In my retirement freedom of being able to root for a team, I found myself cowering under the covers, expressing the new Mets-fan mantra of “Please, not him.”
This was my version of the Friday night horror show, watching Matt Harvey trudge in from the bullpen for a session of morale-building – at the fans’ expense, at the cost of my delayed sleep.
Finally, in advanced age, I am getting to feel what fans around the world experience when the soccer manager posts an obviously irrational lineup or the basketball coach stubbornly sticks with a shooter who has clearly lost the touch.
Fan screams at TV screen….or car radio….or distant figure in stadium: “Please, not that one.”
The Mets – the only club I root for, in any sport – are currently stuck with a former star who has lost it physically and apparently psychically. Harvey was a creature of the media and the fans and himself, who celebrated him as The Dark Knight, a figure out of an action movie or a comic book. He broke some club rules, was seen around town at odd times, and then committed the worst infraction of all: he got hurt.
The new manager, Mickey Callaway, has been preaching accountability, no more star system, and when the post-surgical Harvey failed in his share of starts, Callaway sent him to the bullpen. The Dark Knight insisted he was just starting to get the feel, and he displayed his unhappiness by glowering in what is normally a place of congeniality.
That leads us to Friday night in San Diego, when Jacob DeGrom pitched his third straight masterful start and left with a 5-0 lead in the eighth. In the ninth, Manager Feelgood sent in Harvey as Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen politely noted on tv that a five-run lead is not exactly a lock these days. They could have added, particularly with Jeurys Familia in a slump.
Boom, somebody hit a leadoff homer. Harvey was barely reaching the 90s – with his fastball. He looked lost, and the broadcasters noted it, low key, as Familia warmed up in a hurry. But Harvey got out of it, and DeGrom and the Mets had a victory.
There’s not much the Mets can do with Harvey, who is a free agent at the end of the year, and can decline a trip to the minors, from what I read. But I would like to propose the new manager refrain from character-building for the erstwhile Dark Knight.
May I say: Mopups are when you are behind – way behind.
My advice dispensed into the night air, I could pursue the fitful sleep of the Mets fan, any fan.
4/28/2018 09:57:35 am
Comments section may be broken again. My prayer is that these words of your mind reach God’s ears, but Weebly may still be in the way.
4/28/2018 10:08:54 am
Funny. Right after they went dormant for six days, they got bought. But your comment up and running. GV
4/28/2018 10:28:35 am
Yes. We have to sign up to comment.
4/28/2018 10:32:59 am
Do you think if his performance on the field continues like this and his attitude continues to be bad off the field, if not get worse, that there is a chance the Mets would release him before the end of the season?
4/28/2018 11:41:17 am
George, I've missed commenting on your takes regarding Ed Charles and Rusty Staub (heroes all in my youth). May I add that the age of 14 (which I was in 1969) is the optimum age to be a baseball fan where one has appreciation of players talents and stats but still sees the game through rose colored glasses. On to Mr. Harvey. I have supported the players union from the time Marvin Miller towered over the owners. Players should get as much as they can due to their unique talents and their short career spans. HOWEVER! Once a player signs a contract they are obligated to work toward the success of the team. Going back, when Mike Piazza intimated that moving to first base would possibly embarrass him, I thought he should have quietly taken reps at first base and seen what would have transpired. Last season when Asdrubal Cabrera was asked to play second he demanded to be traded. Ridiculous. At this point, I don't think Matt Harvey's game is worth the candle. His lousy attitude is more indicative of his pitching talent than whether he is a starter or in the bullpen.
4/28/2018 11:47:04 am
Good points. Piazza fina
4/29/2018 03:08:23 pm
From SNY.TV I give you Jay Bruce, a true professional.
Edwin W Martin
4/28/2018 01:41:56 pm
At 14 and 15 I went to Ebbets Field as often as possible, listened to Red and Connie and fell in love with What would become The Boys of Summer, 1946-47.
4/28/2018 11:41:18 am
Good question. I would give the mgr to mid-season, but if Harvey is unusable -- and a depressant to players around him -- I don't see a down side. He's a free agent after this year, so either way they would be paying a half season of salary for a pitch who can't help them. (as I understand it....not as close to details as I used to be.) Thanks, GV
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From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.