The Mets trailed the Kansas City Royals two games to none at the time of the Mets’ first World Series home game at Citi Field.
“What is New York going to get out of this guy, their captain David Wright?” wondered Fox play-by-play announcer Joe Buck as Wright stepped to the plate with a man on first.
Seconds later, Wright belted a Yordano Ventura fast ball deep to left-center field, giving the Mets a 2-1 lead, igniting the sold-out crowd of Met fans, who erupted so forcefully that the stadium visibly shook on television.
A similar reaction ensued when Wright re-entered the plate in the sixth, with the Mets holding a 6-3 lead, as the bases were loaded for the wounded captain. Wright drive in two more runs with an RBI single and the Mets later won 9-3.
It would be their only win of the series, but the lasting memory of smacking in four RBIs in the face of a serious spinal injury, which later ended his career, is how many Met fans will remember number five.
That career ended this past Saturday, when Wright, 35, remerged from injury for one last start, his first since 2016. The Norfolk, Virginia, native, who grew up a die-hard Met fan before the team drafted him 38th overall in 2001, had only played 77 games since the end of 2014, including no appearances in 2017 or 2018, until this final week of September.
Wright went 0-for-1 with a walk, flying out to Peter O’Brien in foul territory, who was booed mercilessly for the remainder of the weekend.
But it was a neverending love affair for Wright, literally from the moment he stepped onto the field at third base again, or into the on-deck circle before even toeing the batters’ box.
Wright, teammates, coaches and even the SNY broadcast team was moved to tears after he was pulled following the fourth inning, through a raucous, continuous tribute from the Citi Field faithful, complete with constant cheers and, ‘Thank you, David” chants.
“The best way that I could put it is tonight was awesome,” offered Wright at the post-game press conference. “I’ve never really been one to love the spotlight and 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,” he added. “I can’t tell you how much I loved the city’s reaction. It was truly amazing. I can’t thank everybody enough. It hit me right in the heart when I took the field for the first time and heard the fans cheer. That’s something that I will always remember.”
Wright’s career was cut short after 14 seasons. The seven-time All-Star retires as the Mets’ all-time leader in hits (1,777), doubles (390), RBI (970) and runs scored (949), while also being second with 242 homeruns – ten behind Darryl Strawberry.
“There’s not many people like David Wright in this world,” said Met owner Jeff Wilpon. “What he’s done for the organization, what he’s done as a person and a community leader with everything else has been outstanding.”
For many, Saturday night came too soon.
But at least New York Met fans got to see what they were promised as “the future” once upon a time, when Wright and Jose Reyes – who also received an organizational send-off on Sunday, signaling his final day as a Met – helped elevate the team to the 2016 National League Champions.
At least Met fans witnessed Wright – spinal injuries notwithstanding – have an all-time franchise performance in a World Series game.
And at least Met fans helped send-off Wright in the classiest of ways this past weekend.
It was the only way. The Wright way.