It’s become a rare thing in sports where a player gets the perfect send off. Maybe it’s because an injury or trades. Ken Griffey Jr retired in the middle of the night without much fanfare or a proper send off. Brett Favre played for the Vikings and the Jets, after leaving the Packers. Karl Malone and Gary Payton awkwardly ended their NBA careers on the Lakers. Saying good bye is hard, but more importantly, fans just want to thank their heroes at the end.
Two prime examples of the perfect good bye would be Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter, two legends in their sports and whit their franchises. Both had the perfect sign off -Kobe had 62 points and Jeter hit a walk off single (wasn’t game 162, but it was Jeter’s final at bat in his last home game). Neither Lakers or Yankees made playoffs, so fans, teammates, and everyone know it was officially the end.
On September 29, the New York Mets organization, players, and fans will be able to give David Wright a proper send off. Wright has been a Met since 2004. I remember being at sleep away camp that summer and one of my counselors giving me the exciting news that a minor league guy I had long obsessed over and followed was coming to Queens. Wright debuted on July 21, 2004 en route to a very successful career that essentially ended in 2016 and will official close at the end of this season.
Wright made the all star team 7 times, 2 gold gloves and 2 silver slugger awards. His career stats (pending 9/29) include a .296 average, 1,777 hits, 242 homeruns, 970 runs batted in.
The circumstances of Wright’s return and finale aren’t perfect. Not by a long shot. Wright hasn’t played since 5/27/16 due to neck, back, shoulder ailments all stemming from his spinal stenosis, a condition I personally have dealt with in some form.
It’s hard saying good bye. David Wright has formally been the captain of the Mets since 2013. But for so much longer he has been so much more – the face of the franchise, the face of hope and optimism. Wright, even in the worst of times (as a Met there are too many bad times) he always managed to smile and stay positive. His attitude will be missed. He was one of the few good things the Mets have ever had. The Mets franchise has long endured misery, a lot of which has come with Wright, including one of the sports’ greatest collapses. But every now and then, even the most torched franchises deserve some form of good. And for a fanbase that found itself consistently torchered, Wright represented that good.
Thankfully, Wright is healthy enough to put on the uniform one last time and say good bye to a city that absolutely adored him. Good for the Wilpons, who could have said no and saved money on an insurance claim on Wright’s contract for allowing this to happen. And Good for the Mets for not doing this on a football Sunday! I will be there screaming and thanking my captain.
David Wright’s smile will last forever with Mets fans and fans should forever smile knowing that our lives were better having been able to watch David Wright for as long as we did. On September 29, Mets fans and David Wright will reunite for the first in in two and a half years, and the last time. It’s not a good bye. Its a thank you.
So long, David. You will always my Captain.