By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard
Ask around baseball and just about everyone will tell you that New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey has some amazing stuff. His stuff was so good that many felt it was only a matter of time before he won a Cy Young or two. His potential was so high that ESPN’s E:60 did an hour long show on him even though he had never pitched a full major league season and was coming off of Tommy John surgery. Now with his season over due to another injury to his throwing arm it’s time to ask, should Matt Harvey been put up on the pedestal in the first place?
Harvey went down with a season ending arm injury this past week. It’s his second season ending injury in his very short major league career. Questions abound but it is pretty clear that he will never be the show stopping pitcher people made him out to be.
Here are the facts: Harvey has a combined 29-28 record as a starting pitcher. While he has some impressive stats like a career 2.97 era and a 4.41 strikeout to walk ratio, he has pitched only one full major league season (2015) and has only one complete game in his career.
With this in mind, it makes you wonder why ESPN’s E:60 would dedicate an entire show to a player who has yet to play an entire major league season.
ESPN weren’t the only ones of course, Sports Illustrated put him on the cover back in 2013. The hype around him was palpable.
Now, he starts over again as he undergoes surgery.
The rhetorical question is, would Harvey have received the same coverage if he wasn’t in New York? The answer is no. If he came up in the Houston Astros organization no one would given a damn.
Madison Bumgarner and Felix Hernandez have each thrown over 200 innings in one of Harvey’s major league seasons. Clayton Kershaw isn’t far behind (he only threw 198.1 innings in 2014 but threw 232 in 2015) and neither is the Chicago White Sox Chris Sale or the Washington Nationals Max Scherzer. Where is their hour long special and over the top coverage? This group has won World Series titles, the Cy Young award, thrown no-hitters and perfect games.
Matt Harvey hasn’t.
Look Matt Harvey sells. He’s an interesting guy and makes a good story in the biggest media market in the world. This means that he makes media companies money but that doesn’t make him a great pitcher. The media put Harvey up on a pedestal, labeled him ‘The Real Dark Knight’ and they got it wrong. It’s not the first time it has happened and it certainly won’t be the last.
If you are going to be given this kind of coverage he should have to earn it. You should be carrying your team to championships, winning awards, and making All-Star teams. If you do this that means you are shutting down the opposing teams best hitters. It means you end your teams four game losing streak during the dog days of summer. It means that you go to the manager and say, ‘yeah I can pitch on two days rest’ when it’s game seven of the World Series and then go shut the opposing team down.
That’s when you get the big media coverage. Not before.
None of this is Matt Harvey’s fault. He would much rather be out on the mound showing everyone that he is better than the pitcher everyone thought he would be. But he’s not and media is going to let him know it. The media rushed to judgement and put another young athlete on a pedestal he didn’t belong on. It’s them who should be having season ending surgery and not Harvey.