WBC brings out the best in David Wright, the leader

Brian Erni

Ahead of tonight’s match up between Team USA and the Dominican Republic, Newsday’s David Lennon has penned a piece that profiles the two team’s hottest hitters: David Wright and Robinson Cano.

“He’s been swinging so good,” Cano said of Wright. “I’m so happy [because] he’s a great man and a great guy.”

Wright has hit .438 (7-for-16) with a home run, 10 RBI, and gotten on base at a .526 clip in Team USA’s first four games of the tournament.

“I think [Wright is] stepping forward on a team full of superstars,” former Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey told Lennon, “and kind of becoming that visual leader.”

David Wright USA PolaroidWithout a doubt, Wright has become just that. On a team that boasts former MVPs, it has been Wright who has been front-and-center, and I think that has spoken volumes about Wright not only as a ball player, but as a leader.

Reading Mike Piazza’s book this winter, it struck me just how much pressure comes with being the man in New York. When you’re the face of your franchise – like Piazza was in the late ‘90s-early ‘00s, or Derek Jeter has been across town for the better part of two decades, or how Wright is now – there’s a pressure that’s ineffable to most observers. At the ballpark, the players defer to you, the media surrounds you, and all the VIPs want to see you. On top of that, you’re expected to excel against the best players in the game on a night-in-night-out basis. Wright has been able to do that for years in Flushing (make no mistake, whether there is a ‘C’ on his jersey or not, he is the captain of this team), and now it’s evident that he’s done it for a team of big personalities that represents the entire country.

This spring, Wright has been able to hit in a lineup of world class talent, and he admits that has helped with his production. But as I watch some of the best players in the game gravitate towards Wright as a leader, it puts into perspective something that, as Mets fans, is on display at Citi Field every night.

“Sometimes I don’t think New York realizes how lucky they are,” Team USA skipper Joe Torre said.

That might be the best way to put it.