Corona, NY—Hey how about that? Did you catch the game last night? Another 16 runs from the juggernaut known as your New York Mets! “The Magic is Back!” “Catch the Rising Stars!” “Baseball Like it ‘Oughta Be!” “Bring your kids to see our kids!”
Remember those team slogans of yesteryear? Well, there are no slogans this year. Just winning baseball, and right now the team’s offense is cooking with oil. And oh yeah- The Captain is Back! Yes, the stenosis in his back seems to have responded well to 3 months of lying on a So Cal beach. It was about a month ago, when David Wright visited his teammates in San Diego. Images were conjured of Lou Gehrig, of a hero just back from war. At that time Wright needed support just to stand for a few minutes!
Yet, here was Wright last night turning on a slider that hung just a bit and launching it into the 3rd deck at Citizens Bank Park in Philly. On the first pitch he saw in 4 months at the MLB level! And then proceeded to reach base 3 more times as he and his teammates put on a fireworks explosion that would make the Grucci Brothers proud. He was smiling all night and seemed genuinely thrilled to be back out on the field and among his teammates-many of whom were not his teammates the last time the Captain dressed for a real game.
Make no mistake. David Wright is a Baseball Star. Things had changed in the world while Wright was “away.” America elected the old actor Ronald Reagan as President. The Beatles broke up. Bruce Jenner won multiple Gold at the ’76 Olympics-never to be heard from again. And the Mets imported 3 new bats from other organizations, including big-time slugger Yoenis Cespedes. Super prospect Michael Conforto was promoted from within, and he looks like the real deal himself. Even Noah Syndergaard didn’t make his major league debut until about a month after Wright went on the DL back in April. So, yes some introductions were in order. Big stars, top prospects-this team had received an infusion of badly needed talent-just honest to goodness big league talent.
But for more than a decade, there has been just one face of the New York Mets. The team’s last division title, last appearance in the postseason was in 2006. Wright is all that remains from that team. The Mets’ brilliant young starters have captivated fans this year. At the trade deadline, the team brought in 3 Major League bats. Yes, Major League bats-a commodity not so common for them over the past 5 years.
Nothing however, has energized the previously frustrated and doomed fan base like the return of the Captain. Wright is not Derek Jeter with all of the mysticism his presence and his 5 Rings have spawned. He’s never played in the World Series. But he is the Mets’ Captain. A legitimate star. When healthy, a great player. Charisma in spades and matinee idol looks that make #5 seem straight out of central casting. A healthy dose of credibility for a team just now beginning to claim some in its quest for the postseason for the first time in 9 years.