NEW YORK -- In less than two weeks, Citi Field will play host to an array of Major League Baseball's biggest stars when the All-Star festivities get under way on July 14. Among those in the on-field events, there likely won't be many Mets players. Matt Harvey could get the nod as the National League's starting pitcher, but that's up to Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
What the Mets can push for, at least partially, is a familiar face stationed just inside of the third-base bag on July 16, a face that's been perched there since Citi Field opened and will likely be perched there for much of the next decade.
"David Wright is our captain. David Wright is already one of the greatest Mets ever to put on a uniform. David Wright has become a tremendous New Yorker," senior vice president of marketing David Newman said. "And the Mets are hosting the 84th All-Star Game, and we all feel that David Wright deserves to be the starter. That's the driving force."
With the All-Star vote ending tomorrow at 11:59 p.m. ET, fans can still cast their vote for Wright using the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot. The 30-year-old has built an 842,186-vote lead over Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, and the possibility of the Mets' franchise player starting the biggest game held at Citi Field this season grows more and more real.
But a year ago, Giants fans flooded the figurative ballot boxes to snatch Wright's starting spot away for Sandoval in Kansas City with a nearly 2 million-vote swing in the final weeks. In 2013, the Mets have taken to all fronts to firm up Wright's positioning. On Twitter, the hashtag #VoteWrightNow is plastered throughout Citi Field. In retail, the Mets have an agreement in place with Modell's. On television, Mr. Met made an appearance Tuesday on NBC's "Today Show." Almost nothing was off limits.
"When you fall short, you look at where you fall short and correct it and improve upon it," Newman said, "and last year, we fell short."
Wright can't help but appreciate the efforts, even if it makes him a little "uncomfortable."
"This is a team game," Wright said in June. "As much as I'd like to be here to represent this team in the All-Star Game, we can't let this become an in-between inning, one-player production."
But it hasn't slowed the Mets' efforts. They've toned down the in-game efforts and they're no longer pumping Wright's candidacy between every inning, but they're still doing everything in their power to firm up Wright's spot in the game. When the Mets called up relief pitcher Gonzalez Germen to New York on Tuesday, Mets vice president of media relations Jay Horwitz tweeted that he had Germen vote for Wright 71 times -- the same jersey number Germen wears.
Whether Germen actually did fill out 71 ballots, it's indicative of the Mets' efforts this year. They're trying to get everyone at the ballpark to vote, employees included. Wright may not want the Mets to pump it in everyone's face, but if it gets him elected, then the Mets have done their job. Last year was a disappointment, but this year is more important, and the Mets are about 24 hours away from completing their goal.
"Given that David did not start last year, we all felt like we let David down," Newman said. "We made the commitment to not let that happen again."
David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com.