Through the New York Mets‘ young 2016 season, Matt Harvey has been nothing short of disastrous. The questions surrounding Harvey’s performances are endless. Speculation of what’s wrong has ranged from him being out of shape, to the lasting affects of a high innings pitched count post-Tommy John surgery, to not being able to chew tobacco at Citi Field. No one can pin point exactly what the problem is, but it’s getting out of hand fairly quickly. So it bodes the question, would the Mets actually be better off without Matt Harvey?
There’s no question that when Harvey is on top of his game, he is an elite starting pitcher. He bursted into the league in 2013 and never looked back. He dominated game after game with the gusto that Mets fans grew to love. He provided a team that was starving for spotlight a spotlight obsessive player. He once again made the Mets relevant, even if it was only every 5th day. As we all know Harvey became yet another victim of the ill-fated Tommy John surgery, so Mets fans yet again would be unable to quench their thirst for the spotlight.
However, when Harvey made is long awaited return to the team, there was something different. Matt was no longer the lone stud of the pitching staff. Jacob DeGrom out of no where became a sensation seemingly overnight similarly to the way Matt Harvey did. Zack Wheeler was out to make a name for himself before he befell to the same fate as Harvey did needing to go under the knife for Tommy John surgery. In addition, the Mets had two highly touted pitching prospects who you may now know as Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. None of this fazed Harvey though, he was still “the man” and everyone knew it. Harvey loved the spotlight and wanted all the star power and there was no one there to stop him. Besides, the Mets hadn’t been relevant for most of the preceding decade so Matt soaked it all in and loved it.
The Mets yet again were seemingly terrible in 2015 and for the beginning of the season it seemed as though the narrative would be all about Matt Harvey’s triumphant return from Tommy John surgery. But then, something Amazin’ (pun fully intended) happened, the Mets became a good baseball team. The narrative slowly shifted from all about Harvey, to guys like deGrom, Conforto, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Matz, Familia, Colon, and Flores. The narrative became about the team as opposed to a lone superstar. The Mets became this lovable group of guys who clearly shared camaraderie amongst each other. The pitchers could always be seen hanging out sharing a laugh with each other, acting like teammates do, everyone except Matt Harvey. Harvey kept to himself and walked around with a snarky attitude as if he was above everyone else.
The Matt Harvey everyone once loved was turning into a villain that the fans wanted to hate. The narrative of a team preparing for the post season became that of a team not knowing what to do with its “ace” and his innings limit due to Tommy John surgery. Matt did himself no favors in the media and fans were turning against him more and more. Everyone loved Matt’s talent but began to grow sick of his star studded ego. Matt battled throughout the postseason and ended up winning back the hearts of Mets fans in the team’s final outing of the losing game of the World Series.
Fast forward to where we are now, and we’re back where we were last season. The no-nonsense “I’m a star” attitude that everyone once loved about Matt, everyone now hates. His demeanor was cute back in 2013 when the Mets would take any sort of publicity, but this isn’t 2013 anymore. The Mets are one of the favorites in the National League and the publicity that Harvey now brings with him is not what the team needs. People are tired of watching Matt go out every game, with his piss-poor attitude and terrible body language, and give up home runs and run the team into the ground. Syndergaard, DeGrom, and Matz have all surpassed Harvey in the pecking order and at this rate Wheeler might as well, once he returns from Tommy John surgery later this year.
As is the case with everything in sports, winning would be the perfect remedy for Matt. If Harvey gains back his form from when he was dominate and begins to win games, the fans and the media will back off Matt. The Dark Knight will once again be able to rise and thrive in New York. The question remains though, is all the baggage that Harvey brings with him worth it? You decide.