The Dark Hype

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.

The Sunday: A Bad Week

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Dempsey Sent Off

US National team star Clint Dempsey was suspended three matches by MLS for his actions which led him to be sent off during a US Open Cup match last week. Dempsey took the referee’s notebook, tossed it and then picked it up and ripped it in half.

It’s not a good look for Dempsey or MLS. Apparently if a player takes the referee’s notebook it is supposed to trigger a six match ban and is considered an act of assault.

 

Fox Fails At Golf

A couple of topics for discussion during this years US Open at Chambers Bay. Most have to do with the golfers or the course (which a lot of players say is just terrible) and another is with Fox Sports’ coverage. Covering golf is a new thing for Fox and it showed during the tournament. Upsetting fans seemingly at every turn. From the leader board crashing to a vignette of Jason Dufner going to Seahawks practice instead of showing actual golf.

ForTheWin probably has the best summary of the coverage and well worth the read. While some argue that golf needs to get younger no golf fan young or old turns on the TV because you have a drone. They tune in to watch Rory McIlroy nail a 72 foot putt

 

The One You Want Back

Max Scherzer was literally one strike away from having Major League Baseball’s 24th perfect game. That one pitch that ended up hitting Pittsburgh Pirates pinch-hitter Jose Tabata. Ouch. It’s not all bad news for Scherzer, he did get the no hitter and lowered his ERA to 1.76 while retiring 54 of the last 57 batters he has faced.