The New York Mets are headed home for the final six games of the season, and they will be joined by their captain for one final time. Third baseman David Wright is going to be activated from the disabled list tomorrow, where he will be available off the bench as a pinch hitter before he makes his final start at third base on Saturday. This should be a tremendous opportunity for the Mets to generate positive buzz as they celebrate the end of Wright’s career, but the franchise has taken a bizarre approach to the whole situation. Check out this tweet from Mike Puma of the New York Post:
That’s right, the Mets don’t want Wright to talk to the media until he plays in a game. That is an awfully strange approach to take with one of the most beloved players in franchise history, especially since Wright has always been a good soldier who never goes against the company line. Wright has also had an excellent relationship with ownership, so it isn’t like people would expect him to air grievances with the franchise in the press. The fact that even SNY, which the Mets own a significant portion of, isn’t getting access to Wright before he plays is very suspicious.
The other interesting nugget to come out of Puma’s tweet is that someone went over Public Relations director Jay Horwitz’s head to make this decision. Horwitz is the point man for the Mets in terms of media availability, so there are very few people in the franchise who have the authority to override his decisions in that front. The natural leap is to assume that either Jeff or Fred Wilpon are responsible for this course of action, and the big question is why they feel the need to keep one of the franchise’s all time greats from speaking to the press until absolutely necessary.
This could come down to a number of factors. Ownership may not want to put a ton of pressure on Wright ahead of his last game, allowing him to settle in and simply be a part of the team for a few days. The Wilpons could also be worried that Wright could speak out of turn as they work on finalizing a settlement with their insurance company to deal with the remaining $27 million on his contract. There is also the more sinister motive, which indicates that ownership is afraid that Wright will spill some secrets that they don’t want getting out to the press.
Whatever the case may be, the Mets are going about this the wrong way. Keeping Wright from talking to the media makes it look like they are trying to hide something, and even if they aren’t it creates a bad impression. The Mets need to realize that this kind of behavior makes them look highly unprofessional at best and conspiratorial at worst. Even if Wright spoke to the press for a few minutes before the game tomorrow, it’s hard to see what kind of narrative he could ruin by speaking to the media. Taking something that should be a non-story and turning it into a circus is way too common for the Mets, and these types of incidents need to stop if the franchise wants to develop a winning culture.