COMMENTARY | Though he doesn't sport an oversized baseball for a head, David Wright is Mr. Met. He was drafted by the Mets in 2001 and was named captain this year. He is, by far, the Mets' best position player and he holds many of the franchise's offensive records. He also signed an eight-year, $138 million contract last winter that made him the highest-paid player in team history.
So it's really no surprise that the New York Mets would go all out to solicit All-Star votes for Wright, especially considering that the game will take place at Citi Field on July 16. All organizations promote their guys. When you're 14 games below .500, when attendance is down, when your fan base is disgruntled, suddenly this All-Star thing, when it's in your ballpark, becomes an even bigger event.
If you've been watching the Mets on television, you may have noticed that the Wright All-Star Game promotion is in full swing. Hardly an inning passes without the Mets asking fans to vote for the organization's homegrown star.
In an awkward move, it's been reported that the Mets even contacted CougarLife.com, a dating website, to try to get more votes for Wright. According to reports, a Mets official emailed the site, which had voted Wright the "hottest cub," to let them know that Wright was trailing the San Francisco Giants' Pablo Sandoval in All-Star voting and that he could use their help. Once other members of the organization got wind of the potential partnership, the Mets cut ties with the site. Amazing that it even got to that point.
For his part, Wright doesn't want any of this. According to Newsday, the Mets' captain has asked the team to tone it down. Sounds like Wright grew uncomfortable with the Mets promoting him between innings at Citi Field, uncomfortable with the commercials, and you would think more than uncomfortable with the Cougar deal. More than anything, Wright realizes that his team is 24-38. Winning baseball games is the goal.
"It's nice when the organization is trying so hard to do something for one of their players and I can't thank them enough for that," Wright said according to the Newsday article. "But at the same time, I've asked them to kind of back it down a little bit, especially with the stuff between innings. You appreciate what they're trying to do, and they're very good-hearted, but at the same time, this is a team game."
He added: "We can't let this become a one-player production."
There are a couple of things at work here. First, give Wright credit for putting his team first. He knows that the Mets are sinking, and sinking fast. A lot of guys in Wright's position would only be thinking about themselves. Not Wright. He's been through some dark days as a Met, yet he chose to make a long-term commitment to the organization when he signed an eight-year, $138 million contract last offseason.
And then there's the Mets, who understandably want Wright to start the All-Star Game in their own park. The desire and the promotion are expected. But when you contact dating websites, when you bombard fans at games and on TV, it becomes a bit much.
The organization's focus shouldn't just be on one player, no matter how important that player is. The captain said so himself.
Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
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