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"That was my first taste, and it's something that's stuck with me for my entire career," Wright said of the 2006 NLDS. "Probably some of the most fun that I've had on a baseball field."
The Mets' captain was 23 years old and a first-time All-Star when the Mets last won the NL East, then swept the Wild Card Dodgers in three games in the opening round of the postseason. Wright went 4-for-12 in the series, with a pair of doubles. He was fast becoming the face of the franchise, New York's cornerstone at third base.
"Once you have a little taste of that success in the postseason," Wright said, "it just continuously drives you and motivates you."
Ethier was a rookie outfielder for the Dodgers, and he made only two brief appearances in the NLDS. He was a defensive replacement in Game 2, and lined into a pinch-hit double play in the deciding Game 3.
"I just remember everything happening so quick and so fast, and you can see the outcome of it," Ethier said. "One little mistake, two mistakes we made in that series, and it really turned upside down for us."
He was referring to a memorable moment in the second inning of Game 1 at Shea Stadium, when Mets catcher and former Dodger Paul Lo Duca tagged out Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew at the plate on the same play.
"The two runners got tagged out and it went from us being possibly up in the game to a momentum-shifting play that kind of swung the whole series," Ethier said.
Two games later, the Mets closed out the Dodgers in Los Angeles, cutting short Ethier's first postseason. But he's been to the playoffs four times since then. Wright hasn't.
Wright was there for the Mets' disappointing regular-season finishes in 2007 and '08, and the losing seasons that followed. He's dealt with injuries -- a concussion, spinal stenosis -- that have threatened his career. Repeatedly, he has said that he took '06 for granted.
"It's difficult. And it's been especially difficult for us, the last nine years of what we've been through," Wright said. "To be able to represent New York, to be able to represent this organization, put this jersey on and get back to the playoffs -- these fans deserve it, the city deserves it, and I can't be more proud of what this team's accomplished."
On Friday, he and Ethier are putting on the same jerseys they did almost a decade ago now, the last ones left, matching up for a second time.
"It's kind of crazy to think about it that way -- 10 years later, how there's only two guys left from that series," Ethier said. "But it's something special."