New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica put New York Mets injured ace Matt Harvey squarely in the crosshairs Monday, firing off a cranky column which—apparently—calls out the 25-year-old right-hander for wanting to come back to pitch sooner rather than later.
You know, the sort of thing many athletes get crushed by columnists such as Lupica for not doing.
One of these days, Matt Harvey needs to remember—and that probably means before he hurts his arm again—that his job is to be a star young baseball pitcher, not some sort of needy celebrity who acts as if he gets the bends when he is out of the spotlight for very long.
Understand something: The Mets need Harvey a lot more than he needs them, as long as he comes all the way back from Tommy John surgery and pitches for them the way Stephen Strasburg is now pitching for the Washington Nationals, a team in the NL East that treats the Mets like they’re a farm team.
It is why the Mets, and that means ownership and general manager Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins, still have to be as careful handling Harvey right now as Harvey should be with a right arm that could still make him a couple of hundred million dollars before he is through.
OK, so we’re all clear—an athlete trying to come back from injury as quickly as possible is bad in Lupica’s world. Of course, if an athlete were to delay coming back, Lupica would be all over that, as well, as he was all over Carl Pavano during Pavano’s New York Yankees’ days.
But apparently, what really got Lupica’s goat was Harvey’s attention-seeking, diva-esque behavior.
If you are a Mets fan, do you really need to hear that Harvey is throwing the ball 90 miles per hour these days, and putting it where he wants to, which means he is throwing for real? Maybe if he could come riding over the hill like the First Army in a real division race, and a real wild-card race, and be the hero of September, you could start to wrap your mind around him moving up the timetable of his return.
Lupica closed with this piece of advice:
But Terry Collins, who may or may not get to manage Harvey next season, is absolutely right to tell Harvey to back off. It is a polite way of telling the kid to shut up and pitch. Next season. And to get over himself while this season plays out.
If nothing else, Lupica has proved once again the old adage is true: There really is no pleasing some folks.