New York Mets: Matt Harvey Has Gone From Dark Knight to the Laughable Joker
Apr 16, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) reacts in the dugout during the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t that long ago that Matt Harvey was the New York Mets’ savior, their Dark Knight. Now, he might be on his way out of Gotham.

There may not be a more compelling story in New York sports right now than the New York Mets, who are imploding right before our eyes. At the center of the Mets (14-16) falter is pitcher Matt Harvey, who continues to fly in the face of the club’s rules and regulations.

Harvey was suspended on Saturday night after failing to show up for work on time. He was apparently running late for a number of reasons. Some reports have him playing golf, another has him in Ottawa attending the New York Rangers’ playoff game. Either way, his insubordination has reached critical mass.

Manager Terry Collins, one of the most decent men in all of baseball, met with reporters before Sunday’s 7-0 one-hit loss to the Miami Marlins. He looked and sounded like a man who had enough of Harvey’s shenanigans. He followed general manager Sandy Alderson’s brief statement regarding the suspension of Harvey for three games without pay.

“There are things with this job that certainly are internal that the public can’t see and how hard it is,” Collins said. “This one is a tough one. We hope to put it behind us and move forward.”

Not really. Harvey (2-2, 5.14 ERA) has been a bad employee off the field and not a very good one on it. He hasn’t won a decision since April 11 and is coming off back to games where he surrendered six earned runs.

Since starting the MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field in 2013, Harvey has been more of a celebrity than he has been the ace and leader of the Mets. His career record is just 31-30. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014 but came back strong in 2015 with a 13-8 record. His ERA was a solid 2.71 and his WHIP was 1.019.

But what’s happened to him since?

In 2016 after beginning the year 4-10 with a 4.86 ERA and 1.468 WHIP, it was discovered that his shoulder pain was a result of something called thoracic outlet syndrome. He had surgery to rectify the problem. It did not, however, slow him down off the field. He was still in the frequent company of famous models and was not shy about being seen on the nightlife circuit.

When 2017 rolled around, Harvey appeared ready to go. His velocity was back to normal and the team saw no reason not bring him north to start the season. The Dark Knight was back.

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But something was off. His passion was not the same. He seemed distracted and very hittable. Many thought he should have been given an extra month of spring training. But that would have left him unmonitored down in Florida. Maybe the Mets felt that would have been counterproductive to both him and the team.

Now, he is suspended after flouting the team’s rules. The way Collins and Alderson sounded it wasn’t the first time Harvey colored outside the lines. More like the third of fourth.

Speculation has the Mets fielding some offers for his services, but they’d be selling incredibly low at this point. Whoever they try to trade him to knows they won’t be getting the Dark Knight in return.

They’d be getting the laughable and unpredictable Joker.

John Fennelly has been covering the New York sports scene on the Internet since 1997. He has advised and been published on dozens of prominent websites and in major periodicals and can been heard on sports talk radio stations all over the dial. Before embarking on his career as an accredited journalist, John held several management positions in a successful 25-year career in the financial industry. He holds a degree in New Media/Journalism from Queens College.