A long time ago they used to call NY Mets pitcher Tom Seaver “The Franchise,” meaning that he was the face of the organization. Seaver was everything a manager, the ownership, and the fans could want from a ballplayer: photogenic, charismatic, and a talented pitcher. He spoke eloquently and passionately about baseball, and he always represented the organization well. That is probably why I (along with so many other Mets fans) was crushed when he was traded.
Flash forward to 2012, and the Mets have now found their new face of the organization as they have offered David Wright a seven year, $122 million dollar extension to his contract. In doing so the Mets have made their most lucrative deal with a player ever (going beyond what they spent on Carlos Beltran). They have made it clear to Wright that he is now the second coming of “The Franchise.” It is up to him to meet the terms of all the expectations associated with that.
Over the years it was always said that Jose Reyes and Wright were the new blood of the Mets. It seemed like they were the Dynamic Duo of Flushing, and upon their shoulders rested the hopes and dreams of the team and the fans for a new championship. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t have a happy ending the way we envisioned. The team became disillusioned with Reyes, questioning his work ethic, even though fans continued to love him. When he left, many fans were scratching their heads and worried that Wright could be gone too.
The team has made an enormous commitment to Wright, and now he must return the favor. By bestowing the largest contract ever offered by the team on him, the organization is saying that he is their man. They are saying he is the anointed one, the one who will bring a championship back to Flushing. Now Wright must do everything in his power to honor this trust and return the favor.
I really like Wright and always have. He is not the greatest everyday player the Mets ever had (that is Beltran), but he is a very fine player with great skills and a wonderful attitude. His amiable personality has endeared him to fans, and it is clear that the Mets were willing to invest in him largely because he is willing to be the spokesperson for the team just as Tom Seaver always was.
David Wright is now “The Franchise.” He follows in the rather large footsteps of Met legend Tom Seaver. Yes, those are enormously big shoes to step into, but I believe in Wright and I think he is the man to do it. Now, he cannot do it alone, so the team must now sign R.A. Dickey, get a true closer, and some outfielder with power. There is much to be done before spring training, and now they must show the fans they are not just willing to do the Wright thing once. They need to make more moves to do right by their third baseman and the fans and compete in 2013.
Photo credit: AP