David Wright does everything right. He hits home runs, he makes those diving stops, he donates a lot of money, and he is a great guy. So when the Mets fell apart at the end of 2007, what do you think he did? Do you think he went and did commercials and other advertisements? No, maybe a little, but not as much as others do. Why? Because he wants to win.
“My main focus of the off-season was to get into the best shape possible so that individually, I could go put my best effort into 2008,” said Wright. “A lot of that had to do with going away with some of the promotion and endorsement stuff, so I feel good about the shape that I come into camp in, and I want to make sure that what happened last year is a one-time thing, it doesn’t happen again.
“This year coming into Spring Training, we all have positive energy. Especially with what happened at the end of last year, we get a chance to focus on the additions to the team, Johan Santana, Brian Schneider, Ryan Church, these guys rather than the negatives of what happened last year.”
Wright also knows that the hard work will pay off. He worked hard in the off-season, and he was rewarded with a nice package around the time of Super Bowl XLII, when the Mets traded for Johan Santana without getting rid of too many talented prospects. Many thought that this trade was a steal.
“We did lose some good minor leaguers, but when you get in return a guy that is one of the best pitchers in baseball, who is still relatively young, I think it was a great trade for us,” explained Wright. “What he does on the field, the numbers speak for itself, but what he does in the clubhouse, he is a great leader and is going to be one of the great leaders on this team for years to come.”
I also had a chance to talk to Wright about kids and baseball. He told me his opinion for kids that play baseball:
“Just have fun, that is the most important advice that I could give any young player. Too many young players take the game too seriously. Just enjoy it. That is the way I try to go out there and approach every game. Learn teamwork. It’s a team game and they can learn valuable teamwork lessons. Getting a chance to play baseball for a living, I was very fortunate to be in that position. Just go out there, smile, have fun, and enjoy it.
David and Norfolk
David Wright grew up in Virginia near the Mets AAA affiliate, the Norfolk Tides. He was also able to play there in AAA, but one day he received the news that the Mets AAA affiliate was getting moved to New Orleans. I asked him whether he was sad that the Mets AAA moved away.
“Well, I got a chance to play in front of my family and my friends. But selfishly, I’m glad I got that opportunity, but it’s sad to see the team go.”
I also asked him about the first time he was called up to the big leagues, when he was with AAA Norfolk. I asked him who he called first and how it turned out
“My parents were obviously my first call. I was called up in Norfolk, where I lived. Getting a chance to call my parents was very exciting and it was like a dream come true, but when you think about it, I was just getting started. You spend all of your life getting to the big leagues, and once you get to the big leagues, it’s a whole ‘nother chapter. You’re just starting back from square one.”
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“Last year we learned a hard lesson that we can’t take anyone for granted. The Nationals and Marlins the last two weeks of the season beat up on us pretty good, so I don’t think there is necessarily one team that I would say concerns me more than others. You have Philadelphia, who won the division last year, Atlanta, who is always a perennial powerhouse, so there’s not one team that I’m scared of, there’s not one team I would say I’m nervous about because I’m nervous about all of them. You have to take the game very seriously.”