Win game, get married: Coach Wright turns double play
Posted by Van Williams, ALB Media Director | Aug 13, 2020
They met over baseball so the idea of Carey and Floyd Wright of Fairbanks getting married on a baseball field didn’t come out of left field.
They original plan wasn’t to tie the knot on the diamond, but in the era of COVID, anything is possible. They were supposed to have a summer wedding in Fairbanks before the virus hit and shut down everything, putting their plans on hold.
Wright coaches the Fairbanks 49ers with longtime friend Rodney Perdue, who doubles as a Southern Baptist Minister. With the team in Palmer for last week’s Alliance Junior State Tournament, along with his family and extended family, Wright talked with his fiancé about getting married at Hermon Brothers Field.
“She was all for it,” Wright said. “Baseball is in my blood. I thought this would be perfect for the both of us.”
She’s a Cubs fan. He’s a Dodgers fan. Both are now Mat-Su Miners fans after Mat-Su general manager Pete Christopher and the Miners staff rolled out the red carpet for a ceremony in between games at the tournament.
“The Mat-Su staff was all onboard and they really jumped on it,” Wright said. “They were great.”
Before getting hitched, he had to coach the 49ers against the West Eagles. The wedding was on his mind as well as his players, who used his big day as motivation to spark a 7-6 victory.
“It was definitely on my mind, but I think it was more on the kids’ mind,” Wright said. “We had a lull against West and came out flat. The guys were like, ‘We can’t do this. We can’t lose on coach’s day.’”
Wright, 49, said he was able to stay focused on the game until the later stages when he happened to spot his granddaughter and fiancé walking into the ballpark.
“I got all emotional,” he said. “I had to take a walk down the third-base line. My heart just skipped a beat and I started to get emotional. That’s when I knew it was going to be something special.”
Win game, get married. The ultimate double play.
The 49ers, a group of players 14 to 16 years old, came up clutch all day. First, they rallied for a win. Then, they rallied around their coach.
“Those boys are some really great boys; they were really into this. They helped out and made everything work just fine,” Wright said. “Actually, it was thanks to those boys that we were able to make this happen. They were really helpful.”
As their wedding song 'Speechless' by Dan + Shay played over the PA, the bride walked onto the field in a white dress. The groom was still in uniform. They exchanged vows at the pitcher’s mound. They were united in holy matrimony, with Perdue officiating the ceremony.
“I have performed lots of ceremonies but this was my first on a baseball field,” Perdue said. “And even though I'm a Southern Baptist Minister, I managed to keep it fairly short.”
Perdue’s presence was pivotal and purposeful as Wright views him as a friend and mentor.
“I’ve known Rod for 16 years and he’s a blessing, truthfully,” Wright said. “I couldn’t think of a better man to marry us. Me and him belong to the same church. He’s a man I look up to and have leaned on at times. Two years ago, I lost my father to cancer and he was right there with me. Rod’s a great guy.”