GUEST POST: THE DAY I MET DAVID WRIGHT.

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Today’s guest post is from Metsgrrl.com reader Julia Quadrino.

November 13, 2010. My mom and I were on our way to Chelsea Piers in New York City for baseball clinic taught by David Wright. To say I was a nervous wreck would be an understatement. I was shaking violently from the moment we left the house until the moment I saw David.

Not expecting to win, I had entered a contest online to win a baseball clinic taught by David Wright. I was going to play baseball with a superstar watching me. I was by far going to be the oldest one there, being 15 now (I was 14 at the time I entered). I had played recreation league softball for the past couple of summers, but that was really just for fun as opposed to actually learning. Besides learning the “fundies” from Keith during broadcasts, I really hadn’t had too much baseball knowledge when it came to me having to play. My biggest fear was being shown up by some 6 year old baseball prodigy that just so happened to win this contest, too.

After getting through the zoo that was the parking garage, we made our way to the line where other kids waiting to get into the clinic were standing in. The 12 year old girl on line wearing warm up sweats, athletic goggles, and a bat bag in her hand didn’t really help my nerves. Adam Rubin and David Lennon walking past me to get into the clinic didn’t really calm me down that much, either.

All of the parents signed their kids in and the kids were given different color sweat bands to wear on our arms to group us by age. There were about 40 or 50 kids there in all. Once all of the kids were signed in and placed in their groups, they lined us up and made us do some stretching and a few relay races. It was fun, I guess, but all of us just wanted David to show up already.

Finally, they sat all four groups down in different corners forming a little square in the middle. A guy in a Pirates Booty shirt with a microphone stood in the middle and told us that David was in the building and could hear us all right now. My stomach dropped. In a very, very good way. The man told us to start chanting, “We want David, we want David, we want David!” I noticed I was screaming it as opposed to everyone else who was just saying it. I was excited, sue me. A boy in my group around my age turned around to face me and said, “David Wright fan on a scale of 1-10, you’re like an 11. Right?” To this I simply replied, “More like a 75.” When my face lit up he turned around because we both knew what I was looking at. David Allen Wright stood about fifteen feet away from me. He wore a blue Pirates Booty t-shirt with a scruffy beard and huge smile. When the kid in front of me instructed me to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, I flicked him in the ear.

I haven’t met many famous people. But I had never imagined that I would get star struck around any famous person because really, they’re just another living human like you and me. But then again, I have never idolized anyone like I idolized David Wright. I may make the most fangirl comments imaginable about him, but the truth is this man is my hero. Adorable baby face aside, everything this man stands for as a person is everything I could ever hope to be when I grow up. This has been my mindset since age 8. And now, at age 15, he stands here ready to spend his entire day with me.

David took the microphone and asked us if we had any questions for him. I was obviously not going to waste a free opportunity to talk to David Wright, so I started trying to think of a good, relevant question to ask him (that I didn’t already know the answer to). My favorite question that a little boy asked him was, “Did anyone ever bully you in school?” To this, David replied, “I think you always have bullies in school. But the same people that bullied me in school are now buying tickets to come watch me play baseball.” Eventually, I made sure I was physically able to speak clearly, and raised my hand to ask a question. He picked on me and when he saw the ridiculously big goofy smile on my face, he smiled a little bit too. This of course, only made me smile bigger and goofier. I asked him what his favorite city to play in was besides New York.

To this he replied, and I quote, “That’s a good question. Besides New York where is my favorite city to play…um…I like different things about different cities. If I had to pick one place that I just really like playing in, I love playing in Phoenix, Arizona. Because it’s a good park, it’s a good hitter’s park, and I really like the city. I like playing at Dodgers Stadium in LA. I like playing in Baltimore because I have some family there that always come and I grew up going to some games at Camden Yards in Baltimore so I like playing there. And the city of Chicago, I like the city a lot. I don’t like the ballpark that much but I like the city.” The whole time he said this, he was looking me in the eyes. (Just felt that was necessary to add.)

He answered a few more questions and then gave us the overview of what we were going to be doing today, which was basically just to try and learn and have fun. David was coaching one station, which was the fielding station. The youngest and most impatient kids went to his station first, so we were going to be getting him last. The first station I went to was the “outfield station.” Really, just judging and catching fly balls. This wouldn’t have been as challenging if I knew the ball was going to be rubber and the turf wasn’t so slippery. Basically, we all looked like fools. But it was good that we got that out of the way early so by the time we got to David, we’d all be used to it. After about 25 minutes there, we rotated to the base running station. This took place on a basketball court. Basically, we were learning how to take leads, the difference between trying to steal off of left handed and right handed pitchers, and all of that good stuff. Then the hitting station.

