It was only fitting. If David Wright was going to play his final game as a Met, Jose Reyes needed to be on his left at shortstop. Mickey Callaway decided that the two former Mets prospects who burst onto the scene together more than a decade ago should also hit in their same spots.
Saturday night, Jose Reyes led off and David Wright hit third for the final time in a major league game.
“He was really excited. When we told him he had the biggest smiles and this is a guy who smiles all the time,” the Mets manager said. “He’s excited. He deserves this.”
With Wright physically unable to continue next season, Saturday night was all about the memories. Wright will be unable to play in 2019 because of the series of back, neck and shoulder issues, but Reyes’ future is uncertain. He wants to keep playing, but he does not seem to be in the Mets’ plans.
Saturday night was a chance for Wright and Reyes and Mets fans to relive the excitement of their youth.
Back in 2004, when Wright made his major league debut, Reyes and Wright were seen as the dynamic duo, the homegrown heroes that would lead this franchise to glory.
It hasn’t exactly worked out that way. The Mets hit hard times financially, Reyes left as a free agent after the 2011 season and came back only after being cut loose by the Rockies, the first player to serve a suspension under MLB’s joint domestic violence policy.
“It’s a joy being around him, all of the players have and the coaching staff, we’re excited for them tonight,” Callaway said of Reyes. “Those two guys in the same lineup and same spot are used to being in at one time when they were kind of in their prime.”
While the Mets were unable to play tribute videos to Wright from former teammates on the Citi Field video board, because technically — for insurance reasons — Saturday could not officially be a retirement ceremony, a few actually made the trip back to watch Wright’s final game in person.
Michael Cuddyer, who was long a friend before he came to the Mets in 2015, made the trip from their native Virginia on his own to be here. Cliff Floyd, who made Wright carry his bags as a rookie in 2004, was on the field before the game.
“Number one, David’s a special person first and foremost. We’ve got a pretty special relationship that dates back to even before he was drafted. So I wanted to be here for that moment to support him,” Cuddyer said. “There’s going to be a lot of people here in his corner, but to have somebody here with a special tie to him back home. And for selfish reasons, I wanted to be here.”
The fans were not the only ones soaking in the atmosphere of Wright’s last game on Saturday. Steven Matz, the scheduled starter for the game, sat alone in the dugout before the game watching Wright take batting practice one last time. Owner Fred Wilpon made his way out to the batting cage to watch, as did Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and his son.
“It’s definitely emotional but he’s still here and we’re still having fun,” Jacob deGrom said before the game. “So I think after a day it’ll probably settle in that this will be the last time we’ll be hanging out with him in the clubhouse.”
FUTURE IS NOW
Back in July, Callaway gathered his younger players together and told them it was time to start thinking about their roles as leaders.