David Wright, using baseball parlance, kept describing his slump by saying, "I'm not seeing it well up there." There is nothing wrong with his hearing, though, and he couldn't miss the unmistakable sound of booing.
When a baseball player gets the dreaded "golden sombrero," a figure of speech for striking out four times in a game, fans don't throw actual sombreros the way hockey fans toss hats on the ice for a hat trick. Instead, they pour down catcalls and they fell squarely on Wright after he struck out, swinging, in the ninth to cap a night in which he had struck out in the first, third and sixth innings.
"I'm struggling, that's the obvious answer. That's compounded with the offense struggling. We're scuffling as a team," he said after the Mets' 6-2 loss to the Rockies at Citi Field and Wright extended his slide to 2-for-33 over his past nine games.
He is a symbol of the dog days drought, and the cause of at least part of it - the way he had been the trademark and source of their surge in June. It is not inconceivable that he is trying to carry more than his share of responsibility for an offense that has all but disappeared. "When you're scuffling and the team is scuffling, you almost compound the problems sometimes," he said. "But you keep working, keep preparing the way you normally would.
"You can't start drastically changing things because you've had a rough couple of weeks. You just stay at it, you try to keep a somewhat even keel, a level head and keep fighting," he said. "It's not the first slump I've been in and it's certainly not going to be the last. You hope they're not this prolonged and drawn out."
Jerry Manuel said, "It is very puzzling to us as well and I'm sure he's very frustrated by what he's going through. Tomorrow possibly we'll give him a day off and see if we can refresh him and regroup and go from there."
The manager and the All-Star third baseman both heard it, loud and clear, from a crowd of 30,554. It still is a rarity in Wright's Mets career. "I've heard it enough to know that it happens," he said. "They're obviously frustrated just as we are. I'm going to go out there and do everything I can to help this team win, and the fans have every right to voice their opinion."
Even on this night, there was one thing on which the player and the public could agree on completely. Wright said what most of those fans were feeling: "I'm not having much fun right now."