Savvy All-Star vets Wright, K-Rod shine
Low-key third baseman helps NL; closer deals shutout ninth
ST. LOUIS -- Now that David Wright has grown accustomed to this whole All-Star thing, he opted for the more subdued version this year in St. Louis. Rather than stay up all night, Wright decided to sleep. Rather than party Monday evening, Wright retired to his hotel room to play cards with his three brothers.
It's become an annual tradition for Wright's three younger brothers to travel with him to the All-Star Game -- and his .324 average, 44 RBIs and 20 stolen bases over the first half of the season helped them do so again this week. And so the Wrights attended this year's All-Star FanFest, before joining their famous brother at Tuesday's Red Carpet Parade.
"They love it," Wright said. "I think they push me to be better and better because they want to keep coming to the All-Star Game. They have a good time with it."
Wright seems to have a fine time with it, too. One of three Mets All-Stars at this year's game -- Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez were the others -- Wright entered the game with a .333 average in his first three Midsummer Classics. In his first at-bat Tuesday, he dropped a broken-bat bloop single into shallow right field -- and that after nearly turning an impossible double play with National League catcher Yadier Molina.
Two batters later, Wright scored the NL's first run, helping his squad take the lead early off starter Roy Halladay.
"This was fun," Wright said. "I had a blast. Getting a chance to hang out with all these guys, and just the experiences before the game and to have my brothers here, and just being a part of the festivities was a lot of fun. I got a chance to rest mentally, got plenty of sleep and I'm ready to go."
Santana, who threw 114 pitches in a game Saturday, did not pitch Tuesday, saying afterward that he was told he would only be used in extra innings. But Rodriguez did take the mound, firing a perfect inning with the National League trailing by a run in the ninth -- even if he needed some help from Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth, who made a nifty play in center for the final out.
"It sounds strange," K-Rod said of thanking his temporary teammate. "But today, we were the National League team. Tomorrow, once again, we'll be enemies."
This drill was nothing new for any of the Mets representatives, who have been selected to four All-Star Games apiece. Wright, an elected starter, made an extended appearance due to the fact that Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals was the only other third baseman on the roster. And that honor was not lost on Wright, any more than it was on his brothers.
|"I've said it before -- I never thought growing up that I'd get a chance to participate in one All-Star Game, let alone four, and being able to start three. It's been extremely special. Hopefully the trend continues and I'm back here next year. It's been a blast, and each year it gets more and more fun."|
|-- David Wright|
"You look around and you see some of the best players in baseball," Wright said. "Getting a chance to hang out in here and have some laughs and joke around and be a part of this is an incredible honor. I've said it before -- I never thought growing up that I'd get a chance to participate in one All-Star Game, let alone four, and being able to start three. It's been extremely special. Hopefully the trend continues and I'm back here next year. It's been a blast, and each year it gets more and more fun."
Santana and Rodriguez received their own thrill before the game, requesting and receiving an autograph from President Barack Obama, who visited both clubhouses.
"The first thing he told me was, 'Oh, here goes a New Yorker,'" Santana said. "That was kind of cool to hear that from him."
For all the Mets' representatives, the game provided a welcome distraction from the first half of the season, which has been a medley of injuries and disappointments. Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran -- an elected All-Star -- and Carlos Delgado have all been on the disabled list for some time. And come Thursday, the Mets will return to reality, flying to Atlanta for the first of four games against the Braves.
It is there that they hope they can reverse their current trends.
"To get everybody back together in a few days is going to be good for us," Santana said. "Hopefully we will regroup and get back to winning games. And hopefully at the same time, we will get the other guys that are on the DL back and helping us out. That's something that we need."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.