Matt Harvey has to know by now he’s out of apologies to give. The Mets seem to know it, their actions showed as much when they hit Harvey with a three-game suspension for the latest mess he’s gotten himself into.
This Friday night Harvey returns to the mound for New York, fresh off of suspension, and a week’s worth of embarrassing publicity. His credibility, yet again, took another body blow.
The problem with Harvey isn’t so much this one incident, where he was out doing some late-night partying while the next day recovering at home instead of showing up to the ballpark where he was supposed to be, it’s the fact there have now been multiple incidents with one common theme.
Harvey’s inability to grow up continuing to impede his progression as a professional, this is now beyond troubling.
Harvey is 28 years old, still young and entering his prime. He’s made mistakes, and because he’s human he’ll make plenty more. The flip side to that is in the real world we all have a spending limit on apologies and Harvey has run out of credit.
It’s been a long time since Harvey Day was mentioned as something to look forward to around Citi Field. What used to be an event, every five days, has now been supplanted by talk of what’s next for Harvey after the Mets close the door on him like how team legends Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza did for Shea Stadium.
Only this time it won’t be a door closed on good memories to look fondly on, instead just a field of what-ifs and empty seats with the smell of wasted potential in the air.
If Harvey doesn’t get that by now, after yet another apology, then he’s about to find out how a person who has it all can lose it in a New York minute.
In the eyes of Mets fans, there was a time where Harvey could do no wrong. Poor decision-making off the field, combined with inconsistency on it, has changed that narrative entirely for the worst. His word is no longer good enough and he’ll have to accept this as his new reality.
It’s not a prison sentence, it’s just reality. If Harvey wants to escape this feeling of failure that seems to be looming over his Mets career, it’s time he stopped talking about what’s going to change and instead just start putting the work in to make that change.
Maybe Harvey should put the Dark Knight of Gotham down for a little while and watch Gladiator instead. Maximus, played by Russell Crowe, was told quite simply to “win the crowd and you’ll win your freedom”. Someone should advise Harvey and remind him he’s now in a similar position.
When Harvey takes the mound, Friday night in Milwaukee, fans will be watching and some will be waiting to pass judgment at the first sign of trouble.
It won’t, however, just be the fans watching.
Harvey must also answer to his teammates. Those very same teammates, when questioned about his latest screwup, had his back this past weekend. Sure, they said the right things in front of the cameras and tape recorders. But it’s not crazy to wonder what else they were thinking when those same camera lights and recorder devices were not in the clubhouse.
Winning cures all and Harvey needs a win right now. The Mets, injury-depleted once again, also need Harvey to start winning ballgames again sooner than later.
No more apologies, no more talk of what you’re going to do better. Harvey’s quickest cure to his troubles as a Met is simply to win ballgames again. If he understands this, he’ll win back the crowd.