A star player being visibly upset about being yanked from a game normally wouldn't be too significant of a news story. This is David Wright we're talking about, though. Mr. Quiet, Mr. Cool, Mr. Respectful. The 2012 New York Mets may be lacking what it takes to win it all come this fall, but we learned one very important thing on Tuesday night: This team is not without real leadership.
First comes the back-story. Following a four-run sixth inning, D.J. Carrasco served up a solo homer to Rickie Weeks in the top of the seventh. Carrasco then beaned Ryan Braun with his next pitch. Regardless of the reliever's intentions, that pitch got Carrasco understandably tossed from the ballgame. With the Mets down 8-0, manager Terry Collins decided it wise to pull Wright from the game before his next at-bat.
The star player was less-than-pleased with that move. SNY TV cameras picked up Wright's immediate reaction to being relieved of his duties, a reaction that included Wright firing off a few choice words not suitable for such pieces. After taking a few seconds to cool down, Wright again approached his manager to discuss the move. The discussion continued through the eighth and ninth innings, all the way until the game's final pitch.
Collins was immediately asked about the move during his postgame press conference, and the manager made it clear that he would repeat that decision ten times out of ten in similar situations. "(Wright's) not getting hurt in that game tonight," Collins stated. "Believe me, I'm not accusing (the Brewers) of anything. I just know what might have taken place and I was trying to avoid it. (Wright) said, 'If somebody gets hit, it should be me.' And I said, 'It's not going to be you. We have enough problems now. So you're not hitting.'"
Wright also spoke with reporters in the clubhouse following the 8-0 loss, stating "My thinking at the time was, Ryan gets hit and then I go up there and get hit and everything's settled...Whatever decision Terry makes, I'm on board 100 percent." Wright did later admit that he shouldn't have reacted as he did in public, and that he was more upset with the overall situation than with his manager.
As a Mets fan, I like what I saw from both men on Tuesday. Collins realized that the outcome of the game had already been decided, and Carrasco put Wright, who was slated to be leading off the bottom of the seventh inning, right in the line of fire once the reliever pelted Braun with your average "I can't believe I was just taken deep" beanball. It's only mid-May, and, as Collins told reporters, the Mets don't need any other unnecessary setbacks.
One must also admire Wright for being so fired up about being taken out of the New York lineup before one final at-bat. Wright understood that he was serving himself up merely by stepping into the box in the bottom of the seventh, and he, as would any true leader, wanted to be the player to face any receipt that might have been coming. Wright reacted exactly as should any captain when facing such a scenario.
Many analysts and fans expect the Mets to have a long summer ahead. Trade rumors regarding the Mets will undoubtedly increase as the end of July nears. Those still needing any reason for the Mets to hold onto Wright need only look at what occurred at Citi Field on Tuesday. Wright is the player I want leading this team through and past what will hopefully be a brief rough spell.
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