The Mets made a pair of moves in August of 2006 that fans celebrated. The club inked its two homegrown stars, David Wright and Jose Reyes, to major contract extensions. Wright and Reyes would be cornerstones of the future and fan favorites for years. That ended a little more than five years later.
Wright knew how the business of baseball could take away teammates and friends, but he hadn’t felt it cut so deeply as when the Mets didn’t re-sign Reyes after the 2011 season and he opted for a deal with the Marlins.
In a time of overwhelming disappointment this year, Wright – out for the season after fusion surgery for a herniated disc in his neck – did get a nice surprise when the Mets re-signed Reyes in June. Reyes was released by the Rockies after a domestic violence suspension.
“I had seen close friends earlier in my career – how tough that was on a relationship or personal level – but it was different with Jose because we sort of came up together,” Wright said Friday while thanking first responders from the FDNY’s Ladder 16 in Manhattan. “It was almost like we’d been through it all together and we wanted to stay together. Seeing Jose leave was a tough pill to swallow, there. No question about it.
“Though it was tough circumstances, having him back has been great. You can see it in his eyes that this is the place he wants to be.”
Wright’s visit at the fire station is how he annually marks the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Each year he goes to a firehouse to give his thanks. Firemen Raymond Murphy and Robert Curatolo of Ladder 16 were searching for the injured beneath Tower One and were killed when it collapsed, said fireman Rich Rattazzi, who’d been with them minutes before.
“I’m going to do this every year that I am invited back,” Wright said. “It’s a way to say thank you. It’s a way to show appreciation for men and women who risk their lives every day.”
Wright is hoping that he will be able to play in the same infield as Reyes next year. He’s been restricted from any rehab activities since mid-June neck surgery and eagerly awaits his three-month check-up. “It seems each week I am getting better and better. I’m getting more range-of-motion,” he said. “The pain is minimal. So I am optimistic for good news in a couple weeks.”
Wright kept an eye on Reyes through a post-Mets odyssey that saw him traded from Miami to Toronto and then to Colorado. And he sees a positive change today in Reyes, who has a .295/.338/.477 slash line with 25 runs in 35 games with the Mets.
“I wasn’t with him in Miami or Toronto or Colorado, but he just looks different,” Wright explained. “I watched him in those places on TV and there’s just a different look in his eye. Him being able to be here, to be home, to be with people he’s known since he was a teenager – it’s been big for him. It’s been big for us, too.”
“It’s like having a – I would say twin, but I’m much better-looking – brother,” Wright added. “There’s times we’ve gotten after each other. There’s times we’ve celebrated with each other. There’s times where we made mistakes. But it always comes back to being one of the closest relationships I have in baseball. I’m glad we get a chance to have a Part Two.”