NEW YORK -- Over the years, David Wright has used his platform as a Major League Baseball player to raise money and awareness for charitable cause after charitable cause, both for the Mets Foundation and his own David Wright Foundation. Some of Wright's larger events have been public. Many of the others have been smaller, private affairs.
Last year, for example, Wright hosted the families of slain NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, spending time with their widows and children during a Spring Training event that received significant media coverage at the time. But quietly, and without much fanfare, Wright continued to honor other NYPD officers throughout the season at Citi Field.
That tradition continued Tuesday, when Wright met with officers Anthony Barton and Michael Pyzikiewicz, who helped deliver a baby on the side of the Long Island Expressway in January.
"You come to appreciate certain things living in New York, playing in New York, and the police department, the fire department, the first responders -- you come to appreciate the jobs that those men and women do, and the sacrifices that they make," Wright said. "It's incredible to pick up the paper and read these stories," Wright said. "Every time, it touches my heart."
Each year, Wright works with the Mets to identify community heroes he would like to honor through his "The Wright Thing" community platform. As the son of a retired police officer who once worked vice and narcotics patrols on the streets of Virginia, Wright carries extreme respect for those in the force. He speaks often about how thankful he is not to have known the dangers his father faced on a daily basis when Wright was a child.
These days, Wright's foundation focuses mainly on raising money and awareness for multiple sclerosis and children's causes, both in New York City and his native Virginia. Honoring police officers about once per homestand at Citi Field is just another way Wright is able to give back to the community.
"Some of the police officers that we've had out here have been shot at, have had partners who have been shot," Wright said. "The Ramos family lost their father. This [Barton and Pyzikiewicz] is not as difficult a meeting as a lot of them are. But it's something that I enjoy doing. I enjoy going and hearing the story. They usually want to talk about baseball. I usually want to talk about police-officer stuff. It's pretty cool for me."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.