David Wright did not want to take off his uniform after his final game for the Mets Saturday night at Citi Field.
Cliff Floyd, Wright’s former teammate, gets it. For Wright, an arduous task lies ahead: accepting his career is over after numerous injuries forced his retirement at 35.
“You want to give them the jersey because you were able to say I'm flat out done, I’m burnt,’’ said Floyd, who was Wright’s teammate from 2003-2006. “That’s the way we envision giving back our jersey. When you give it this way, that’s not the note or the way you want to go out.’’
Floyd, an analyst for the MLB Network, also had an injury-riddled career. "The love of the game is something, unless you’ve been on that field and went through the trials and tribulations, you have no idea,’’ he said. “When you’re done and the phone doesn’t ring and you don't have that camaraderie... it’s devastating. It is. It never gets easy. You don’t think about the 'after.' You don't think about what to do next. That hasn't hit him yet.’’
Wright has $27 million left on his contract, but Floyd said it isn’t about the money. "You're saying 'damn, I’m rich, but what's next?’ You alway want to say 'what if.' To this day--and I’m 45--I say I can definitely hit right now, knowing good and hell-well I can't. But that just the love of the game. "There will be nights when he’ll lie in bed and say 'My body really is this messed up, I can’t do this anymore. That’s going to last for a while.’’
Wright has not addressed what he will do next. Floyd hopes he stays in the sport. “You feel like you have so much knowledge, you want to drain yourself of it,’’ Floyd said. “My hope is he wants to get back in the game as soon as he gets his feet up under him. I know there's a lot of people who want to see his face out there.’’