The Burden of Being David Wright

It's a bit soon to be talking about legacies

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    While the Dodgers were in Queens this week their general manager was making waves back home in a radio interview. Ned Colletti reacted to the team's recent poor play by ripping outfielder Matt Kemp for being overly satisfied with himself because he landed a big-money contract. It was poor form on two fronts; Colletti should never air such thoughts in the media and Kemp was hardly the biggest problem on a team that couldn't do anything right.

    Omar Minaya has never nailed David Wright to the cross like that, but it sometimes seems that few people around New York would mind if he did. Wright got booed regularly during the homestand, a fact that boggles the mind since it was the first homestand in a very long time without any reason for fans to be in a bad mood. His bat came alive in the last couple of games and the boos subsided, but there was plenty of evidence that the city has a funny relationship with the Mets' best player.

    That relationship came up again while perusing Joel Sherman's latest contribution to the New York Post. Sherman muses about the fact that the Mets have never had a superstar player who spent his entire career in Flushing. He writes that it looked like Wright might be that player until his power disappeared and the boos started raining down on him.

    That's silly. Joe DiMaggio got booed at Yankee Stadium, Mike Schmidt got booed in Philly and dozens of other players who were stars for one teams got the same treatment. Wright will probably get booed again before his career is over, that doesn't mean he won't wind up being the best player to spend his entire career with the Mets. 

    It's such a picayune distinction to make anyway. No, the Mets have never had a, to borrow Sherman's phrase, soup-to-nuts player. Is there anyone who doesn't consider Tom Seaver to be both one of the greatest players of all time and the finest player ever to wear a Mets uniform, though? Seaver went elsewhere which is too bad but it doesn't make the Mets some kind of pathetic little also-ran in the historical record.

    What's even sillier is that Sherman places the burden for the lack of such a player on Wright and not on the team. He writes about the "historic weight" that is on Wright's shoulders and how the Mets need him to not only be a good player but be the team's own version of George Brett or Derek Jeter. They don't. They just need him to be the best David Wright he can be and then worry about the years to come when they come.

    There's a terrible habit among fans, media and the occasional general manager of placing the fortune or failure of an entire team on the back of the best or most recognizable player. That's neither a fair nor an accurate representation of the effect one man can have on a baseball team.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.