Finally, after that station, it was time for the fielding station; time to play baseball with David Wright. When we got to that station we were all kind of nervous. Even the guys who were trying to act like they knew what they were doing the whole time were pretty nervous. David told us to pick a partner and to line up across from them. One lucky girl didn’t have a partner, so David was her partner. I was partners with one of the girls I had befriended earlier. Eventually, David made the exercise into a game. We had to throw the ball to each other, and only one foot could move when we caught it. If we drop the ball or move the second foot, we’re out. Each time you catch it successfully, you and your partner back up a step to increase the distance.

There were only four girls in my group and about 13 kids overall. David and his partner were the first ones to get out, which I found kind of funny. My partner and me were the last girls left and ended up coming in third overall. After that game, he had us line up to take ground balls from an instructor. After we fielded it, we were supposed to throw it to someone standing at a first base distance. David of course showed us the proper way to do it, and then it was our turn. The nerves were back. Here I am, about to attempt to do what my hero does for a living every day with him watching me. No pressure or anything. I hurried to the back of the line to try and buy as much time as possible.

I was finally up and I (thought I) whispered, “Oh dear God.” Apparently, I said that at a normal volume because David started to laugh at me. I got into a ready position and actually fielded the ball borderline perfectly. That was such a huge relief. David said, “Excellent,” and suddenly I could do no wrong—until two seconds later when I airmailed the rubber ball over the first baseman’s head. Stupid rubber ball got me again. David, not expecting that either, screamed, “Woah!” as he watched the ball sail through the air and again started to laugh. That’s when I realized: even if I mess up, I’m playing baseball with David effing Wright. I’m making him laugh. There is no downside to this.

I got back in line and the next time I was up, gave a more accurate throw. David said, “Atta girl,” and all I could do was giggle like a moron and get back on line. After going through the drill a couple more times, David made it into a contest. If you bobble the ball or botch the throw, you’re out. I found it to be no coincidence that he looked at me when he said “botch the throw.” To my surprise, I did really well the first couple rounds. Eventually, I was the last girl left. When it got to the top five, David stopped us. He walked over to the instructor throwing the ball and said, “Let me see that.” David was throwing the grounders now. David Wright was going to throw me ground balls.

I let the four other boys go first. I had to take this in for a moment and calm myself down. Too quickly, it seemed, I found myself at the front of the line again. I got into my ready position and locked eyes with David. I had the most ridiculous look of nervousness and pure joy on my face, and once again, David was laughing. Looking into my eyes and laughing. He asked me if I was ready and I nodded my head. The girls who were already out were cheering me on screaming, “Come on Julia! You got this!”

David threw me the ball. I don’t know if he meant to, but it was a difficult ball to play. Certainly harder than the ones he threw the boys. I had to dive to my left and caught it on an in between hop. David and the counselor screamed, “OHHHHHHH!” to show their approval. I didn’t even really get to take that moment in because I was so focused on not messing up the throw. I threw it perfectly, and made my way back to the end of the line getting high fives from the other girls who were now out. And of course, I could hear my mother cheering me on. Oh mom.

When I made it to the final four, David gave me an easier throw to make up for the last one. I made the play and the throw and moved on to the third round where I got out.After that game ended, David gave us all high fives. The clinic was now over and all that was left to do was line up for our picture with David and then say goodbye. When David saw me walking toward him, he threw his hands in the air and said, and I quote, “There she is! I was rooting for you!” I laughed and told him I tried my best and he put his arm around me (HSDKJFSHDF) and said, “I know you did. You did good today, kid.” We then smiled for a delightful picture that now hangs framed in my room. This, my friends, was the greatest moment of my life.

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@metsgrrl: I can’t believe he’s wearing a shirt that says ‘pirates booty’.
@juliaaquadrino: me and the other girls could not get over the fact that just the word “booty” was written on his shirt.

When my mom and I had gotten our free t-shirt and gift bag of various bags of Pirates Booty and an autographed ball, we started to walk towards the exit. On our way, we passed David. Not missing a final opportunity to talk to him, I said, “Bye, David! Thank you so much!” He looked up and saw me, smiled and said, “No problem. Bye bye!” After we were at a safe distance away from him, uncharacteristically, my mom said, “You just had eye sex with David Wright.” Yes, this was entirely necessary to mention.

The Mets may be going nowhere right now. The team may have issues. But I will never forget how lucky we are as fans to have someone like David represent our team. He’s a man who does everything he can to make people happy. And I know, I know, winning would make us all pretty darn happy. But don’t let bad seasons and inconsistency take away from what we have. Because what we have is not only an all star third baseman, we have someone who cares.


Julia Quadrino is a sophomore at Smithtown High School East.  She loves Freddie Mercury and hangs out on Twitter at @juliaaquadrinoo.

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