Sunday, April 19, 2009
Nike Mercer held the latest installment of their "21 Mercer Hall of Fame" series Tuesday night by honoring NY Met's third baseman David Wright. If I was proud of the Yankee 3B I might talk some shit here but that obviously isn't the case. Previous guests have included Dwight Gooden, Amani Toomer, and Giants' legend Harry Carson.
The events are hosted by Chris Eisenberg, founder of No Mas. Dude's a huge sports enthusiast and his questions and overall tone convey that. To bring arguably one of the top 5 players into the store for a sit down event during the early days of the baseball season and a day after the opening of Citi-Field is a major look. Nike gets it in.
A fine assortment of food and beverages was provided for all guests. Kobe beef hot dogs, boiled peanuts in truffle oil, triple popped popcorn (craziness), and bottles of a super limited aged double bock Budweiser not available to the public yet. The cup runneth over. Maybe I went a little overboard with the description- just picture typical ball game fare. The problem with the mentioned foods was that Passover was in effect and all of these were on the "do not eat list." Thus my hot dog with no bun comment. I knew I'd be hungry and figured it was the only way to go. Don't get it twisted though- there was a bun, it just didn't get eaten- just had to maneuver around it. I was like Kobayashi in there- knocked out 5 easy in no time. They really aren't that filling without the bread. I did sin however- twice. Beer isn't allowed since it's made with barley, hops and yeast, but I needed something to wash down the dogs. I have come to a peaceful state with this decision. The second sin is it was a Bud. And a Met Bud at that with the 2009 Citi-Field commemorative logo. This I have a harder time dealing with.
I don't hate David Wright. The man has acknowledged his love for Derek Jeter. And it is clearly obvious that he is trying to follow the same path as the Yankee captain. He's clean cut- altar boy status- and unlike the 3B in the Bronx, is rarely if ever on the back page of any paper for anything non-baseball related. And honestly, I hope he never is. He loves to play the game and as a fan I wish that sentiment was more prevalent from players throughout professional sports. Like Jeter, he's calculated, but a more humanized robot. I don't need to go into my Jeter rant about his always saying the right thing and never ever showing any real emotion- so I won't. Wright is a tad more open than that. Mind you this was a room of Mets and sports fans and not media. But his agent was in the front row- so homeboy was kept in check.
His story isn't such an incredible one. He grew up playing sports in VA, rooted for the Norfolk Tides (Mets AAA affiliate) and was drafted by the Mets. Cool part of that is he played for the squad he supported. Being a baseball nerd I found it incredible that one of the teams he played for consisted of an infield of him, BJ Upton, Ryan Zimmerman and Mark Reynolds. That is BANANAS. Justin Upton was the bat boy.
The interview basically discussed his road to present day, his feelings on new Citifield, how it is more important for him to sacrifice nights outs in order to stay on top, and a segment where old baseball cards were shown and Wright would say the first thing that came to his mind. I'm always interested by the crowd questions to see how the athlete responds. When asked about playing with Jimmy Rollins (J-ROLL) in the World Baseball Classic, Wright matter-of-factly responded, "You don't have to like someone to respect them." Damn Davey- stop hating. He added that he wished Americans would be more into the WBC like the other countries involved. He danced around an A-Rod question saying he felt he will go down as the best player ever -BOOOOO. He doesn't read the local papers- which makes sense on a logistical level- when you're out of town half of the season it is tough- though the internets are alive. He doesn't play fantasy baseball- though his brothers do and constantly gets asked if he will steal more bases. And then it was over and Mr. Wright was briskly escorted through the crowd. No fan interactions, no autographs. Strictly business.
As mentioned my hand was raised but never called on. If I knew that was the case I'd have always raised my paw back in school. My question was if there were any language barriers en el clubhouse de Los Mets. Willy obviously was removed expeditiously (at 3am) by the Latin contingency led by Jose Reyes and I wanted to see whether el gringo was accepted by La Fania All Stars. Even if there were issues, he wouldn't have answered it. I also would have added that he was the first pick in my fantasy draft and if he was willing to move to the Bronx, I would gladly swap our 3B for him.
He wore dunks. Big surprise.
One of the best moments of the night- Wright wipes his forehead and asks whether Nike's trying to save money on AC. Unbelievably, the AC gods heard his plea for help and provided gusts of cool air. I'm going to try that the next time I'm boiling.