Wright awakens, realizes dream
Mets third baseman headed to All-Star Game as replacement
NEW YORK -- He often sleeps in, and who could blame him? Normally, it doesn't cause such confusion. But when David Wright finally rose and grabbed his cell phone on this particular Friday morning, four missed phone calls and two voicemails were blinking back at him.
It was the boss -- something urgent.
"I thought that I was traded," Wright said.
Instead, Mets general manager Omar Minaya delivered some markedly better news. Less than a day after falling short in the All-Star Game Final Vote to Corey Hart of the Brewers, and roughly one week after falling short in the popular vote, Wright was named to the National League roster as a replacement for injured Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano.
"It seemed like I got quite a few second chances," Wright said.
He has NL manager and former Met Clint Hurdle to thank for that. Wright, who had made the All-Star Game as a starter in each of the previous two seasons, lost out to Chipper Jones in the initial fan voting for third basemen, then to Hart in the Final Vote contest to determine the last reserve on the roster.
But Soriano's injury created a need for one more player. Matt Holliday of the Rockies took Soriano's spot as a starting outfielder, before Hurdle tabbed Wright as a reserve.
"With the announcement of David Wright, that -- signed, sealed and delivered -- is my last act of business," Hurdle said. "Now we'll get to the more enjoyable parts of it. The decision-making process is challenging." And his near-miss gave Wright a new perspective on just what it means to be an All-Star.
"When you realize that you're not going to something that you want as badly as I wanted to participate in this All-Star Game," Wright said, "it makes you appreciate a lot more when you get that phone call."
He also called it "a hundred times more special" than usual, given the game's locale. Unless the Mets and Yankees meet in the World Series, Wright will play his final game at Yankee Stadium, in front of a New York crowd with a certain partiality to their hometown Mets.
"To be able to come up through this system, being a Mets fan as a kid, and to participate in the closing down of Yankee Stadium at the last All-Star Game, it makes it extremely special," Wright said. "It's something that I wanted pretty badly."
The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage that will also be available on XM Satellite Radio, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage.
Wright, unquestionably the face of the Mets, will represent them alongside teammate and fellow All-Star Billy Wagner. And if the rest of baseball seemed unsure he belonged, the Mets remain convinced. Wright is leading the team with 17 homers and 70 RBIs.
He and Wagner each made the team a year ago, along with shortstop Jose Reyes and center fielder Carlos Beltran. And though Beltran and Reyes will remain home this year in a rather tangible sign of the team's recent inconsistency, that much seems to be changing. The Mets, All-Stars aside, are heading toward the break on a roll.
"It's been an up-and-down week," Wright said, explaining his reaction to the Final Vote. "It's been great for the way the team's been playing, so I didn't really have anything to complain about. But after the vote, I was obviously somewhat disappointed."
Until, of course, he woke up.
"Glad I didn't make any plans," Wright said.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.