Tuesday, October 10, 2006
David Wright is the new Derek Jeter
And I really don't know how to feel.
I started liking David Wright in 2003. He was a third baseman for the St. Lucie Mets, and put up solid power numbers in the pitching-heavy Florida State League (.270/.369/.459, 15 homers). That season in the major leagues was full of dissapointment for the Mets; they spent the offseason diddling around with an aging Tom Glavine. I spent all offseason hating this move, not only because Glavine was an old guy and our team was not anywhere near competitive yet, but because he was Tom Glavine. I loathed Tom Glavine, Atlanta Brave legend, who had mastered getting the outside corner (or as I called it for many a year, the Brave corner), and had made a mockery of my teams chances for years. We even signed Mike Glavine, and after we realized we were awful this year, let Mike Glavine play Major League Baseball. Mike Glavine. We had let my favorite player, Edgardo Alfonzo, walk; even though he was younger and cheaper than Glavine, so we could court this geezer by letting his untalented chump brother play Major League Baseball.
That opening day, a very memorable one to me, Tom Glavine got his asshole raped by the Chicago Cubs, 15-2. The loss set the tone for an entire season of depression; it's 66-95 finishing record was the worst record I have ever seen in my ten years as a Mets fan.
I took solace where I could find it, and I found it in our young third baseman. Not Ty Wigginton. I started scouring the minor leagues. Everyone knew about Jose Reyes and Scott Kazmir (it still hurts to imagine he could be in this series right now, fuck you Victor Zambrano), but very few people were picking up on David Wright. He got a little lost in the shuffle, as most of my favorite players tend to do.
It's kind of weird having to share David with America now that he's gotten famous. I feel like an older brother who keeps having the younger imitate everything he does; flattered, but annoyed. Now all of the sudden we're less than 48 hours from having Joe Buck and Tim McCarver orally stimulate him for the better part of a week, and thats not even counting the World Series (if he makes it), I'd like to make things straight to the media.
1) David Wright is not a good defensive player at this point of time. Stop saying he is.
2) Nobody really cares that he went to Hickory High School. Nobody cares that his dad was a firefighter. This is fan girl stuff. Let it remain on the internet where it belongs.
3) If you repeat that he likes 24 more than three times over the course of the NLCS, I will murder both of you with my bare hands if I have to stalk you out in your nursing home. We get it, you're on FOX. Go fuck yourselves.
4) David Wright was not as good as Garrett Atkins this year offensively, he had a poor second half.
None of this will matter to anyone if he wins a ring, and this makes me sad. I will obviously continue to root on my favorite team, but I'm concerned that David will get lost in Jeter-perbole, where he becomes the leader and the clutchiest mcclutch that ever clutched. He never makes an error ever; the error was the balls. When we do this, America, we lose focus on how good a player he is. We lose focus on the things that he is good at. Derek Jeter is a really great player, he's a good defender (finally), he has a great contact bat, he can steal a base, he's everything you'd ever want in a ballplayer other than pure power. For years, he was all of these things except the great defender. The problem is, he wasn't a superstar. He wasn't going to knock 40 homers and 130 RBI's. Because we couldn't play this angle, and because he was so gosh-darned handsome, we ended up talking up intangibles and clutchety and how great his glove was and other ways he's more important than anyone.
It's weird what three years will do to you. I got out of high school, eventually. Then I ended up spending most of the next two years longing to get out of my hometown before eventually ending up staying put. Alfonzo is back with the Mets--in Triple A--after being released by two seperate teams this year and essentially being a dead contract. Tom Glavine is the game one starter, and only consistently reliable pitcher, for the team with the best chance to make the World Series in baseball. Scott Kazmir is a Devil Ray, Jose Reyes is the best shortstop in the National League and probably the best leadoff man as well after being pushed off the position by Kaz Matsui. I hope Mike Glavine is at home having some wine with his kids. I really do hope.
And David Wright? He's just a really good third baseman who plays for a great team. And I am rooting for him to become the man I most loathed as a teenager, to lead a team that includes, in a key role, the man I most loathed for most of the last three years, to the World Series.
Life is weird like that.