It’s David Wright Week at Citi Field, but so far that hasn’t included much of David Wright.
The Mets’ captain, an active player this homestand for the first time since early 2016 and the last time in his career, remained on the bench Thursday night in the Mets’ 4-1 win over the Braves. That’s three nights in a row that he was available but didn’t play, the circumstances not aligning just right for him to get a pinch-hit appearance.
After Jason Vargas’ seven shutout innings and pinch hitter Devin Mesoraco’s three-run home run in the seventh, a “We want David!” chant broke out. Still no Wright.
Friday, when the Mets host the Marlins, will bring another opportunity. Wright will start Saturday at third base alongside shortstop Jose Reyes.
That wait has yielded an unusual phenomenon: Some Mets players have been booed simply for not being David Wright. Laughs ensued.
“But you got to love it,” said Dominic Smith, heckled Tuesday when he pinch hit in the pitcher’s spot and was not the face of the franchise and a seven-time All-Star. “I walked into the dugout after and I was like, ‘Man, David, it’s going to be a rough week for guys.’ He’s like, ‘Why?’ I was like, ‘I got booed walking up to the plate. I heard some ‘We Want David Wright’ chants.”
The same was true for Kevin Plawecki, who homered Thursday but two days earlier stepped to the plate to boos. Plawecki, who perhaps is not the greatest position player in franchise history, turned to catcher Kurt Suzuki and said, “I don’t think I’m the guy they want right now.”
Todd Frazier, signed last offseason as Wright’s replacement, said the fans near third base have been razzing him all week because he is not the guy who spent 13 seasons at the position. It was all in good fun, Frazier said, until he made an error late in the Mets’ loss Tuesday and the crowd started to chant demands for Wright.
“The whole game. The whole game. I’m just like, ‘What do you want me to do?’ ‘Oh, we still love you. No hard feelings.’ I’m like, ‘All right.’ Then I make the error and it was hard feelings,” Frazier said, laughing.
“I kept telling him, ‘David, this is the last game I’m going out there. I’m not dealing with it anymore.’ He starts laughing and stuff. I said, ‘Here, take my glove and get your butt out there.’ We get a good laugh out of it, so it’s good.”
Assistant general manager John Ricco warned Tuesday that it was “unlikely” Wright would play against Atlanta. Because the Braves are competing for home-field advantage in the playoffs and because Wright is active largely ceremonially, the Mets wanted to pinch hit him only in a lopsided game.
“[Friday] will really open up the possibility of a lot more,” manager Mickey Callaway said.
The booed Mets said they want to see Wright on the field just as much as the fans do.
“Everybody is excited. We want to see D. Wright play,” Smith said. “It’s fun warming up and getting ready and seeing him in the cage next to me. Just seeing him smile and really take it all in and enjoy it — he’s like a little kid again out here just enjoying himself. This week is going to be a special week for all of us.”
Said Frazier: “I’m going to be on the top step watching everything.”