We knew this day would come. The Mets knew it, and deep down, David Wright had to know despite trying his best to prolong the inevitable by rehabbing in the Mets’ minor league farm system in getting back on the field.
Wright’s mind was willing, but his arm, back and body were not. He would often look fatigued and tired after a few days, and he had a hard time throwing to first. His bat swing speed had nothing. Quite frankly, it has been like that in the last few years to the point it became a running joke that he was trying, even if he had good intentions. Once he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis in 2015, it was over. Three surgeries on his back along with a neck surgery did him in.
The end basically came when Mets owner Jeff Wilpon announced in a press conference on Thursday that this is a sad day in the organization when talking about the Mets popular third baseman. We all knew what this was. Wright was retiring, even if he publicly never said it.
It did not matter. Actions speak louder than words. Wright choked back tears in the presser, which was a sign that his Mets days are coming to an end. He will be activated from the disabled list to likely play his last game as a Met on Sept. 29, which is the second to last Mets’ home game of the season. His family will be there, and he will get to play in front of his two daughters, which is one of his goals as a Major League Baseball player.
Still, there will always be regret for Wright. There’s no denying it. He had plans on being in the Hall of Fame as a Met. He wanted to win multiple championships for a team that he grew up loving. He wanted to play until he was 40 years old. He wanted to do everything he could to make the Wilpon family proud by not only conducting himself as a Hall of Famer off the field, but on the field. He wanted to be the best player in franchise history and be one of the best athletes in New York sports history.
No one can deny he loved being a New York Met, and he wanted to give back by winning.
Not only it’s difficult to accept for him, but it’s difficult for Mets fans and the Wilpons. They wanted him to succeed because of the class he exudes. They knew he had the ability to be a player that can lead the Mets to wins in the regular season and in the playoffs. He was one of the top 10 baseball players in his prime. There was no reason to believe he wouldn’t get it done. After all, he is so well-grounded that he never took his talent for granted.
Injuries got in the way unfortunately, and that was the end of it. He was too injury-prone to be playing at a high level. That’s why it’s so sad to see how his career ended. Why he of all people? What did he do to deserve this bad karma? It just felt so wrong that it makes one wonder why do good things happen to bad people in sports instead of the good ones. It’s cruel. It should never be part of the game.
This is why this day is poignant, even when we all knew it was coming sooner or later.
Wright tried to make light of his announcement by saying he was caught off-guard thinking he would get a contract extension by the Mets, and Wilpon joked about Wright asking for Jay Horwitz’s job as the team’s PR guy, which is now available since Horwitz was promoted to be the team’s vice president of the alumni relations along with being the team historian.
He expressed gratitude to the Wilpons, Mets fans, local media, his agents and his family for being the player he was and the person he is today. He tried to hold back tears, but he couldn’t anymore once he talked about his mother and his father.
He patiently answered questions from the media because that’s the type of guy he is. A guy who was willing to help the media do its job, which is not a priority for coaches, managers, general managers and athletes anymore.
He handled his retirement with class, which everyone expected.
He did not talk about regrets. Thursday was not the day for it. It already was a sad day as it is, so he was not going to make it any worse. He already knows he has so many regrets that he will take it to him for the rest of his life.
Thursday should have been a celebration, but in reality, it wasn’t. It was what could have been for Wright and the Mets.
The Mets have been cursed with bad luck for a long time now, and Wright desperately wanted to change the narrative. Instead, the bad luck got to him just like any other Met stars. In a way, it’s fitting that he is a true Met in that regard.
He tried. It was not meant to be.
Wright and the Mets will always remember of what could have been.