David Wright Not Doing the Wright Stuff

Phil HoopsCorrespondent ISeptember 27, 2009

PHOENIX - AUGUST 11:  David Wright #5 of the New York Mets watches from the dugout during the major league baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 11, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Over the past five seasons, David Wright has emerged as the face of the New York Mets franchise and assumed the role of unofficial “captain.”

For the most part he has filled this role rather nicely and has always brought a positive vibe to the team.

Over his five year tenure with the Mets, Wright has been through the highs and lows. What has always impressed me was regardless of how the team was performing overall, he always brought his “A game.” This held up true until the previous two weeks or so.

Since then, David has become a different player. For starters, he no longer looks energized to play baseball, which is very uncharacteristic of him. His performance on the field is also indicative of this. Since returning from the disabled list on September 1st he has only hit .220, which has caused his average to drop nearly 20 points (.324 to .306) and is in danger of finishing with a sub-.300 average for the first time in his career.

I am sympathetic with his struggles because this has been a particularly disappointing season considering all of the fluke injuries. On top of that Wright went through a traumatic experience in mid-August when he was concussed by a fastball to the head.

What is unacceptable is the the lack of hustle that he has shown recently. In the past two games Wright’s play on the field has been inexcusable. Looking solely at the box score it could be assumed that I am referring to the seven punch outs in ten at-bats, however I am not.

I am referring to the sluggish and downright careless play that has become blatantly obvious during the final road trip of the 2009 season.

First, during last night’s game, Wright chose not to run on a ball that was dropped by Florida catcher Ronny Paulino.

Luckily, Brian Schneider’s head was in the game and he was able to score what would become an important run in the team’s 6-5 victory before Wright was tagged out. At first the issue didn’t concern me as players, like any human being make bone-headed moves at times.

Unfortunately during tonight’s game, Wright’s lack of motivation became apparent and in this instance cost the Mets a run when he choose not to run at full speed while rounding third base, which enabled the Marlins to tag Jeff Francoeur out at second base before the run could score.

This is disturbing because through all the heartbreak, David Wright was one guy you could always count on to give it his all, and now even that is up in the air. The team’s fans deserve better than this.

While I can understand Jerry Manuel giving Wright a reprieve yesterday and not pulling him from the game, pulling him from today’s game should have been a no-brainer. Instead, Wright remained in the game for all nine innings.

Decisions like these promote the sense that giving up and not playing hard is acceptable. What kind of message does this send to players like Nick Evans, who was regulated to watching the game from the bench while a player with questionable effort is allowed to play?

Now I am not yet ready to give up Wright because he has done a lot of good for this franchise over the past half decade, but a conversation certainly needs to take place between the manager and player and it must be reiterated that this kind of attitude will not be tolerated.

At the very least Wright should be given the day off tomorrow to collect his thoughts and then go from there. Under no circumstances should Wright be given so-called “superstar treatment” and be allowed to let this situation go away.

What do you, the Mets fans, think? Am I being too hard on Mr. Wright?


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