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Thank you, Captain

Oh captain, my captain

MLB: Game One-Miami Marlins at New York Mets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Crushed. How many times has that word been used to describe one of David Wright’s massive blasts that brought the Shea Stadium and Citi Field crowds to their feet in a collective roar? Now as I sit here and write this, I too am crushed. When the press conference took place, I was at work, but as soon as I got home I sat down an watched it, knowing it would make me cry. David Wright is worth it. My tears are all I have left to give to someone I have never met but who has given me so much.

I was at Shea about a month after the Mets called up their young third baseman in 2004. I first fell in love with Mike Piazza’s Mets, but the ‘04 team barely resembled the glory days of four years earlier. I became a casual fan, and the Mets barely registered on my radar as I prepared to head to college at the end of August. But there I was in the green seats in right field at Shea on a warm night in August when “Number Five, Daaavid Wright” came up to bat. I turned to my brother and asked, “Who is that?”

“Someone they just called up. He’s going to be really good.”

Now, before judging my response to that statement, remember these were Art Howe’s Mets. It was a dark time. I responded, “Eh, he probably won’t amount to much.”

The Mets beat the Dodgers that night 9-2, and the kid I didn’t think would amount to much went 3-for-5 with three RBIs. I still have the ticket stub. From then on, I was hooked and was proven hilariously wrong. I couldn’t have been more wrong even if I tried. I fell back in love with my Metsies led by number 5. With my passion for baseball reignited, I took any chance I could get to write about the Mets or baseball in college. Creative writing became my minor, and there was only one topic I was interested in writing about on for my assignments. Looking back on it, that’s what also eventually led me here.

There are too many Wright highlights and memories to name, and I’m sure there will be plenty of articles and memories in the coming weeks. What I remember, and took for granted, was that David Wright was always there. When the Mets were good, he was there. When the Mets were bad, he was there. When they suffered two historic and embarrassing collapses in back-to-back seasons, he was there and shouldering the blame even though he least deserved it.

Wright was always a reason to tune in, even when the Mets were not at their best. He took the baton from Piazza and became our superstar. The loyalty and passion the fans felt for the team he returned tenfold, and this time my fandom never wavered. He is the reason I stayed a Mets fan and got to experience all the joys, sorrows, and frustrations that come with that.

World Series - Kansas City Royals v New York Mets - Game Three Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The thought of the Mets now without their captain seems unfathomable for those who grew up rooting for him. His return in 2015 was enough to believe in that Mets magic that had been lost for so long. It was all so perfect—until it wasn’t. The Mets did not win the World Series, and Wright’s body just couldn’t keep up with his heart and desire to play. The greatest player in Mets history should not have his ending written like this. It’s enough to make me want to scream “it’s not fair” into the void for all eternity, hoping it changes the outcome.

There will always be some sadness now when thinking about Wright’s career, but it isn’t fair to him to think about what could have been instead of celebrating what was. Even though the end came sooner than anticipated, it still has been an absolute privilege to watch the player and the person David Wright was for all those years. So thank you, Captain. Thank you for being someone I could root for and for giving me moments of sheer joy where I could scream, jump, high five complete strangers, and do happy dances in public. And it is my pleasure to admit that I was wrong. I guess you turned out alright after all.