April 24, 2008
The world sits at the feet of New York Mets slugger David Wright, who has seemed at ease with it all since his 2004 rookie season. Wright's bat, glove and sometimes his bare hand have put him in the company of the greatest young stars, while his personality and looks have landed him or his image on late night television, the pages of a fashion magazine and the wax of a statue that looks eerily similar to the man himself.
Now, the (real) Tony Manero of this generation must answer for all of it. In a rare interview (wink, wink), Wright reveals what event and with whom the perfect date might be, how he copes with Manhattan's monsters and cabbies (yes, there's a difference) and what it was like being in the same green room with Al Pacino's hair.
Q: You’re reportedly a perfectionist; how many do-overs did it take for you to get the wax dummy of yourself just right?
David Wright: Ha! No, they did a pretty good job of it. It only took them one try, although they were there for a couple of hours getting different measurements, different skin tones, hair color and eye color and things like that. They were pretty meticulous. They were the perfectionists in that whole thing because, on the statue are my actual cleats, my actual batting glove, my uniform, so they made sure to go to every level to make it perfect. It’s scary, how realistic it pretty much is.
Q: What about the widely held belief that you are the Austin Powers of the majors, in that men want to be you and women want to be with you?
DW: I don’t know about that [laughs]. It’s fun to be single and living in New York, playing for a good organization. I have no complaints there. As far as the other end of it, if I can take care of business on the field, then there are some nice perks that come along with a winning team.
DW: No [laughs]. Virginia is kind of the border, not-so-much Deep South, not-so-much North. So, the way I look at it, we have perfect accents — we don’t have any accents at all. We’re just being normal.
Q: I thought Maryland was on the Mason-Dixon line?
DW: Ha! Well …
DW: I would say yes [laughs], assuming we get total control of the clothes and outfits that we wear inside the magazine.
Q: How close were you guys to quitting the Mets and joining a boy band after that?
DW: Being relatively young, and seeing it was our first major fashion magazine photo shoot, we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. They turned out OK. It was a fun experience. We took quite a bit of ribbing for it, though.
Q: What’s scarier: Being a passenger in a New York cab, or being a pedestrian dodging them?
DW: Being a passenger. Because you have no control over what’s going on. At least, if you’re walking across the street, you have complete control of where you’re going, when you walk and don’t walk.
Q: Shea Stadium. What specifically will you miss about it?
DW: The memories. Just my first game, my first hit, my first playoff experience. The excitement of the fans. The memories.
Q: Especially considering your brother Stephen was a student there, can you believe it’s already been a year since (the) Virginia Tech (shootings)?
DW: I know. Unbelievable. Just insane. Still can’t believe something like that could happen, especially in a small college town like Blacksburg. Fortunately, those kids have bonded together to get through it and Virginia Tech is as strong as ever.
Q: What’s the David Wright Foundation working on right now?
DW: We have a huge gala in November. We have a nice deal where we bring out some underprivileged kids, once a homestand, to see a game. We’re doing some things for the children of 9/11 and kids in hospitals in New York.
DW: I got a chance to say hello. The way they film it, he was first and then I arrived and prepared to go on. I didn’t get a chance, too much, to talk to him. Said hello and he seemed like a good guy. I’m a big fan of Al Pacino.
Q: Is his hair intimidating?
DW: Ha! It’s intense, but it goes along with his character.
Q: If you traded places with A-Rod for a day, how do you think it would go for both of you?
DW: It’d good for me because I’d be a much better player [laughs]. For him, not so much. He’d be taking a step back in his baseball development.
Q: Would the Mets have let the Pope drive on the grass if he asked nice?
DW: I would hope so! You can’t say no to the Pope.
Q: Could you tell if the monster in Cloverfield destroyed your apartment building?
DW: I did see a couple of landmarks near my apartment, but I don’t live in a real big high rise, so he might have missed mine. Fortunately, I think it was spared.
Q: At least you made it out OK.
DW: I’d hope so! Although, I’m not the fastest guy. I hopped through mid-town and got out of there.
DW: Ha! Um … [laughs]. HoJo, great hitting coach, but as far as hotels go, we’ll stick to the Westins.
Q: Not sure how many rookies there are in here but, for hazing purposes, how about making one of them pilot the next “Wright Flight” to D.C.?
DW: I wouldn’t do that to any passenger [laughs], and put them through that kind of misery.
Q: Ever go up to Mr. Met and say, “Hey, buddy, why the big head?”
DW: It’s funny, trying to see him walk through doorways; he’s gotta turn sideways but his head is the same size no matter how it’s turned. He’s … he’s a good mascot.
Q: Which one of these sounds like the best date:
a) Surfing the North Shore with Cameron Diaz
b) Ghost Whispering with Jennifer Love Hewitt
c) Working the counter at Mooby’s with Rosario Dawson
d) Skee Ball at Chuck E. Cheese with Paul LoDuca
DW: Definitely not Paul Lo Duca [laughs]. Um … I’d probably say surfing the North Shore.
Q: Whose number do you have in your cell phone that would make me go, “Whoa!”?
DW: I’m just kind of average, you know? Not too exciting.
Q: You can’t call President Bush?
DW: Unfortunately, no. I had the chance to eat dinner with him. I can’t call his cell phone, by any means. Nobody too crazy. How about Jose Reyes?
Q: Whoa! … If any of the prestigious European leagues contacted you about doing a reverse Beckham, what would it take for you to move to, say, Glasgow and play baseball?
DW: No chance. Zero.
Q: Where should Evan Longoria take us all for lunch?
DW: How about BLT Prime (111 E. 22nd Street, between Park and Lexington avenues)?