Monday, May 16, 2011

What the Fans Don't Know ...

David Wright played with a stress fracture.
For the last couple weeks, David Wright has been vilified by New York Mets fans and radio announcers. As his batting average plummeted the cries grew ever louder for the team to get rid of the third baseman. Mets fans know changes are coming to team. And many made their position clear.

Everyone figures Carlos Beltran, the oft-injured outfielder with an expiring contract, will be traded to a contender. What happens to shortstop Jose Reyes is up for debate. He'll demand big money as a free agent and it's unclear if the Mets and Sandy Alderson, the small-ball G.M., will want to pay his asking price.

And that brings us to Wright. An all-star player who sometimes has fielding lapses, Wright came up through the Mets farm system and was an instant fan favorite. But being the star on a team that had two spectacular September collapses and is now fighting to be mediocre has dimmed his star power.

It's an odd rule of sports that the best players on a bad team become lightning rods for the wrath of the paying public. Wright has been dealing with this syndrome for a season or two now. He started to strike out more often. And then his slump began.

Fans who had backed Wright turned on him. And the debate raged on the airwaves. Some cooler heads said they wanted the team to keep both Reyes and Wright. Why not build a team around a young, solid left side of the infield?

Most of the debate surrounding Wright's slump turns out to have been short of a key fact: Turns out he has a stress fracture in his back. Wright hurt his back making a diving tag at third. He played through the pain.

So it turns out the whipping boy du jour is really a gritty player who would endure a painful injury to help his team try to battle back to .500. That's the kind of player I want on my team.

Knowing the way fans act and react, I think if Wright had sat out when he was first injured they would have said he wasn't tough enough. Sometimes, players lose no matter how they act.

No comments:

Post a Comment - MLB