David Wright, who spent his entire 14-year career with the Mets and currently works as a special advisor in the front office, is itching to see more home runs at Citi Field this summer.
Speaking at Daniel Carter Beard Junior High School 189Q in Queens on Tuesday afternoon, Wright lobbied for more Mets homers to benefit the Citi Community Home Runs program, through which each Mets long ball at home results in a donation from Citi of 20,000 meals to No Kid Hungry.
Since 2016, the program has helped No Kid Hungry provide over 6 million meals to students of families in need. Home Run Derby champion Pete Alonso has accounted for 300,000 meals based on the 15 home runs he’s hit at home (he’s hit 33 overall), and Jeff McNeil has accounted for 60,000 meals and entered Tuesday leading the majors with a .339 batting average.
“When I talked about some of the bright spots, we have a legitimate threat, a guy to win the home run crown, and we have a legitimate threat for a guy to win the batting title,” Wright said. “When you’re talking about guys who have very little experience who are putting up those types of offensive numbers, pretty good pieces to build around and certainly reason for optimism, not only in the future but in the very near future.”
There’s been little optimism surrounding the Mets lately, especially after a roster overhaul by first-year general manager Brodie Van Wagenen has yielded few positive results. Wright recognized that the season has not gone as planned.
“For me, it’s obviously been, up to this point, a disappointing season,” he said. “There have certainly been some bright spots, but overall, I think when you put together a roster the way Brodie and the front office has, there’s, I’m sure, a lot of blame to go around, and Brodie’s taking his fair share.”
Wright, who played games and asked trivia questions to the roughly 100 students in attendance, said any trade decisions coming before the July 31 deadline are “above my pay grade,” but he’s confident there are pieces to build around in Alonso and McNeil.
“As you can see with Pete this year, the knock on him was that his defense was below average, and he worked his tail off this offseason to not just become a good defender, but a good all-around hitter, which you’re seeing,” said Wright, who added that the first baseman with “crazy power” has impressed on a nightly basis. “And McNeil the same way. Just the work ethic that those two have.
“Those are two guys that could certainly be cornerstones of this franchise.”
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