After a season that saw the New York Mets miss out on the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year, third baseman David Wright got the baseball juices flowing for next season by conducting a clinic at Chelsea Piers Saturday afternoon.
Sponsored by Pirate’s Booty Snacks, the event featured the presentation of “Do Wright” Awards to four children from the After-School All-Stars (ASAS) New York Program, who were selected to participate in the clinic based on excellence in academics, athletics and community service.
ASAS provides free comprehensive after-school programs to nearly 80,000 children on over 450 school sites in thirteen different cities from New York City to Hawai'i.
The programs incorporate academic support, enrichment opportunities and health & fitness activities in concerted efforts to address America’s high school dropout, youth obesity and student dis-empowerment crises.
Ranging in age from 11-12 years-old, the students honored by the Mets five-time All-Star attend I.S. 192 The Linden (Malik Ba, Jonathan Jovin) and MS 217 Robert A. Van Wyck School (Christian Marinez, Nikolas Vasquez) in Queens.
In addition to athletic participation, the enterprising young men were noted for their continuing work on learning projects. The themes included preserving the environment, making healthy diet decisions and serving the community by providing much-needed clothes and nutritious meals to homeless people.
The afternoon’s festivities culminated with Wright teaching the four award recipients, as well as over fifty children from the New York metropolitan area, the baseball fundamentals: fielding, hitting, throwing and how to stay in shape and eat right.
“Anytime I get a chance to talk to young kids, it’s about hard work”, Wright said when asked about the most important messages he wanted to impart to his young pupils.
“Not just baseball, but school, whatever that these kids have a desire to do when they get older; try to be the best at it.”
The 28-year-old Wright, a native of Chesapeake, Virginia, also briefly shared how his upbringing helped translate a solid work ethic in the classroom into what has been, thus far, a successful baseball career.
“I was fortunate where I had parents that pushed me growing up to make good grades, that helped me study, helped me do my homework”, Wright continued.
“I always challenged myself to try to make A’s, to try to make the best grades that I possibly could, and I think a lot of that translated on to the baseball field where it taught me a lot of life lessons about hard work and being dedicated to something.”
“That’s the kind of message that I want to relay to these kids”, Wright added. “You don’t want to be average; you don’t want to be a follower. You want to be a leader and go out there and do what you want to do and make sure you accomplish it.”
Speaking of leadership, among the myriad of topics he addressed during his time with the media, Wright tackled the issue of his responsibility to be more of a team leader as the Mets enter a brave, new world going into the 2011 season.
“I think each year you kind of mature more into that kind of role”, Wright said. “I think this team; we need more from the guys that have been here for a while and that’s including me.
I plan on this year just kind of getting into that role a little bit more just like last year and the year before.”
“We do need more leadership in the clubhouse”, Wright added. “And I do need to be part of that solution as well.”