Tag Archives: Matt Harvey


Yes,  it’s not even June – I get that. But now is the time of the year when GM’s and managers begin to formulate their ideas about asking the question – who are the best 25 guys we’ve seen who can get us to the promised land in October?

And we’ve got a hole to fill here and there’s one there so let’s start thinking imageabout the waiver wire that will soon be active and trades to fortify those positions.

Except for maybe a seasoned vet to back up the unreliable and seemingly day to day spot at third base (David Wright – below) and a sure handed catcher to replace Travis Denard when he goes down with an injury every other week, the Mets appear to be set (with the ever present caveat – barring further injuries) and can move straight ahead to a minimum Wild Card spot in the Playoffs.

And yet,the decisive decision Terry Collins et al will have to make is already being seeded in the selection of his starting four (you don’t need five) as the playoffs begin to take shape. How will he (or more to the point of this piece)……how should he be setting up his rotation as the season moves steadily along in the coming months with an eye towards October when the only games that really count are played….

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At the end of the 2015 season, I wrote a piece about Bryce Harper that  still gets a lot of attention from Google. It was called Bryce Harper – Another Baseball Brat. As you might guess, it was not very flattering.

At the time, it irked me that while his team was limping to the finish line following an embarrassing and disappointing second place finish, imageHarper appeared to be in a vacuum of denial openly stating (paraphrasing) “Hey, I’ve got six more games to go, leave me alone would ya?”

Quite obviously, that bothered me because it didn’t take a giant leap to go from there to, “Hey, can’t you see I’m trying to win a MVP here?” (my quotes)

Now, I’m beginning to wonder not if I was wrong about him, but that maybe he is turning a corner this year and putting all that I/Me Me stuff behind him……..because if he is this kid is destined to have a monumental year for himself as well as being able to carry the Nationals on his back and into the playoffs……….

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Any business consultant advising a potential client will advise that the first  – and most important decision they will make in the process of starting up – is the location of their business. Where will you generate the most traffic? 

Pitching in the major leagues successfully is like that too. It’s not the velocity of the pitch, it’s the location of the pitch that matters. Nearly all hitters who reach the big leagues can turn on a 100mph fastball if it’s in their wheelhouse and the best hitters can do it even if the pitch is not in that zone but still catches the meat of the plate.

The difference though for a pitcher then, unlike a business , is that he wants and needs to be out of “traffic” in areas of the strike zone that fall in what’s known as “the black” part of the plate. Easier said than done.image

In July of last year, I wrote a column titled The Lost Art Of Pitching that received some attention but did not delve deeply enough into the subject matter. So today, let’s look deeper because what our eyes and hearts see is not often what you get when it comes to successful pitching and pitchers……..

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Imagine for a moment that you are Terry Collins sitting in your office on October 1st, your Mets have finally found life in their bats, and they have squeezed their way past all National League opponents, and for the second time in two years are ready to bring the challenges of the World Series to fruition by claiming World Series Royals Mets Baseballtheir first title in thirty years.

And as we know, it’s all about pitching, pitching, pitching in a short series – so there he sits pondering the question……..who do I start in that pivotal and all important first game? Thinking ahead, I realize that whoever I start has a chance, with travel days, to pitch three times if the series goes seven times. So, of my Core Four young and obscenely talented starters, who do I trust the most to go Lights Out and put the fear of God in opposing hitters………

This make believe future debate going on in Terry Collins’ mind is actually one that many fans and media are imagethinking about right now because the way the Mets staff is structured now it’s Harvey, Syndergaard, DeGrom, and Matz in that order for a short series assuming everyone is healthy……..which is a big assumption……but this is only fun if the Core Four remains intact.

And the hands down winner  – and once and for all ordained Ace of the Mets staff is…….Noah Syndergaard…….and here’s why……

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Along with me, you may be getting a bit annoyed with the episodic relapses  stemming from Matt Harvey’simage diva personality and his ensuing behavior. 

In his latest rant, he is refusing to speak with the media since last Wednesday because he didn’t like how  he was portrayed in local newspapers following a health scare he had related to a issue with his bladder.

