Matt Harvey needs to stop believing his own hype.
He is not Batman and doesn’t have any magical gadgets to miraculously repair his failing body.
Nor is he billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, who can stay out all night with supermodels, since someone else is running his fictional corporation.
No, millionaire Matt Harvey still must play baseball for a living and for him to keep up his very comfortable New York lifestyle he needs to produce on the field.
Therein lies the problem.
Frankly, nobody cares if Harvey celebrates Cinco de Mayo to the wee hours of the morning or plays a round of golf in the morning if he wins games on the mound, but he hasn’t been doing that recently.
This season he is 2-2 with a 5.14 ERA. Coming back from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery, you expected Harvey to have somewhat of a rough start, but after starting the season strong, he got racked the last few starts, most notably when the 28 year-old had to step in for Noah Syndergaard a couple of weeks ago.
Harvey said he wasn’t ready for that start because he was pushed up a day at the last minute, but there were reports he was out drinking the night before.
And then there was Friday. The New York Post reports Harvey was out to 4 a.m. partying before taking the day on Saturday.
If this is true, then Harvey may have a problem.
As someone who has been in this situation before and sometimes likes to turn out the lights in a bar, the general rule of thumb is that drinking isn’t a problem until you have a problem, meaning if you do not break the law, like getting behind the wheel of a car with a bag on, it doesn’t matter if you are doing something that’s legal on your own time if it doesn’t affect the other parts of your life.
A baseball player is expected in the clubhouse around 1:30 p.m. or 2 p.m. for a 7 p.m. game, unless told otherwise. Remember, there are many who do this and in the office at 9 a.m. the next morning, and there are historical stories about Mickey Mantle drinking the next day’s opposing pitcher under the table before hitting a 400-foot tape measure shot off him.
But that was a different time and many office workers can mail in a day behind the desk, while a professional athlete needs to produce with his physical performance. Now baseball players can’t take the greenies anymore to recover from a night out, either.
Times have changed.
Harvey needs to learn his body has changed. With a new tendon in his elbow and one less rib, it’s very possible his he doesn’t react the same way to a night out as he did in the past. He may recover slower. Plus, he’s getting older and we all know the older you get the longer it takes to recover from tying one on.
He isn’t The Dark Knight anymore. He’s a mid to back of the rotation pitcher, who comes with two surgeries and a lot of off the field baggage. It is what it is.
Now for the hard part. Harvey needs to grow up and gain the trust of his teammates back. The Mets are not going to trade him just yet, because the trade value to broken down clubhouse cancers seems to be pretty slim, so he has to clear his name with the other 24 who wear the blue and orange.
And he needs to concentrate on his profession. He needs to see if he can fully come back from his surgery and become the pitcher we say in 2013 and 2015. Harvey is a free agent after next season. He’s not considered an innings eater and will learn the hard way teams won’t be lining up for his services.
Put the bottle away and concentrate on the mound.
Otherwise, Harvey’s baseball career will a very lonely one and he will go from Batman to journeyman very quickly.