Matt Harvey’s career as a member of the New York Mets has come to about as inauspicious an end as humanly possible. Who’s to blame? Everyone.
Pointing fingers has become a national pastime. When it comes to assigning blame for the pathetic way Matt Harvey‘s career with the New York Mets has ended, those fingers should be pointed at both the player and the team.
For both are responsible for the nightmare ending to a story that had a fairy tale beginning.
Harvey’s numbers this season screamed: “this guy isn’t a major league pitcher right now!” Truth be told, those numbers were screaming the same thing last season, but everyone associated with the Mets chose to ignore them.
It took a new manager (Mickey Callaway) and a new pitching coach (Dave Eiland) to finally listen to the screams. To finally make general manager Sandy Alderson accept reality—that the “Dark Knight” was gone, never to return.
While Harvey was well within his rights to refuse a minor-league assignment, he would have been wise to take advice from the immortal Marcellus Wallace of “Pulp Fiction” fame, who once said:
“The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That’s pride *f***ing with you. F*** pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps.”
Pride. Ego. Call it what you will. But that—and that alone—is what kept Harvey from accepting the truth. Could his agent, Scott Boras, have influenced Harvey’s thinking? Absolutely. But the decision was ultimately Harvey’s to make.
Maybe Harvey saw this as his chance to escape Flushing. It’s entirely possible that he believed he needed to get away from the only franchise he’s ever known to have a chance to reclaim his former glory.
But if that’s the case, how did things deteriorate to this point?
It doesn’t take someone with a Masters Degree in psychology to know that banishing Harvey to the bullpen played a major part. Lest we forget, Harvey never embraced the role. In fact, he did the exact opposite. He fought it every step of the way.
Matt Harvey laughed audibly when approached by reporters today seeking comment about his bullpen debut. "No chance. Zero chance," he said.
Harvey was asked why. "I have nothing to say to you guys," he said.
He was asked why not. "I dont [expletive] want to," Harvey replied.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 25, 2018
Alderson, Callaway, and Eiland knew damn well that Harvey wanted no part of being a reliever. While the team’s brain trust might have believed it was the best thing at the time for the team, it was the worst thing for the player.
Think about this for a second. Have you ever worked at a job you absolutely hated? Ever woken up to your alarm on Monday morning and said something along the lines of “Son of a…I really don’t want to deal with this effing job today—or ever again!”?
When you’re in that situation, it is impossible to function at the top of your game. You’re not interested in trying to improve—you only care about doing just enough to get your paycheck at the end of the week.
Mickey Callaway, who felt strongly that he and Dave Eiland could help fix Harvey this off-season, says: “We feel like we failed Matt Harvey.”
— Steve Gelbs (@SteveGelbs) May 4, 2018
Callaway isn’t wrong to feel like he and Eiland “failed Matt Harvey,” because they did. Rather than continually trot the guy out in a role he loathed and in situations he was destined to fail, they should have had the minor-league discussion weeks ago.
If he refused—which he most likely would have—then you figure out what the next move is. Designate him for assignment? Concoct an injury to stash him on the disabled list for a week, forcing him to make some rehab appearances in the minors before coming back?
Waiting until now to have that discussion—when nobody wants to deal with the situation anymore—was a huge mistake.
So blame Harvey. Blame the Mets. Blame the injuries. Blame whoever and whatever you want for the way this story ends.
But don’t you dare blame Harvey’s penchant for partying.
After all, the guy just turned down a chance to play in Las Vegas.