NEW YORK -- Growing up the son of a police officer in Norfolk, Va., meant mostly to David Wright that his family had a big dog.
"I thought it was super cool because we had a German Shepherd around the house," said the Mets third baseman. "My Dad was in K-9 and vice and narcotics and stuff, and I never really realized there is a danger in doing that.
"You understand police and firemen are heroes, but you don't understand why until you become old enough to know there are some bad guys out there. My dad did a great job of keeping us kids in the dark as to what goes on a daily basis. Now you fully realize that everyone who puts on that uniform is in harm's way."
To recognize two New York police officers who put themselves there -- one of whom ended up with bullets in both legs for his devotion -- plus the two off-duty EMTs who treated him, Wright invited four heroes to the Mets-Marlins game on Saturday night. He presented them with a mini-replica of third base in addition to the pregame company of a baseball star.
"Little do they know I get more out of this than they do," said Wright, who met with NYPD officers James Li and Randy Chow and FDNY EMTs Khadijah Hall and Shaun Alexander. Li was shot once in each leg while chasing a suspect who entered a Brooklyn bus through the rear door. Hall and Alexander came to Li's assistance when he was down.
The four were the first honorees of Year Two of "The Wright Thing," a program that began out of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
"After honoring some of the Sandy heroes, we wondered what to do this year," said Wright. "Honoring police officers, that felt kind of right at home.
"We get paid to play a game, they put their lives on the line every day. You think it's just a routine stop, trying to get someone cheating a fare on a bus, and it turns into a shootout and getting shot in both legs. Luckily those ETS were nearby and saved his life.
"We put a lot of time and effort into choosing the recipients of this. It is kind of cool to meet the families and thank them for everything that they do.
"They get a kick out of coming to Citi Field and watching a baseball game, and it's an honor for me. It kind of goes both ways, but for me it really hits home, having a father who was a police officer."
Wright's father, Rhon, served in the Norfolk Police Department for 30 years before retiring as Assistant Chief in January.
Jay Greenberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.