Last weekend in New York, in a ballpark that should’ve been half empty since it was a completely meaningless end of season game, 40,000 Mets fans showed up to salute a player who hadn’t been on a big-league field in more than two years.
David Wright was once the Mets’ future star, a guy hyped every much as Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden back in the day. He was good looking, he had a beautiful swing, and he was, as I saw him called many times over the last few days, “the Mets’ Derek Jeter.”
Wright had some amazing moments in a Mets uniform, helped lead them to the World Series in 2015, and was their best player for years when they came so close to winning it all, but never did.
His career never quite became as great as expected, but that was because debilitating back injuries robbed him of so much of his power and ability as a baseball player. But after more than two years of desperately trying to get healthy, he announced his retirement earlier this season, with the Mets giving him a chance to play one more game, last Saturday night.
It was a chance for Mets fans to salute a hero, a man who was universally beloved off the field as well as on, and when Wright was taken out of the game, what followed was three minutes of pure, raw joy from fans and ultimate gratitude from wright.
The clip above got me thinking of the bond between sports star and fan. It’s illogical, of course, to pin so many hopes and dreams on a stranger you’ve never met, because he happens to play for your favorite team. Getting emotional, upset, crying, with joy and sadness, over what a stranger does is completely illogical, yes.
But life isn’t always logical, and the lifelong attachments some of us form to teams, and athletes like David Wright, I think is more a positive than a negative. Of course Wright never directly paid a bill, fixed a leaky faucet, or took any of those Mets fans so lustily cheering him on a vacation on his own dime.
But he brought them joy, and that’s why they were thanking him. I don’t know, people who aren’t sports fans, maybe they’ll just never quite understand the standing ovation Wright got.
But I thought it was beautiful.
**Next up, one of the writers I follow on Twitter, the great hockey scribe Rick Carpiniello, Tweeted this out the other day and it made my jaw drop. It’s an advertisement for Camel cigarettes from the early 1950s, and it’s kind of amazing.
“More Doctors Smoke Camels than Any Other Cigarette!” the headline blares. And then it goes on to talk about the many, many benefits of smoking Camels.
OK, I’m convinced. Going to get me a pack.
**Finally today, another dispatch from the land of TV. I haven’t sampled too many of the new shows so far this season, but a couple quick thoughts on what I’ve seen: The new “Murphy Brown,” is, as I expected, bad, and it breaks my heart that this show is using the same name and much of the same cast as the brilliant, sparklingly witty and oh-so-well acted show of the 1980s and 1990s that I loved so much. Just couldn’t leave well enough alone, huh, Candice Bergen, Diane English and Co.?
Also have checked out “A Million Little Things,” pilot, which was pretty good (love that hockey is such a big character) despite none of the characters who live in Boston having Boston accents, and them throwing 11 curveballs into the story in the last 10 minutes.
But my favorite thing so far in the new fall season is a returning show, the great David Simon HBO show “The Deuce.” Back for Season 2, this fabulous story about hookers, johns, the adult film industry and New York City in the 1970s jumped ahead five years this year and the show has gotten even better.
Maggie Gyllenhaal has gone from being a hooker to a porn actress to now a director, and she plays the character Candy just perfectly, with a mix of bravado and confidence and vulnerability. James Franco, who I normally loathe, is terrific as twin brothers Frankie and Vincent, one a reasonably successful bar owner controlled by the mob, and the other a screwup (somewhat lovable) in every sense of the word.
“The Deuce” has a lot of hard moments, because it shows the male pimps on the show treating women horribly. But it’s smart, well-acted, and very entertaining to watch. Definitely recommend.