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Formal title of captain won't change Wright

Formal title of captain won't change Wright

JUPITER, Fla. -- Shortly after David Wright arrived in the clubhouse Friday morning, he began razzing Ike Davis over his choice of lunch -- yogurt with peanut butter. A few clubhouse attendants joined in the conversation, and before long, Wright had included half the room in the joke.

In other words, nothing has changed for Wright since the Mets named him the fourth captain in franchise history. Nor will anything change. The formal title of captaincy will not make Wright a different player, a different person or even a different leader. He will still joke around when necessary, grow stern when necessary, and so on and so forth as the situation warrants.

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"The responsibilities are kind of the same as ... what I've always tried to do," Wright said. "I think it's more leading by example. I think it's more in the way that I prepare, especially with this young of a team. It's something that obviously I'm going to take the responsibility seriously and with a great deal of pride. But I don't think it's going to change anything day to day."

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who has been a captain for the past decade, said that's how it should be.

"Just because you're named captain, doesn't mean that you've got to do something that you don't normally do," Jeter said. "He should continue to do what he's doing. They named him captain for a reason, so it's not now all of a sudden that you turn into someone that you're not."

Wright is certainly not a yeller or a screamer -- he's the first to admit that. He prefers to practice his leadership in private, be it pulling aside a young player in the clubhouse, taking a teammate out to lunch or communicating things that the manager cannot.

For a captain, those responsibilities can conform to one's personality.

"If you look at the history of captaincy in professional sports, it's a little bit of everything," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. "In some ways, it's a delegation of some responsibility from the manager to the player. Certainly, it's a function of what goes on in the clubhouse as well as what goes on on the field. In some ways, it's a simple recognition of what David has meant to the franchise and what he means to the franchise going forward."

That does not mean Wright will go completely unchanged. Officially being New York's captain marks a new challenge for him, one complete with potential potholes and pitfalls. No doubt he will face unfamiliar problems in his new role, with players looking for difficult answers to difficult questions.

The key for Wright will be learning how to deal with complex issues in varying ways.

"Ultimately, it has made me better to how I prepare and go about my business and try to be an example," White Sox captain Paul Konerko said in 2011. "You don't always do it right, and I don't care who you are in baseball, you are going to have bad days and you don't go about it the right way. For the most part, I've limited those.

"I try not to put too much stock in [being a captain]. A clubhouse with the best teams I've been on were always ones where everyone in there had an equal voice. Nobody was above anyone else. You want to be one of the guys and not have anybody labeled different than anyone else."

Alderson, who played a role in naming Wright captain, called the title "a recognition of his leadership -- not an enablement." Wright did not need the Mets to bestow any additional power upon him, Alderson continued, because the third baseman already acted like a captain long before his promotion.

"He has been a spokesman," Alderson said. "He has been a leader by his actions over a long period of time."

The whole point in making it official was to recognize those qualities -- not to alter them.

"He's represented that organization as well as anyone throughout the years," Jeter said. "I know he takes a big part of the responsibility over there."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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