Never mind that anyone living in the New York City area and with any intelligence at all knows that there are clear ways to distinguish  the New York Post and the Daily News from the New York Times, and that both papers use attention getting headlines to attract readers, and that some (actually many) of their headlines fall way short of being imageflattering to the subject of their story.

And never mind that Harvey brought this illness on himself by continuing to regularly “hold it in” instead of relieving the pressure on his bladder. But then again, this is what we expect little boys to do.

Harvey is not a kid. He’s 28 years old and it would be hard to imageimagine that the Mets front office as well as his teammates aren’t getting weary of making excuses for his propensity to whine every time adversity arises in his life.

Matt Harvey wants to be Joe Namath? No problem. Just know that there are consequences for going in that direction ……. because in this town you ain’t seen nothin’ yet……..

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I like David Wright. In fact, I like him a lot mostly because he personifies what my generation of Baby Boomers imagewant to see in someone who has the privilege of playing a boys game for big money at a high level with genuine modesty and appreciation for “the game”.

And I know that just yesterday I wrote a piece about the need for fans of my generation to Make Room For The Millennials  like Bryce Harper and Matt Harvey and to adjust to how imagethe game is being played today. There is no reason to take any of it back. And actually, the more I think about it the more I realize that I’m pretty late in coming around to what is pretty much a done deal anyway.

Still, there’s also something to be said for what is playing out in the training camp of the New York Mets, and in particular the struggles of David Wright to take a live swing in a live game this Spring…………..a full month since he reported early with the hope that this year would be different. But so far, it’s not shaping up that way for him…..

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I read with interest two recently published articles that essentially agreed with the same notion …….saying that baseball is a tired sport that needs to make room for a new breed of players who do

MLB: NLCS-St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgersnot conform to what we’ll call baseball’s Code Of Behavior. This code is largely unwritten and has traditionally been handed down intact from each generation of players to the next.

It includes (just to give some examples) stipulations that players should make themselves available to fans and media both before and after games. And further, that these exchanges should be friendly and accommodating at all times. When on the field, good sportsmanship should be displayed. There should be no attempts to “show up “images-35 another player or umpire. Off the field, always remember that it is a privilege to play this game at this level and your behavior should always reflect that. And so on…….

Now, the question becomes this……..what is baseball to do when prominent players of the millennial generation say, “No, I need to be me.” And in (mostly) a nice way communicating that if you don’t like who I am…….too bad……live with it……..

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Arguably, the New York Mets could have one of the best (or even the best) starting pitching staff ever assembled by a team in the Majors. Along with that (and with no argument), they also have one of the images-1cheapest staffs in the big leagues  – with a payroll coming in at the midway point of the thirty teams at $130 million (The Dodgers and Yankees lead with well over $200 million each).

But, the questions for the Mets are this……..how long is the party going to last and what will their staff look like when it’s over……… And how much success will they enjoy in the interim while the partying is cheap?

And where are the Mets going to find a billion dollars over the next two to four years to retain their premium staff………..because that’s what they’re going to need………

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The New York Mets have an opportunity to change the game of baseball this season by relinquishing the imageharnesses on their stud starting pitching staff and putting the current model of pitch counts and innings to rest where it belongs.

 Whether they will do it or not will be in play as the 2016 season moves ahead is another question, but here’s why they should seriously consider doing it………

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The arbitration process in baseball is democracy in action – almost. It’s too complicated to explain hereimage  (full lawyer like language here)  but basically players who have not yet reached free agency, but who have a minimum of three years of service with a team can enter a process in which they propose a salary figure for the next season while management does the same. An arbiter decides and it’s winner take all. What a fun way to encourage team building and unity, right?

Imagine yourself sitting there while your team tells you all of the reasons why you aren’t the hot stuff you thinkimage you are. Think there might not be some hard feelings there, especially if you lose the case?But, that’s the system as it is. But actually, it was the Players Association and Marvin Miller who championed the cause in 1974. Today, as we look back and ahead the old adage rings true…….be careful what you wish for………because…….

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