After a tense tenure with the Mets, Matt Harvey has new teammates on a new team, giving him a fresh opportunity to do things right.
If you haven’t heard about the Matt Harvey story, it isn’t one full of praise. Yes, his time in New York was riddle with brief success, painful failure, and plenty of drama to go around. Matt Harvey wasn’t always a headcase, though. He came into the league and delivered, showing promise of being one the elite pitchers in the league.
We have to examine his timeline to see just what went wrong. He had an impressive start to his career, becoming an all star in just his second year in the league in 2013. In August of that same year, he tore his UCL. This culminated in him receiving Tommy John surgery, which ended up sidelining him until 2015.
During his rehab, he clashed with the team over where he wanted to complete his rehabilitation. He was also a target of some controversy, showing up to Derek Jeter’s final game at Yankee stadium and also being pictured giving the hospital that performed his surgery the middle finger. Slightly understandable, for a promising young talent that became hampered with a serious injury.
Come September of 2015, Harvey’s doctor states that he should only pitch 180 innings for the season. Harvey tells the Mets to respect this, and mentions he won’t pitch in the playoffs. Shortly thereafter, Matt tells the media that he does intend to pitch in the playoffs, creating confusion for the team.
The following month, Harvey is completely absent during a mandatory practice in the playoffs. He comes equipped with excuses for his behavior, but was seen drinking the night before. That’s more than just a little suspicious!
Fast forward to November, and the Mets have managed to make it into the World Series. It’s game 5, and Harvey has pitched 8 successful innings and has given his team the lead. He makes a controversial decision to go back on the mound for the ninth inning, during which his actions lead to his team blowing the lead, and losing the series.
Harvey has mentioned that his workload during that 2015 season caused additional surgeries. Whether that is true or not, Harvey had the option to pitch less, but opted to continue playing so he could get playoff experience, including on the biggest stage in the World Series.
In March of 2016, Harvey spats with reporters and refuses to answers questions. A minor occurrence, but a good glimpse at his state of mind during the time.
Everything climaxed with Harvey receiving a 3-game suspension. He once again failed to arrive to practice, but this time he said he got a headache after playing golf. At this point, Matt has made excuses on more than one occasion for missing team events.
City of Angels
Now, Matt finds himself with a new team in the Los Angeles Angels. He has vowed to be a better teammate, and to conduct himself as a professional. Harvey will turn 30 this year, but it can be easy to forget that he was still a very young man throughout the course of his injury.
For someone with so much talent and promise to feel unable to perform, it can be completely devastating. Most of the issues that happened during Harvey’s time with the Mets were a product of a young man being unable to perform as well as he once did. For a young star athlete, losing your skill can make you feel helpless.
It is no excuse for his behavior, and there is no doubt he’s an interesting man. All I’m saying is that there was a lot more to the situation than just the drama he caused. Without the injury, it’s possible he could have still caused issues, but he did become injured. We can only look at what actually happened.
No matter what happened or why, Harvey now does have a fresh start. How he chooses to behave and interact with his new team can help us see who he really is as a man. If he can turns things around and work on his image, many of his past faults can be forgiven.