By Rich Coutinho
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David Wright passed Darryl Strawberry on the Mets’ all-time RBI list Wednesday night, and I could safely say I’ve seen most of those run-scoring hits.
With last night’s two-run homer, Wright became only the second active player to lead his team in RBIs (Todd Helton is the other one). But more than that, he is the face of this franchise in every way. So many players today want to be famous — or popular — but all Wright wants to be is a baseball player.
And quite frankly, he’s one of the best I’ve ever seen in Flushing.
He just does his job day in and day out, on the field and off the field. He has three home runs this season and each has given the Mets the lead in games they would go on to win. He has provided a tremendous amount of leadership in a clubhouse that has young middle infielders like Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy playing key roles in the lineup.
Personal accomplishments don’t mean much to Wright. His goal is to ride through the Canyons of Heroes someday as a New York Met.
“Just to be mentioned in the same breath with great Mets like Darryl Strawberry and Mike Piazza is very humbling,” said Wright. “But what I really want is a championship. I want to know what he feels like to get a ring, and quite frankly I think about it every day.”
It’s a funny thing about leadership. We all think it is the loudest voice in the room, the guy who turns over the buffet table, or even the guy that throws a teammate under the bus. Wright is none of those things. He leads by example. And if he needs to bring something to a player’s attention, he doesn’t do it with the media around for effect. When people ask me what kind of leader Wright is, I always simply say that he is the best kind, one that understands there is only one way to lead — by example.
You do it by showing up before anyone else even though you don’t have to. You do it by taking extra batting practice even if you don’t have to. You do it by playing with a fractured pinkie even though you don’t have to. You do not do it by showing teammates up or jogging to first in a lopsided game.
That is why David Wright is the face of this franchise.
And that is why I have always said Wright is part of the solution, not part of the problem. Hopefully he will continue to be “the guy” around here until he retires from the game. As strange as it was to see Jose Reyes in a visitor’s uniform, it would seem sacrilegious to see Wright in anything but the Mets’ orange and blue.
And 10 years or so from now, I suspect we might see Wright’s No. 5 alongside the numbers of both Mike Piazza and Darryl Strawberry on the wall in left at Citi Field.
Who else comes to mind when you think of Wright’s leadership? Sound off in the comments below!