SEATTLE - The Mets' charter landed early enough Sunday evening for a few teammates to propose meeting for dinner. And it slowly dawned on David Wright that this gathering would be out of the ordinary.
"I had no idea it was going to be everybody," Wright said Monday. "We started walking over. I kind of looked behind, and there was more people coming. Then we sat down and more people started coming."
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Wright made his big-league debut exactly 10 years ago Monday, and to mark the occasion, Daniel Murphy planted the seed of what became an impromptu roast of the Mets' captain.
"That meant the world to me," Wright said. "They kind of surprised me."
Though a full decade has passed since his debut, Wright said his memories of the day remain vivid.
He recalled being summoned to manager John Stearns' office at Triple-A Norfolk and boarding a plane to LaGuardia.
The lasting images included the thrill he had when he ran onto the field at Shea Stadium for the first time as a big-leaguer, along with the butterflies that swirled when he saw his jersey hanging in his locker, when his name was announced on the stadium loudspeakers, when his image was plastered on the scoreboard and when he dug in for his first at-bat.
He batted seventh and went 0-for-4 in a 5-4 win over Montreal. "It was pretty special," he said. "So it was pretty vivid."
Veterans used to tell Wright to enjoy the ride because it would go fast. He often rolled his eyes, though time has proved those words to be true.
Manager Terry Collins marveled at Wright's work ethic, at the center of which rests a meticulous routine from which he never strays. "That's why he's a great player," Collins said. "And that's why he's going to play for a number of years."
As he reflected on his career, Wright singled out the playoff run in 2006 as the highlight of his tenure. It remains his only postseason appearance. "Then you regress, go through some years of some hard times," he said. "But it feels similar to where we were when I first got called up, kind of on the way up, so that gets me excited. Hopefully, we can kind of come full circle."
Wright said he considered his 10-year anniversary a milestone, though he didn't expect others to take the time to recognize it. Former teammates, executives and coaches reached out to say congrats.
One of the first text messages came from former Mets player and hitting coach Howard Johnson, a mentor to Wright early in his career. Johnson was on hand Monday in the opposing dugout as the Mariners' hitting coach.
"He fits on any team in baseball, but he's really good with the Mets," Johnson said. "He should be there probably his whole career. He's been the same guy. He's always been very humble, understanding the game and the role that he plays in the game."
For Wright, the impromptu celebration on Sunday night left a lasting impression. So many had turned out for the dinner that the restaurant cordoned off the tables. The Mets lingered well past business hours.
When it came time to pay, teammates reversed roles and footed the bill for The Captain.
Said Wright: "It was a really, really cool gesture."