The Captain

Mets 1, Marlins 2. That brings the losing streak to four games, but our pitchers are just getting warmed up. Hopefully the bats will follow.

Today I wrote about David Wright, the Captain, who has had a bad bout with spinal stenosis, which limits his ability to play regularly. But David is an original Met. The team signed him out of high school, brought him up through the minors, and he’s been our starting third baseman since 2004, so he’s earned some deep loyalty from the team and the fans. He became the Captain in 2013, following after Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, John Franco, and, unofficially, Mike Piazza.

I love David Wright. He’s a gentleman on and off the field, a team leader. He’s one of my favorite all-time Mets, so here’s a poem for him. May he play for many more years.


 

The Captain’s Bad Back

 

The whole stadium started to groan

when they saw the line drive toward third,

where Wright waited, but the crowd hushed

as he leapt ten feet and smack! the ball went

into his glove. Then a volley of applause

for the team captain, David Wright,

who spent months that summer in traction,

his busted back that kept him from scooping

ground balls and swinging hard. But when

he returned, his long throws to first got loopy,

his swing more compact, but when he leapt,

my God, it was grace in action, instant reflex,

speed that’s incalculable. But his stenosis

is a slow narrowing of the spinal column

that’ll never go away, that can flare up

in an instant. It gets worse with age,

and age is not kind to ballplayers.

Every night, after nine hard innings

leading the team, his back stiffens

as he sleeps. Every morning he stretches

to loosen up, and before every game

he shows up five hours early to work out,

just to make sure he can play that day,

ready for what might be one last game.

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