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SportsColumnistsMark Herrmann

David Wright should be allowed to decide on his future

Mets' David Wright looks on from the dugout

Mets' David Wright looks on from the dugout against the Angels at Citi Field on May 21, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

It was beyond poetic justice. It was sheer poetry that the one brief time in the past few years that David Wright was physically able to play baseball, he got to play in the World Series.

Nobody deserved to wear a Mets uniform in the Fall Classic more than Wright, who always has been keenly proud of those colors, even when they were not fashionable. If fate gave him a reward by allowing him to be healthy late in the 2015 season, then fate ought to get a tip of the cap.

Just being in the postseason and hitting the first World Series home run at Citi Field were so enjoyable for him that he wants to do everything he can to try to get there again, pain and the odds be damned. On Thursday, during a news conference at which he had his right arm in a sling, he said he will try to keep playing. And he deserves that choice, too.

Wright has earned the right to go out on his terms. Even though he has played only 75 regular-season games since the end of 2014, even though he was two days removed from rotator cuff surgery to relieve the scorching pain in his shoulder so he can focus on the chronic pain in his back, he merits the privilege of giving it a shot.

“I still feel like I have something to give. There’s still that passion, that fire in me that says, ‘OK, let’s feel sorry for yourself for a day or so, then let’s get right back at it. Let’s get right back on the horse,’ ” he said.

He understands that there are legitimate questions about how much he has left at 34. “There’s only one way to find that out,’’ he said, “and that’s to get back on the field.”

That is his call, regardless of whether anybody wants to call him crazy. He is guaranteed $47 million over the next three years, no matter what. He has paid enough dues to decide if he should put the uniform on again.

Wright is part of a direct line in Mets lineage. He played with Mike Piazza, who played with John Franco, who played with Darryl Strawberry, who made the Mets of the 1980s a compelling force — especially to the young David Wright growing up in Virginia, near the franchise’s Triple-A affiliate.

He joined the Mets on July 21, 2004, which seems like a lifetime ago, especially when you consider his debut was against the since-departed Montreal Expos. But it seems like only a blink of an eye to him. In fact, he said Thursday, veteran players back then told him, “Don’t blink, because it goes fast.”

Since that debut, he single-handedly turned the Mets’ third-base job from a revolving-door punch line into the franchise’s most stable position.

He endured some bad seasons. What’s more, he stood at his locker and explained those bad times, day after day. It was a little funny, a little sad that he said he had to introduce himself to many current Mets on Thursday. They can learn a lot from him, such as not to blink.

He can tell them that if they ever get to the World Series, they should relish it, as he did. “I had so much fun on the baseball field when I was healthy, I want to experience that again, one, two times more, before it’s all said and done,” he said.

Part of the deal is that he knows the Mets can’t sit and wait for him. They probably will shop for a third baseman. If either the team tells him to switch positions or his body tells him it is time to quit, so be it.

“I think,” he said, “when the time does come to say I’ve given everything that I have, then I will be able to put my head on the pillow at night and be able to sleep just fine.”

Until then, he will be what he always has wanted to be: a ballplayer and a Met. He will let us know when his time is up. He has earned that right.


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