He's the face of the franchise. And all that face was doing after the Mets clinched the National League pennant on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field was smiling.

"This fan base has waited long enough for a team like this," David Wright said. "To be able to deliver for them, I can't be more proud."

Finally, after the disappointment of the 2006 NLCS, after the collapses of 2007 and 2008, after the lean years and this season's serious back injury, Wright is in the World Series.

"You grow up . . . I spent it seems like thousands of summer afternoons in my backyard in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Chesapeake, Virginia, pretending like I was playing in the World Series," Wright said. "Never thought I'd ever get to do that. And I think after that last out, you start to realize that the next game you're going to play is going to be a World Series game and the emotion, the excitement, the anticipation, it all just starts flowing out of you."

Wright was speaking on a raised platform outside the tiny visiting clubhouse after the Mets' 8-3 victory over the Cubs in Game 4 of the NLCS. This time there would be no NLCS Game 7 defeat, as occurred nine years ago when Wright was one of the youngsters on the Mets, not the 32-year-old team captain.

"My body feels like nine years," Wright said. "My mind doesn't quite feel like nine years. I think having gotten that close nine years ago, you understand how special this is. If you've never tasted this before, you maybe don't understand just what it takes to get to a World Series. I think that path and that road, I understand what this team has accomplished and how difficult that is. So I have a greater understanding and greater appreciation of this, having narrowly missed it and then, after that, taking the kind of steps back that we've taken. The bad, the ugly that we've gone through, and now to experience this makes it all worth it."

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Wright, who grew up a Mets fan, understands the place this team now holds in franchise history.

"You're talking about hopefully the '69 Mets, the '86 Mets," he said. "We've already matched the 2000 Mets. You're talking about a select group of New York Mets teams that this team will now be mentioned with. I can't tell you how excited I am for that, how proud I am of that. To be able to be part of this group and the history that this team is making -- incredible. I can't describe it."

Wright can be forgiven for omitting the 1973 team that lost in the World Series. As he spoke, drenched in champagne and his voice growing hoarse, he recalled the day in 2013 when he was named captain. He called it his "proudest moment."

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He has a new one. For now.

"This is my new proudest moment," Wright said. "After everything this organization's been through, I wouldn't trade this for the world."