one team. In those markets, the chance to see a Willie Mays or a Frank Robinson was remote at best. Sure, you might see them on NBC’s Game of the Week but ultimately it was rare to witness the greats of the game and it was quite a treat to see them in one setting.

The ASG served as a platform where all the stars could come together in one venue to play a game, a game where the stars from one league played against stars of the other. It was a great concept but over time its meaning has become deluded.

What else made the ASG great theatre was the fact it was played very competitively. Initially, players were not chosen by the fans. They were chosen by those in the game who knew who was having a great year and who was not. Plus not every team was represented. Only the best players made the team and often those players played the entire game. And sometimes, those players got hurt and no question that was an issue.

As free agency took hold and player contracts soared, owners became very leery in regard to their players playing in a game that was not very meaningful. That’s when we began to see the stars get a couple of at bats then out of the game they went. Even some players themselves did not see the great honor it was to represent their team at the ASG.

Of course today there is the issue of overexposure. Baseball in the media is everywhere—TV, radio, the Internet, and your hand held device. With ESPN, Fox, TBS, and MLB Network, you can watch many out of town games every week at no extra charge to your cable or satellite bill. A real junky can purchase the Extra Innings package for TV. The Internet has its own package—MLB.TV where you can watch or listen to every out of town game on your computer, iPad, or hand held device. Unlike years ago when the home teams did not even telecast every game, today you can overload on baseball for very little expense. With so much exposure to the game’s stars on a daily basis, the ASG has further lost its luster.

When the system was changed so that fans could vote, there was nothing stopping them from stuffing the ballot box. But it still was a primitive system requiring fans to fill out paper ballots and mailing them in or putting them in ballot boxes at the ballpark. Today, voting is done on the internet. You can vote up to 25 times per email address. As an experiment, I voted for Wright (and my other selections) 75 times by using three different legitimate email addresses. Seeing that Wright was way ahead I stopped voting because a) I figured he would win and b) I really don’t like voting like this.

Also, today all teams must have at least one representative on the ASG roster. Fair enough since every team usually has at least one star player. But a problem I see is the ASG managers try to get every player on the roster into the game. Then when players are needed at the end of the game, they are no longer available and the game is decided by all stars but not the best all stars. Up until last season, many stars climbed into their limousines and even left the ballpark before the game had ended!

The ASG used to be just the game. Today it is a three day event that begins on Sunday and goes through the conclusion of the game Tuesday evening. It begins with the futures game in the ASG ballpark on Sunday afternoon. There is a fan fest, a place for fans to gather, meet people in the game and take part in all kinds of activities. Home Run Derby on the Monday evening appears to be as big an event as the game itself. Plus there is a celebrity softball game too that helps give exposure to former players and stars plugging new sitcoms. Suffice to say, All Star week has become an orgy for the baseball junkie. The problem is the average fan could not care less and even the hard core fans, like myself, see many shortcomings.

The main problem as I see it, if the game is to determine the home field advantage for the World Series, then it must be played like a real baseball game and the fact is, it is not. The ASG is played like an exhibition, a showcase where all the stars get to play. Fine, if that’s what baseball and its fans want then don’t make the outcome determine who gets four home games in October. It is completely contradictive.

I do not understand why the best team with the best record overall simply does not get home field advantage throughout the playoffs including the Series. That’s the way it is done in every professional sport except baseball (and in fairness football but that is only because the Super Bowl is played at a neutral site). If the Yankees end up with the best record overall during the regular season, then they should have home field advantage if they get to the Series.

The argument against best team getting home field is the planning it takes to make hotel reservations, etc. Another contradiction is that now, the best teams in the NL and AL do get home field advantage through the League Championship Series. And now with ten teams making the playoffs, no one knows who will be in the World Series until the ALCS and NLCS conclude anyway. I’m not buying this excuse.

The ASG is flawed. I don’t care how Bud Selig spins it. If home field advantage is to teeter on the outcome, then the voting of players must change. If fans can vote up to 25 times with one email address, doesn’t that encourage stuffing the ballot? Why not limit one vote to one email address. At least that discourages stuffing to some degree. It’s unlikely each fan is going to open 100 email accounts to vote for their favorite player.

Here’s another idea, go back to paper ballots that can only be submitted at Major League ballparks. How’s that for getting serious?

Pablo Sandoval is having a fine year. He’s hitting .300/.362./.471 with 6 homers and 25 RBI. But Wright has been phenomenal with .354/.447/.560 with 9 homers and 50 RBI. The fact that Sandoval is starting over Wright says all that needs to be said about the All Star Game.