As my dad used to say – and he’s been quoted by so many – “Some are born to greatness; others have greatness thrust upon them.” Often we find ourselves in situations not of our own making, that result in us as human beings taking a step forward and producing results surprising to even ourselves. Almost daily, your intrepid columnist is asked to accomplish something that – in his own mind – he has no business even attempting. There comes a time for everyone, a moment they have to step up. No escape.
That time has arrived for David Wright. Is it a World Series? No. Is there a pennant on the line? No. Are the Mets on the precipice of a post-season berth? No. Is this a crucial series with the Phillies or Braves in July? No. Even the most rabidly optimistic Mets fan must surely realize that there probably won’t be anything on the line – besides pride – in 2013. As presently constituted, it’s almost a lead-pipe cinch that the Mets won’t be contending for anything but third place, at best. So there probably won’t be an opportunity to show the world what they can do. There won’t be a chance to put their best players on display to finally gain some legitimacy and put an end – however temporarily – to the “LOLMets!”
Except for the World Baseball Classic.
David Wright is the Mets’ lone representative in this quadrennial Olympic substitute. Wright has done this before: he was on the US team in 2009 & delivered the US’s only big hit, a walk-off single to win an early-round game. As such, he’s been looked-up-to in this tourney from word one. Before a single pitch was thrown, Reggie Sanders – during a WBC preview on the MLB Network — praised Wright as the leader of the United States team, a rallying point for all his teammates. Since the exhibition series started, however, Wright has blossomed into a little more than that. His walk-off grand slam in the first “pool” game gave the US a victory over a talented Italy team and his three-run double in the eighth inning on Tuesday (3/12) relegated Puerto Rico to the loser’s bracket. At age 30, Wright has finally found himself in the ever-popular “big spot,” and been thriving in it. So much so, that #DavidWright and #CaptainAmerica were the two top-trending Twitters Tuesday night. As we Met fans know, ‘twas not ever thus. In Wright’s lone post-season experience, he could only muster a .688 OPS against the Dodgers and Cardinals. That was in 2006 and the bulk of the heavy lifting was done by Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran. Wright was only in his second full season at that point, talented enough, for sure, but far too young to wear the mantle of “Captain.” Now his performance is showing the non-Met fan what he can do. Now he has stepped up and is carrying an extremely talented team on his back. Now he has a larger share of the spotlight.
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