Wright’s got a lot of Derek Jeter in him, on and off the field, and part of that means he’s not going to reveal very much about himself, for better or for worse…
Wright fielded questions yesterday about his remarkable turnaround at the plate without offering any real insight into how he did it.
“I don’t know if you can really put your finger on it,” he said, and then, in typical Wright fashion, proceeded to link it more to the way the team is playing than himself.
It was admirable, and Jeter would have been proud, but it does leave you wanting more. Did he have demons to fight on balls up and in? Did he have doubts about getting back to the form that has made him an All-Star again? Did all the strikeouts make him crazy?
No, no, and no, said Wright.
I don’t have a direct link to Harper’s column. It was in the early edition of the paper and is not online. It’s almost entirely based on conjecture, but to Harper’s credit, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to speculate about the lingering effects of last year’s beaning on Wright early this season.
The most interesting quote in the column is Wright saying, “I don’t care about the strikeouts.” That’s cool, because neither do I. Since this year’s uptick hasn’t prevented him from producing as well as he ever has in the Majors (especially when you adjust for the park), and since even when Wright seemed to be striking out every other at-bat he was still maintaining a respectable on-base percentage, they’re just not that big a deal. Wright will probably finish this season with a career-high strikeout total. It won’t have stopped him from being awesome.
And that’s the thing I think everyone needs to keep in mind when we spend so much time analyzing Wright psychologically and in every other which way. Wright’s going to slump again, he’s going to strike out in some big spots again and he’s going to get booed again. It’s just part of it. That’s just baseball; these things happen.
But Wright will always come back to being awesome. Wright is a great, great baseball player, probably the best position player the Mets have ever had. It’s not fair (or safe) to call him a Hall of Famer yet, but there’s no doubt he’s on that trajectory. And players of that caliber simply do not roll over in the face of adversity. All the different things that made David Wright this great in the first place will keep him great moving forward.
And since inevitably Wright’s psyche will be assessed from armchairs the next time he struggles — and that will suck — it only seems fair to share a feel-good story about the man while he’s going well. Corny fodder for Wright’s loyal admirers among us:
While the Mets were taking batting practice yesterday, I waited outside their clubhouse with our video producer and intern, prepping to interview Ike Davis for the Baseball Show. Every person that passed commented on the sweltering heat. Players walked by soaked in sweat, looking a bit wilted, conserving energy.
Then came Wright, bouncing down the hall, no worse for the wear. Alongside him was a kid, about 8, wearing a “Make-A-Wish” t-shirt and a Mets hat. The kid looked a bit overwhelmed. Wright looked positively giddy.
“Here’s our indoor batting cage, and here’s our video room,” Wright said, sounding himself like an excited 8-year-old showing his friend his parents’ new home or something. “You wanna see our clubhouse?”
They emerged a few minutes later and proceeded toward the dugout. “You wanna meet some of the players?” Wright asked as they walked down the hall, away from where we were standing. “You know a lot of the players? Who’s your favorite player?”
The kid mumbled something inaudible.
“Well you have to say that,” we heard Wright say before they moved out of our earshot. “Because I’m walking with you!”
We were the only media anywhere close, and no cameras were rolling.