David Wright: Team Captain No Matter What  • Latino Sports


David Wright: Team Captain No Matter What 


Wright2017Queens, NY – Walking into the New York Mets locker room on Saturday before the Mets – Reds game I was pleasantly surprised to see, David Wright sitting in front of his locker. His is the first locker to the left as you enter the locker room. For many weeks and for the majority of the times that I have entered the Mets locker room his locker has been empty and no sight of David.

So you can imagine my surprise as I walked into the locker yesterday and the first player I saw was David, chilling with a large black sling on his right arm. He saw me first and as I turned he, said, “Hey how are you? To my pleasant surprise I too responded, “I’m well, but the question is how are you?” We shook hands; he gave me his left (as his right was in a large sling) and apologized for it. That’s David, so considerate of others.

David is one of those handful of players that I have met throughout the 28 years covering sports that is really a “down to earth human being who also happens to be a star baseball player.”

I’m not taking anything away from other players, for the most part they are respectful, cordial and oblige us sports writers. However, David is one of those rare players that goes beyond the cordiality, he genuinely engages with you like he did by seeing me first and asking how I was doing?

David has a history with Latino Sports as the only non-Latino to win a prestigious LatinoMVP (Willie Randolph also was the first non-Latino manager to win a LatinoMVP award when he managed the Mets in 2006 to a league-best 97–65 record).

However, David was more than a ‘down to earth player.” In 2006 when we coordinated with the Latino Sports Writers & Broadcasters Association (LSWBA) and several volunteers to organize the Retire 21 campaign to help retire Roberto Clemente’s # 21 from all of major league baseball David was front and center.

Not only did he sign the petition to retire Clementes’ #21, but he also followed his support with an unsolicited contribution to the campaign. What’s even more interesting was that he was the only NY Met to donate even though the Mets had other Puerto Rican and Latino players who also knew of the campaign to retire Clemente’s # 21.

With sling, Wright still could not stay away from the dugout during Mets batting practice where he took pictures with children and a few fans. (Photo Latino Sports)

With sling, Wright still could not stay away from the dugout during Mets batting practice where he took pictures with children and a few fans. (Photo Latino Sports)

So that’s David Wright a popular and loved player for a team that might not have gotten all the attention that it deserved in a city that has always been more focused on the other team from across the river.

Wright has always been a shining star for the Mets. That might explain why in 2006 Wright’s jersey outsold Jeter’s in the tri-state area, something that no player had done in eight years.

I asked the captain why after coming off his rotator cuff surgery he was at the stadium? “Shouldn’t you be home resting your arm, I asked? He said “No”. He said that he needed to be in there and being around “these guys” motioning to the players in the locker room.

I acknowledged that the team needed a veteran captain to help motivate and he immediately answered, “No I need them,” alluding that being in the stadium around his fellow players was good for his therapy.

I understood exactly what he was saying. A veteran player who was drafted in 2001 and made his Mets major league debut in 2004 cannot stay away from his baseball home.

We talked a bit about next season and he was quite clear that he wants to continue to play, but was objective about his situation and said, “It all depends on how I heal, let’s see.”

I wished the captain a swift recovery and said we all have him in our prayers.

About Julio Pabón

Julio is President and Founder of Latino Sports LLC., the parent company of Latinosports.com. Julio is a product of the South Bronx where he still lives and runs his businesses. Julio has written and has been interviewed for numerous publication and networks on sports & political issues. He has been an activist promoting social justice and respect for all communities. He is a recognized motivational speaker, was an adjunct professor of American History and presently volunteer's as a lecturer in local South Bronx High Schools. His primary goal is to make Latinosports.com a multi-facet sports portal that will engender social and economic empowerment to the Latino community.

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