Mets Will Do Right By Wright

By Alan Zeitlin

Remember how Eli Manning felt dissed last season when genius head coach Ben McAdoo benched Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith? It was a blunder that insulted a Giant hero. While David Wright did not have the good fortune to have the good health Manning has had, he won’t get insulted and will get his chance to finally play at the end of the month.
It may be a few at bats when he starts and maybe a pinch-hit opportunity a game before or after. Wright was one of the true gentlemen of the game and he brought a sort of magic with him. Wright holds many met records. He tops the franchise list for RBIS with 970, hits with 1,777 and runs with 949. He got to play in a World Series against the Royals and was close to a World Series in 2006 when the Mets lost in 7 to the Cardinals the National league Championship Series. He will be remembered for an amazing barehanded catch against the Padres and getting a game winning hit off Mariano Rivera.

I will never forget the day in 2009 when I was walking by a restaurant that had a TV on and from the street I saw that Wright was up. I stopped to see one pitch from Matt Cain. The pitch nailed him in the head. Luckily, he was okay. It was in 2015 that he injured his hamstring on a steal and then would eventually be diagnosed with spinal stenosis which doomed the remainder of his career. Wright was scandal-free and a great role model. Credit must be given for all the hard work it took to try to get back on the field. Though he was unable to do it on a regular basis, at least he will get the send-off he deserves.

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2007 was his best year as he hit .325 with 30 homers, 107 RBI, 42 doubles and 34 stolen bases. The Mets unfortunately did get enough time with Wright and Yoenis Cespedes at full health. Wright was the last Met to be a part of the Home Run Derby and he finished 2nd to Ryan Howard. His game had a sense of purity and you never heard him curse. He rarely argued. It is sad to think he will never get a World Series victory. He did have 4 RBI against the Royals. Wright’s somewhat compact stroke matched his personality and he was a player you loved to root for. The body is a strange thing and spinal stenosis is not that common.

Wright will go down as one of the best Mets of all-time. It would be interesting to see if he would want to be a manager but my gut tells me that’s not for him. He might go to ESPN and perhaps team up with former third-baseman Alex Rodriguez. When Wright is given his last start, it should be a sell-out.

Why Sam Won’t Be Benedict Arnold

By Alan Zeitlin

Jet fans are used to everything going badly. But the third pick the NFL draft is going to change things. The USC star who threw for 57 touchdowns and 7,229 yards showed enough poise and talent in the pre-season to make it a safe bet to trade backup Teddy Bridgewater.

Some the cards seem to be stacked against Darnold. He’s going to be thrown into the shark-water without an elite receiver. And there are question marks for the ones he has.

Quincy Enunwa has shown flashes but he was out last season due injury. How healthy will he be? When he had 50 catches, 857 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 2016, there was reason to smile. If healthy, he can do some damage.

Look for Terrelle Pryor to step up and play better than people expect, especially with Jermaine Kearse being out for the first game. Of course, Pryor had ankle surgery and his health is a question too. Robbie Anderson, the Jets’ best receiver last year, who had seven touchdowns and 941 yards receiving.  If he is suspended, it won’t be more than one or two games.

Darnold has shown a propensity to make the right pass and it doesn’t appear he will melt under the pressure of New York. Don’t expect him to lead them to the playoffs this year. For that to happen he need some more firepower. Running backs Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell will not scare opposing defenses, but Powell has shown some explosive ability with five touchdowns last year on 772 rushing yards and 23 catches. Powell will allow Darnold to have check down passes and will able to get yards after the catch.

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Darnold will make fans forget Geno Smith. He will still throw the occasional interception, but he will be able to manage the game well. He will have to show his ability to throw deep balls, namely to Anderson. At 6’3, 221 pounds, he’ll be able to take some hits. The question will be whether pass rushes make him throw the ball erratically. Even though there will be some growing pains, Darnold will make fans happy and give them something positive to talk about.

Count on 22 touchdowns for Darnold and at least 3,000 yards. Much of his success will rest on the health of his receivers. In his first three games, he will face the Lions, the Dolphins and the Browns. None of those teams present a scary defense. It’s the nest week that Darnold probably has circled on his calendar, when he will face the NFL’s best defensive team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. With Jalen Ramsey and A.J Bouye at the corners, Darnold will throw at least one pick, but he should be able to help the Jets beat the Lions and the Browns. More importantly fans will get some peace of mind, knowing that finally, a better future is on the rise.