So for all the bitching and moaning about resting Matt Harvey because he was rested for a regular season start so that he could be healthy for the All-Star Game, the real motivation has now been crystallized. And I hope everybody gets it now. He wasn't rested for two innings in an exhibition game. He was rested so that he could come out and dominate again. The Mets didn't sacrifice a regular season start solely for an All-Star Game. They did it so that they could have the real Matt Harvey for fifteen more starts down the stretch as Matt Harvey, and not merely as Clark Kent.
Harvey was brilliant against the Philadelphia Taliban as he struck out ten in seven innings while only giving up three hits in a 5-0 Mets victory. And not only did he overcome the blisters once and for all, he overcame the latest media driven controversy, which was the article in Men's Journal where he claimed that his words were taken out of context. I was contacted by a concerned citizen about what he referred to as an atrocity of an article, and this citizen wanted to rip it apart much like what Fire Joe Morgan used to do. So like Mysterio, he comes and goes with the following commentary (Concerned Citizen in bold, Men's Journal in italics):
There has to be some type of rule that says the number of words spent writing about the minutiae of your subject has to be inversely proportional to the amount of time spent doing actual research on the subject. So, for example, if you’ve talked to high school coaches, teammates, or even fans, you’re less likely to care about how they ordered their salad.
So, have you read the Men's Journal profile of Matt Harvey? If you want to hear about his baseball skills, move on. But if you want to know about his salads, you’re in the right place.
"Man, do I fucking love this city," Matt Harvey says, stretching out in an expensive French bistro in downtown Manhattan. He sips his coffee and flashes a drowsy, laid-back smile. Having called a secret number to get a last-minute table, Harvey now sits among the restaurant's mostly female clientele; lithe, stylish creatures waxed and tweezed in that particular New York way – in total anonymity. Tonight, Harvey is slated to pitch his first start against the Yankees – a career-defining moment, according to this morning's sports pages – though if that's anywhere on his mind, he's not showing it."
There are two ways to go with a profile like this. The author, who, let me point out, said that Harvey was a "fun hang," could really go into detail on Harvey’s psyche, on what made him tick and his pursuit to win. Or, he could make him look like an asshole. I’ll give you the spoiler alert here: The subject of this piece isn't “Matt Harvey, pitcher breaking into the majors,” but “Matt Harvey: Paul Lynde meets Patrick Bateman.
It's still May, but the 24-year-old Mets pitcher is in the midst of a logic-defying season, and is already drawing comparisons to the game's greats for his 98-mile-an-hour fastball, gravity-resistant curveball, devilish change-up, and irresistible slider that routinely leaves batters chopping at air.
You don’t know shit about baseball. Instead of asking, I don’t know, an actual baseball player about Harvey’s pitches, you just decided to turn to the guy in the cubicle to your left, say “hey, do you know any baseball terms I can use about Matt Harvey?” and wrote down what he said.
"Ever since Harvey was in middle school in Mystic, Connecticut, scouts have had their eye on the pitching prodigy. In 2007, when he was a senior in high school, Harvey was expected to be a top pick in the major-league draft, and planned on entering the majors in lieu of going to college. But then his stock dropped, due to a handful of lackluster performances, and he had to wait until the third round, when the Angels snatched him up with the 118th pick."
Whoa! Actual research? Who are you (most likely an intern) and why are you allowed to contribute to this piece (because it doesn’t involve what dressing he ordered on his salad.
"They offered Harvey $1 million – a hefty sum for that draft slot – but it was less than the $2 million figure he already had in his head. He turned it down and headed instead to the University of North Carolina – where his pitching alternated between the electric and erratic. He has had a chip on his shoulder ever since. "For a long time," he says, eating his eggs Benedict, "I had an anger toward major-league baseball."
That’s not the real reason Matt Harvey hated baseball. You, Mr. Author, know that Matt Harvey hated baseball because the scout’s business card was had subtle off-white coloring, a tasteful thickness and – oh my God – a watermark!
Our intrepid reporter then notes that Matt Harvey has a-sad, because it’s raining. It's “an unsettling development,” because it makes Harvey say “Shit, I can throw in this,” but the game may be canceled if it gets worse. Don’t worry, though. Apparently, Matt Harvey has the answer for all that ails him. Shopping!
With two hours until Harvey has to be at Citi Field in Queens, he decides he has time for some quick shopping. "Do you know the store John Varvatos?" Harvey asks, saying the name of the menswear designer as if describing a friend he met recently. "So cool."
Superstar Joe Namath's vice was alcohol. Strawberry and Gooden were brought down by cocaine. And, apparently, we’re going to have to keep Harvey away from jeans and jackets if we know what’s best for him.
The article goes on and on and on, and as much as I’d like to continue to rip the guy to all hell, I must save my sanity right now.
But Harvey is facing a problem. The media is beginning to craft a narrative about him.
It started with the New York Post, who decided to feature Harvey in a photo shoot, which was a bit creepy, but still maybe a three on the creep-me-out-o-meter. After all, it looks as if Harvey is in a loveless 1950s-era marriage to a supermodel, living in a house that contains no colors other than white and brown. Then, ESPN had their fun with Harvey, showing him sneaking out of a hotel naked. That, of course, turned into the meme, which managed to turn Harvey into some sort of supermodel. And now, he really likes fine shopping and dining.
All this threatens to turn Matt Harvey into an asshole, which would be fine if he showed any signs of actually being an asshole (hi, Cole and Bryce!).
But here's a guy who, no matter how many times he’ll appear at Mets charity functions, will always be someone who goes somewhere on a whim that you can’t get into, will shop at places you can’t afford to look at, and date supermodels who… [Ed note: let’s just keep it at that, okay?]
It's only a matter of time before everything Harvey says will be taken out of context. Where saying "I love the idea of coming into a struggling franchise and seeing if I can help them win," is the ultimate sign that he thinks he's better than you. Wait until Philadelphia picks up on that one.
Well, it would be the only thing Philadelphia will pick up on that has to do with Matt Harvey.
It's apparent that Harvey has a little Joe Willie Namath in him. It isn't necessarily a bad thing. He has all the tools to be a crossover star and he's using all of them. Before the firestorm happened I was thinking how great it was that Harvey was enjoying his fame without falling victim to it … and then it happened. The commentary of the concerned citizen above was sent to me on Thursday night. The part about everything Harvey says being taken out of context happened just hours later. The problem is that for as much Joe Willie as Harvey might have in him, he's in the wrong era for it. Joe Willie couldn't survive now. He could go to nightclubs in the 60's and people would celebrate him and long to have the life he has. Now every nightclub trip would land him on Page Six and 10,000 cell phone cameras.
The lesson learned for Harvey? Watch out for anyone trading on your name. Perhaps Men's Journal isn't the best choice of publication to portray the real Matt Harvey rather than one created by Men's Journal who wants to do nothing but "bro it up". Although they got what they wanted with all the publicity. But the bottom line is this: If Matt Harvey keeps doing what he did today on the mound? Or pretty much all season? Then he could kiss mirrors, pose for centaur paintings, and sun himself on a rock in Central Park like a lizard for all I care. And the Philadelphia Taliban can pick up on it all they want. Because the moment Cole Hamels did this, they lost all moral high ground.