The New York Mets’ David Wright spent Opening Day making my predictions look darn good. At the peak of his prime, Wright has the opportunity to tear open this season and put up MVP-caliber numbers. Three hits in five at-bats with a two-run bomb was almost enough to keep the Mets from giving this game away. Almost.
Wright, the Mets’ captain, has been diplomatic about the team’s chances all preseason, calming fans’ concerns over a weak bullpen and sheltering teammates from that 90-win cloud GM Sandy Alderson rained on them down in Florida. He’s content to let his play on the field do the talking and hope a few other Mets will step up from time to time. Deep down, I believe Wright wants to drag this squad into October, kicking and screaming if he has to, if only as a way to say, “what about this year?”
It’s a great story, and every time Wright stepped into the batter’s box the crowd ventured back from Shake Shack to lean in over the promenade railing or surge towards the nearest television set. Wright still brings the passion Mets fans want and need — the symbol of hope for the entire franchise. After ten years with the team, he’s rarely disappointed.
2014 might not be the biggest challenge of Wright’s career — not after a serious concussion and finding a date once being photographed in that Great Gazoo helmet back in 2009 — but this season might be the biggest opportunity he’ll ever get. The Mets’ greatest position player is on the cusp of Hall of Fame worthiness. One more monster season, a la 2007’s .325/.416/.546 campaign, along with a playoff charge out of a team expected to win 70-something games would cement his Cooperstown invitation.
Opening Day was a frustrating loss, and afterwards Wright commented to ESPNNewYork: “For us to accomplish what we want to accomplish, we’re not good enough to just be giving a game away.”
Sounds like a captain challenging his team to demand excellence, the kind of thing you want to hear from a man on a mission. One day at a time, always, but after this one, it’s hard not to get a little geeked over what sort of performance Wright could give to Mets fans this year.