New York Mets starting pitcher and hero Matt Harvey is suddenly losing his Dark Knight moniker and moving into villain territory with fans.
By Robby Sabo
Is there a better suited nickname in all of sports than “The Dark Knight?”
Quite honestly, no. The name is so appropriate for Matt Harvey in more ways than one.
Recently though, fans of the first-place New York Mets are starting to wonder whether the superhero tag was handed out too early. Perhaps Two-Face is more like it.
There was no chance in hell Harvey, the bulldog of the ultimate bulldogs, would go along with his agent’s claim that 180-innings is his max for the 2015 MLB season. Most thought Scott Boras announced the number as a precaution for the organization in making sure Harvey was well rested and taken care of for the duration of September.
Then in October that competitive fire we’ve been accustomed to from Harvey would shine through.
Not so fast.
On Saturday, Harvey was completely noncommittal about the 180-innings limit, via Adam Rubin of ESPN New York:
“I’m the type of person, I never want to put the ball down. Obviously I hired Scott, my agent, and went with Dr. Andrews as my surgeon because I trusted them to keep my career going and keep me healthy. As far as being out there, being with my teammates and playing, I’m never going to want to stop. As far as the surgeon and my agent having my back and kind of looking out for the best of my career, they’re obviously speaking their mind about that.”
With the disaster that was Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals in 2012, the Mets biggest fear is playing out right in front of them.
Instead of Harvey waving away Boras’s words with assurance, he skated like a politician. A politician whose right arm is worth much more to him than a possible World Series Championship is to the Mets as a whole.
Granted coming back from Tommy John Surgery is no joke. Inning limits are a fabric of MLB society today. It’s been this way for years and will continue to even get worse as time and science marches on.
Still, flabbergasted isn’t even the word to describe Harvey’s comments.
How could a guy who represents the face of this turnaround of an organization possibly not be there for their most epic postseason in a while? How it is conceivable that the man who demands the ball and craves the attention to a silly degree sits out due to an imaginary number of 180?
Surely we figured Harvey was more old-school than this. Currently sitting at 166.1 innings pitched, there’s no shot he can pitch in the playoffs and stay under the limit.
— NY Daily News Sports (@NYDNSports) September 6, 2015
We thought of him as a throwback. A mirror of Tom Seaver who projects the attitude and demeanor every club salivates to possess on the mound. This is what made Harvey so different from the other aces around the National League.
While Clayton Kershaw in Los Angeles dominates the regular season, he’s proved to come up weak in the playoffs. While Stephen Strasburg was dubbed “the man” at such an early age, he’s failed to stay healthy even to the point of relevancy.
Harvey, despite his yearlong absence, was perceived to be different. He was the superhero of Gotham, The Dark Knight who rose from the ashes in the Spring of 2015 after such a sorely missed, injury-caused vacation.
Just as he represented the turnaround for the franchise as a whole in 2013, he was looked upon this season as the final piece to a championship-caliber baseball squad.
Due to Jacob deGrom’s stellar sophomore season (12-7, 2.40 ERA, 175 K), most already believed deGrom is the de-facto ace of the team while Harvey takes a year to rebuild his status. In any event the two formed a scary tandem for any NL team to oppose in a short series.
Now, if Harvey does commit to the 180 number, all bets are off. The Mets could easily falter without arguably their best pitcher (at the current moment).
Furthermore, these words and the potential idea of sitting out the biggest games the Mets have seen in nine years could catapult Harvey into real villain territory. deGrom had already taken over the fans’ hearts, leading to actual murmurs of Harvey trade packages during the Hot Stove months.
Of course Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins will take major heat as well. How in the world is this situation even occurring? Why was the man not started later in the season or shut down for a month in July?
No matter though. If the Mets end up making this ridiculous gaffe, it will be Harvey who’ll become public enemy number one. A move and transformation of public perception which could be unprecedented in New York sports history.
It would be such a disappointment and blow to the good times ahead. He will, undoubtedly, lose The Dark Knight moniker and officially become Two-Face.
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