By now you’re likely aware of Mets pitcher Matt Harvey having not shown up to the park last Saturday, and how he instead opted to stay home because of the worst headache of his life.
You’re also likely aware he was purportedly out until closing time celebrating Cinco de Mayo the night before and golfed Saturday morning; that the Mets suspended him for three games without pay; that he’s considered filing a grievance; and that this is not an isolated instance of confusion and mismanagement around the Mets.
Harvey says it was a miscommunication. The team very clearly has said otherwise:
“There are rules here that weren’t adhered to, and we took a stance.”
“We had to do something. We have a policy here and we had to do something.”
“I know it’s dramatic, but I think any team in baseball probably would have reacted very similarly.”
Those are all quotes from manager Terry Collins who, for better or worse, can’t seem to speak about anything frustrating without actually being frustrated – like he’s agitated he has to talk about an issue at all.
The team had a miscommunication of their own earlier that week when they alerted Harvey that he’d be starting a day before expected, was sore from lifting, had no time to adjust his routine, and got blown up in 5.1 innings against Atlanta.
I’m not trying to absolve Harvey of his behavior when I say this – his teammates didn’t exactly back him and he’s since apologized at length – but can we really blame him in the first place? Regardless of whether you believe him or the Mets in any of the nonsense recently surrounding the team, has he been put in a position to act better?
The Mets have created a faultless environment. No one’s been responsible for a long time. That means no one has had to listen. No one has had to pay attention to what someone else is doing. No one has had to process what it is to be on the same page. There’s a perception that they’ve succeeded as much as they have in spite of management, not because of it. And, again, whether you believe it or not isn’t really the point. It’s that the perception is out there.
Reshaping one’s image is a long haul task the Mets aren’t prepared to embrace right now. In fact, they completely punt each chance they get. It’s not on Matt Harvey. He’s simply an attempted product from an imbalanced equation.