Wright shows his leadership in Game 3 win
Captain steps up, tallies four RBIs, including big first-inning homer
NEW YORK -- The Mets sometimes struggle to describe David Wright, to categorize the things that he does. They paint a picture of someone who, despite the injuries and the aging and everything else, is still a bit different. They tell tales of a player operating at a different altitude. They fumble with their words.
So when Wright does things such as homer in his first career World Series at-bat at Citi Field, driving in four runs in the Mets' 9-3 Game 3 win over the Royals, the Mets shake their heads not in disbelief, but in acceptance. This is who Wright is. This is what Wright does. The only shame is in how few chances he's had to do it.
With the Mets still trailing in the best-of-seven series two games to one, Wright will get another chance in Game 4 on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time on FOX).
"This game is funny how it works out sometimes and how the moment finds certain guys," teammate Tyler Clippard said. "You couldn't really script it any better, David coming up in that spot and hitting a home run. With all he's done for this organization ... that's kind of storybook stuff."
Perhaps knowing that any good story features adversity, Wright tackled his in Kansas City. He committed a key error in the 14th inning of Game 1. He finished 0-for-4 in Game 2. When combined with the team's overall struggles, Wright's issues were profound enough to charge up pockets of fans calling for his benching.
That was never going to happen because of who Wright is, of what he is capable of doing. Like this: Not long after a sold-out Citi Field crowd gave him a rousing ovation prior to his first World Series home game, Wright stepped into the batter's box against Royals starter Yordano Ventura. He fouled off a 94 mph fastball, then received a 96 mph one in almost exactly the same spot. He planted his foot. He lowered his shoulder. He clubbed it over the left-field fence as the sold-out crowd came alive.
"Running around the bases, it's just like floating," Wright said. "You can't describe the excitement of hitting the home run, crossing home plate, high-fiving your teammates, and looking up and seeing people going absolutely nuts. It's one of those memories that will stick with me for the rest of my life."
Consider that sincerity from a player whose recent history is well-documented. Wright reported to Spring Training at 32 years old with questions surrounding both his health and production. He missed four months of the season due to spinal stenosis, a career-threatening condition that had him unsure about his baseball life. Then he returned in Philadelphia, homered on the first swing he took, and made the postseason for the first time in nine years.
Now this. Wright became the second Met ever to drive home four runs in a World Series, joining Rusty Staub in 1973's Game 4. Only three other Mets -- Gary Carter twice, Keith Hernandez and Jay Payton once -- had even plated three, making it the type of thing that jibes far better with Wright's profile than any talk-radio jabber calling for his benching.
"He's David Wright for a reason," Clippard said. "The moment is never too big for him. It's funny how baseball works sometimes where things work out that way. Storybook stuff happens to those types of players, it seems like, and David's no different. He's the captain for a reason."
Believers in such narrative noted that the final out of Game 3 managed to find its way to Wright, who fired across the diamond to seal New York's victory. Others cared more to mention that Wright is 4-for-16 in the World Series, leading the team in RBIs.
Leading the Mets, in general, in all the ways they have long envisioned for him.
"The Mets, since I've played against them, haven't had these opportunities in these big moments," Clippard said. "You're not always going to get the clutch hit. You're not always going to hit the cool home run. But at the same time, if you stick to your game plan, those moments, when they arise, those type of players are capable of kind of slowing everything down and doing what he did tonight."