David Wright: Mets Are Playing To Win, Not Just Survive

Wendy AdairAnalyst IJune 26, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 22:  David Wright #5 of the New York Mets leads off first base against Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals on June 22, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

I realize that I wrote an article earlier this week about supporting our players instead of lamenting who we have lost to the DL, so please consider this a clarification or follow up.

The Mets took three of four from the St Louis Cardinals and are now getting ready to face the Yankees for a weekend set at Citi Field.

Jerry Manuel has made it clear that the Mets are treading water until the All Star Break when many of its missing key components could at least be much closer to returning to the active roster.

He feels that as long as the Mets stay at or near a few games over .500 going into the All Star break, they can make a second half run at winning the NL East once the injured players return.

Manuel has also said earlier this week at the Ed Kranepool Society breakfast that "this is David's team," and that if and when Carlos Delgado does return, clubhouse leadership will not change.

He's entitled to his opinion about keeping their heads above water and is being fairly realistic for the most part, but make no mistake, these players are out there each day to win, not just to tick another day off the calendar.

David Wright and Alex Cora have taken ownership of keeping their teammates on the winning track mentally and physically by playing every day and contributing significantly.

Cora was an acquisition from the Red Sox and has played a pivotal role at shortstop while Jose Reyes is letting his injuries heal, even though he missed two weeks himself with a thumb injury.

Wright is the Mets' resident on field warrior and post game media darling.  This week, there has been much talk of his health, especially concern about leg pain, but publicly he has practically denied feeling poorly.

He obviously does not want management or the fans to worry, even though Omar Minaya observed him running a bit awkwardly the other day and has questioned the training staff on Wright's health.

While it is a concern that the one core player on the active roster is probably experiencing pain and soreness on a daily basis, Mets fans know that David Wright is a fighter and will play regardless of the pain.

The Mets are taking their cue from Wright during these strange and trying times and Cora has been a positive influence as well, but being that Wright is the de-facto Captain, he ultimately is the clubhouse and on field leader.

His vocal abilities have been noticed recently also, especially with Mike Pelfrey, who is his close friend and the respect between them is apparent.

Wright is showing that he is strong physically and mentally, and while people keep dwelling on his lack of home runs, the other aspects of his game and determination have more than made up for the instant run production.

The next few weeks will be very telling for Wright and the Mets.  David Wright will need to show that he is both healthy and mentally strong enough to take the Mets into the end of the first half in good contention.

He is leading NL third basemen on the All Star Ballot, and as fans that is something to be very proud of, as he is the NL Batting Average Leader and is second in the Majors behind Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners.

If the Mets are in this until the end, win or lose, Wright has more than made his case so far that he is the Captain of this team and management should make it official out of respect.