NEW YORK -- Before announcing his plans for September and beyond, David Wright walked through the Mets clubhouse Thursday and pulled aside a group of teammates with whom he is particularly close. In private, he told them the news of his impending final game with the Mets.No one in that
NEW YORK -- Before announcing his plans for September and beyond, David Wright walked through the Mets clubhouse Thursday and pulled aside a group of teammates with whom he is particularly close. In private, he told them the news of his impending final game with the Mets.
No one in that group has a longer history with Wright than Jose Reyes, who debuted a year before him and sat stoic Thursday, a Mets cap pulled low over his head, in the front row of his longtime teammate's press conference.
"His life is more important than playing this game," Reyes said. "We were both crying. It was a tough moment. I didn't know what to say in the moment. I just said, 'I love you, bro.'"
Seventeen years after meeting for the first time as Minor Leaguers, Wright and Reyes will have one final chance to play together on the left side of the Mets' infield. It's something that Reyes never imagined would happen when he left for Miami as a free agent in 2011, but that became possible after he re-signed with the Mets two seasons ago.
Manager Mickey Callaway confirmed he plans to start Wright and Reyes together at third base and shortstop on Sept. 29, reuniting a duo that appeared almost every day together at those positions from 2005-11.
"Of course I've thought about it," Wright said. "You just can't help but to think about how this started."
When it began for Wright and Reyes all those years ago, many current Mets were still just children. Steven Matz recalls growing up on Long Island, watching Wright string together Hall of Fame-caliber seasons at the advent of his career.
"I just remember all the great things I heard about him, and then coming up here with him … his character is everything," Matz said. "He's really leaving a legacy in this organization. If we're ever arguing anything, it's always, 'Oh, let's ask David. Let's ask David.' That's the type of guy he is. His opinion is so valued here. His character is so valued here."
Another local player, New Jersey's Todd Frazier, called Wright, "Mr. Met" -- a moniker he earned by playing in more games than anyone in franchise history (1,583) other than Ed Kranepool. Because Wright's best seasons are now more than a half-decade in the past, Frazier said, current players may not appreciate how talented Wright was in his prime.
"The guy was unbelievable," Matz said.
Few boast as much perspective on Wright's career as Marlins manager Don Mattingly, whose own distinguished playing career was cut short by back issues. Mattingly lauded Wright's "character" and desire to "keep fighting and trying to get back on the field," even for just one more game.
For Wright, that Sept. 29 game is foremost on his mind. That he will play in it at all means the world to him. That he will play it alongside Reyes, in a throwback to how his career began, offers added poignancy.
"He had an unbelievable career," Reyes said. "He has respect from everybody, not just from this organization, but from around the league. He's like the brother that I never had.
"You don't want to see a player like David Wright, who's given everything to this organization, go out like this -- especially after he spent almost three years doing rehab and stuff. I know how painful this is. But like I said, life is more important than this."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.