Would fans give David Wright a standing ovation? Chant his name? Throw roses at his feet?
"We're not allowed to throw flowers on the field here," Terry Collins said before Friday night's game when asked what kind of reception Wright would receive in his return to Citi Field. "But he will get an extremely great reception."
No fans attempted to shower Wright with bouquets at third base, but he did receive a standing ovation as he walked to the plate in the first inning.
"It kind of got me off my game a little bit," said Wright, who played at Citi Field for the first time since April 14. "I had to step out and just try to focus on the task at hand because I was overwhelmed with the support."
Wright, 32, missed nearly 41/2 months after he initially was placed on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring and then was diagnosed with spinal stenosis.
In the Mets' 6-4, 10-inning loss to the Red Sox Friday night, he finally was back in Flushing, batting cleanup (2-for-5 with a run scored) and playing third base. He was tested only once, on a routine ground ball in the sixth.
"You wake up on those bad days [during rehab] and mentally, it kind of defeats you a little bit that day," Wright said. "But you persevere through it, you push through it, and it's all worth it once you get to this point and you get the chance to join this team during this race and play in front of these fans."
After singling up the middle in the fifth, Wright tested his back on the basepaths. Michael Cuddyer singled to right and the ball went under the glove of Rusney Castillo. Wright hustled around the bases and slid home safely as Blake Swihart couldn't handle the throw, giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.
"That's a long way," Wright said with a smile. "That's a lot longer than I remember."
It also may be tough for him to remember packed houses and playoff-like atmospheres. This series for Wright, who Collins said might get the day off Saturday, represents his first meaningful late-August home games since 2008. That's part of the reason why Wright said that, for him, this game felt like Opening Day.
"I haven't experienced this much since this place opened," Wright said. "It's everything I expected it would be. This place was rocking.
"That's something that these fans deserve, the type of season that we're having. They deserve to root for an exciting team like this. I'm glad we can give it to them and hopefully there's a lot more."