David Wright admits that his choice to become a Mets fan was due mostly to the fact he grew up in Norfolk, Va., where their minor-league team played. Still, he has a deep feeling for the franchise and he has enough of a feeling for club history to really cherish where he stands in it now, having gone deep last night.
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With a two-run home run in the sixth inning, he became the club's all-time leader in runs batted in. He has 735, two ahead of Darryl Strawberry. The shot to left-centerfield, against practically unhittable Mark Buehrle, also gave the Mets the lead on their way to a 5-1 win over the Marlins at Citi Field.
No one could appreciate a Mets record, or a Mets win quite the same way Wright could.
He knows recent Mets history, too, and he realizes how hard it had been to knock a ball out of Citi Field before the fences were moved in this season. Last night's blast probably would have been a double last season. It is all the more reason why Wright himself does not want to be knocked out of the home park. He does not want to be an expatriate like his friend Jose Reyes (1-for-4), who was booed more vigorously each time he came to bat.
"I've got a tremendous amount of pride when I put that uniform on every day," Wright said. "We've had some rough times, obviously, these last few years, but I'm really, really fortunate to be able to do this for a living, for this organization that drafted me, developed me and allowed me to play here for a number of years now."
Strawberry, on the phone with SNY, said, "David is one of the top people to come along in baseball. He goes out and never complains. I'm very proud of David."
Manager Terry Collins said of Wright's feat, "To come to one of the great franchises and all of a sudden, you've got the RBI record, that's something special."
Wright chose to see it the way he sees everything, as a sign that things are going to get better, at least for the next day or so. "No question, it means a hell of a lot more to be able to take the lead late in the game that way," he said, having helped nail down a win for R.A. Dickey (3-1), who, like Johan Santana, showed that an awful outing in Atlanta last week was an aberration.
But this night was all about the fellow who turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead.
"I can't really put myself in his shoes because I can't fathom what it's like to be with some of the greats that he's talked about with, Darryl Strawberry and others," Dickey said. "I couldn't be more proud of a teammate. He has persevered and he's worked his butt off and he's weathered some storms. It's just a testament to his fortitude and that's fun to watch as a teammate."
Josh Thole, who has hit in eight straight and been on base in all 16 games he has played, said of his fellow career Met, "This guy lives and dies with this organization. To be part of this family, this great organization, is pretty awesome."
After Mike Baxter added a two-run double, after the Mets bullpen closed it out, Wright was moved by the happiness in the eyes of security guards and ushers who have watched his whole career.
He wants to have a legacy of winning like Strawberry's '86 Mets or the 2000 Mets of Mike Piazza (third on the RBI list). Maybe that will come someday. This game, though, was made of the Wright stuff.
"Hopefully," he said, "there's a lot more to come."