Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Wright thrilled, despite All-Star Game defeat
By Kieran Darcy
NEW YORK -- His team suffered a three-hit shutout in Tuesday's All-Star Game at Citi Field, but it was still a dream come true for David Wright.
Wright heard thunderous applause from the hometown fans when he was introduced as the National League's starting third baseman and cleanup hitter, and more of the same prior to each of his three at-bats.
David Wright finished 1-for-3 in Tuesday's All-Star Game.
"To have that kind of ovation when your name’s called -- that’s every kid’s dream playing Little League, is hearing your name called and the crowd going wild," Wright said. "That’s really special, and I can’t thank these fans enough."
Wright grounded out to third in his first two plate appearances, against Chris Sale in the second inning and Felix Hernandez in the fourth. But National League manager Bruce Bochy left Wright in longer than any of his other eight starting position players.
That enabled Wright to get one more at-bat, in the bottom of the seventh. Facing hard-throwing reliever Greg Holland, Wright fell behind 0-2, but then lined a 96 mph fastball into left field for a clean single.
"I’m very appreciative that he gave me the opportunity to play that long when all the other starters were basically out," Wright said. "I’m glad I didn’t get a goose egg, that’s for sure."
There was more buzz about Wright's teammate, young phenom Matt Harvey, leading up to the game. And the enduring memory from this night will be the ovation Mariano Rivera received, in his final All-Star appearance.
But this was a momentous night for Wright, too. Not only was he playing at home, but he was playing in his seventh All-Star Game for the Mets, the most in franchise history. Tom Seaver, Darryl Strawberry and Mike Piazza all represented the Mets six times.
"I was more nervous today than I have been in previous All-Star Games," Wright said. "Just because you feel like you wanna go out there and try extra hard for the fans. And sometimes that kind of works against you. I definitely had some butterflies."
He also had some nervous moments earlier in the day, when he pulled Rivera aside during the All-Star red carpet parade in midtown Manhattan.
"I don’t feel intimidated too often, and it’s intimidating talking to Mo -- I kind of had to collect myself, cause I was stuttering a little bit," Wright said. "I just never really had an opportunity to speak to him at length. I just wanted to tell him that I think he’s an unbelievable ambassador of the game.
"Every young baseball player should try to follow in those footsteps, because he’s a remarkable role model, and somebody that I look up to."
Not everything went quite the way Wright wanted it to the past couple of days. He didn't make it out of the first round in Monday's Home Run Derby, and his team lost on Tuesday. But Wright was heading home Tuesday night a happy man.
"I think it lived up to the expectations, and surpassed my expectations," Wright said. "It’s been a whirlwind 48 hours, but I think tomorrow I’ll be able to sleep in, kind of think about the last two days, and probably a big smile will come across my face, because it was a lot of fun."