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David Wright talks London Series, Mets' overall performance, Mark Vientos' improved play

As the Mets get set to face the Philadelphia Phillies for a two-game weekend series inside London Stadium as part of MLB’s London Series, the players on the field aren’t the only ones who traveled across the pond to be a part of the festivities.

Former Mets captain David Wright is also in town as the team’s ambassador – part of a contingent that includes Mookie Wilson, Mike Piazza and Daniel Murphy – and he sat down with SNY's Michelle Margaux on Friday to talk about the importance of the event and how the team has played this season.

“Amazing,” Wright said about his time so far in London. “Big fan of the city. My first time [here]. And then you couple that with getting a chance to watch the Mets beat up on the Phillies, this has been a fantastic trip and it’s just gonna get better and better this weekend.”

New York will play the first of two games against Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. local time (6:10 p.m. in London), sending out LHP Sean Manaea to face fellow southpaw Ranger Suarez. Both teams will wrap up the trip on Sunday with a 10:10 a.m. local start time (3:10 p.m. in London). LHP Jose Quintana will face RHP Taijuan Walker.

If Friday’s workout is any indication, both games should draw big crowds and have a “playoff-like atmosphere” as the two NL East rivals battle it out in the Square Mile.

“The fans here and the fans that have traveled, they’re so excited to watch these baseball games and to be a part of this series that the energy is electric and it almost rubs off on the players,” Wright said. “So it does, it feels like a playoff-like atmosphere with all the orange and blue walking around the city and, just for the workout, look at the fans here today. It's just an amazing experience and I’m sure the players are pumped to be here as well.”

This will be the first time that the Mets and Phillies are a part of MLB’s London Series as there have been just two other baseball series played inside London Stadium in its history.

The first came in 2019 between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, and after getting canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the arrangement between MLB and Greater London was renewed and the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals faced off in 2023. All four games drew crowds of more than 54,000 people.

Wright talked about the importance of MLB’s initiatives such as this and why growing the game of baseball outside of the US is so crucial and essential to the livelihood of the sport.

“You get a chance to grow the game and you see the looks on the kids’ faces. I know some of the Mets ambassadors here have gone to different schools and hung out with different kids and to maybe just get one or two of them to pick up a baseball bat and play the game, I think, would do wonders just because it’s a beautiful game,” he said. “If you could just get more kids around the world to play this beautiful game and understand how great it is, I think it would be a big win for Major League Baseball and baseball in general.”

As for the play on the field from his former team this year, Wright gave his two cents about what he’s seen as an observer.

“I think inconsistency,” he said about what’s been New York’s biggest problem this season. “I think that, certainly, you look at the names that are on this team and you know that they can rattle off eight out of 10, 10 out of 12, that they’re capable of doing it. Now it’s just a matter of going out there and putting it all together.

“It seems like there are stretches where we pitch and don’t hit and then there are stretches where we hit and don’t pitch. You want to limit both of those, but if you can find a middle ground and squeak out some of those games where you don’t necessarily pitch well but you can pick up the pitcher by hitting, I think that’s what makes the difference and I think that’s what they’re gonna do hopefully from here on out. So hopefully we get two wins here in London and then get rolling.”

It’s no secret that the Mets have suffered some heartbreaking defeats this season as they already have 10 losses in games they led after seven innings – more than any other team in the majors by a wide margin.

However, New York has been playing better as of late, winners of five out of its last seven and coming off a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals to get to eight games under .500.

Part of that success has been the continued improvement of Mark Vientos who has, for the time being, usurped the third base job from Brett Baty since getting promoted. In 20 games, the slugger is slashing .333/.392/.621 with five home runs, 12 RBI, four doubles and a 1.013 OPS in a decent sample size of 66 at-bats.

The former Mets third baseman discussed what he’s seen out of the 24-year-old recently.

“It’s experience and the same thing goes for any young player,” Wright said. “You’re gonna hit some bumps in the road, it’s how you deal with those bumps, how you deal with that adversity.

“A lot of these younger players, they’ve never failed at baseball in their lives so failing at the first time maybe at the major league level is not ideal, but you’re gonna see what they’re made of and you’re gonna see how they bounce back. So I’m excited that Mark has been able to show what he’s capable of doing and now it’s just a matter of what we talked about earlier, just gaining that consistency.”