To suggest David Wright made the day of a handful of young baseball fans on Sunday morning at Turner Field would be monumentally understating the moment.
As the Mets prepared to take batting practice before the series finale against the Atlanta Braves, and with the team on a seven-game losing streak, Wright stood on the field and started playing catch with children in the first few rows of seats by the visitors' dugout.
Five-year-old Mason, one of the participants, even was lucky enough to have Wright flip him an arm band as well after the game, which the Mets won despite Wright going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
An usher shouted over to Wright that he had never seen anything like that game of catch with the kids in his 12 years on the job.Courtesy of the family
Chipper Jones David Wright fan, Mason, wearing the arm band Wright gave him.
Wrote Mason's father in an email Monday night:
What a great experience for Mason yesterday!!! As a 5-year-old, who just adores the Braves, he had no clue the All-Star that he was playing catch with at the time. My wife and I were just amazed at what was happening! We didn't think the day could get any better than that until David threw his arm band into the stands after the game, and Mason got it! He hasn't wanted to take it off since. He even tried to sleep in it last night, but we wouldn't let him! He did wear it to his T-ball game tonight, though! If you get a chance, please let David know how much that 15 minutes meant to the kids. His fan base grew a little larger in the South over the weekend. All Mason normally talks about is Chipper Jones, and now if you ask him who his favorite player is, he says David Wright. ... Maybe we'll be lucky enough to have him as a Brave one day :)
Surprised to learn a video existed, Wright expressed concern it would be viewed as motivated by seeking publicity.
One Mets person watching it take place -- conditioned to the ways of the world today -- worried a child would miss a ball and be struck and Wright and the Mets might be sued.
Yet at a time when the Mets, and their fans, are beaten down by the prospect of a third straight losing season, the owners being sued for $1 billion and other assorted issues, it is moments like that which remind us what this game is all about.
In reality, it's no coincidence Wright was the one to perform such an act, since he remembers being the one in the stands. As a youngster growing up in Norfolk, Va. -- the home of the Mets' Triple-A affiliate for four decades -- Wright revered minor league players Benny Agbayani and Randy Milligan, the latter of whom as a scout eventually signed Wright as a Met. Wright would always want an autograph from his trips to the ballpark, even if the autograph of the day was RipTide, the Norfolk team's mascot.