The Dark Knight ushered out of Gotham

Matt Harvey's Mets career comes to a sad end

Howard Simon
May 08, 2018 - 10:49 am

Photo: Noah K. Murray - USA TODAY Sports

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In July of 2013, Matt Harvey of the New York Mets was the starting pitcher for the National League in the All Star game at Citifield, the Mets home.

In May of that year, an article at The Athletic referred to Harvey as the most exciting pitcher in baseball. Five years later, Harvey's career in blue and orange has come to an end.

As a lifelong Mets fan, Harvey's plummet from king of New York City to ex-Met is one of the sadder things I've witnessed and believe me, as a Mets fan, I have lived through plenty of sad times.

You could see this day coming for a while now so there was no shock when the story came out that the Mets had designated their former ace for assignment. Harvey had been a shell of himself since dealing with thoracic outlet syndrome.

Harvey looked like a guy who had pitched himself off the roster in 2017, but some bright spots in spring training gave Mets fans a glimmer of hope. Once Harvey lost his spot in the starting rotation, it was just a matter of time for the Mets and the seventh overall pick in the 2010 draft to part ways.

It's sad for me because of where Harvey was in 2012 and 2013. He was the only reason to watch the woeful Mets play. When Harvey reached the majors in 2012, he immediately put Mets fans on notice that a special arm talent was in town. In his 10 starts that season, Harvey had a 2.73 earned average and struck out 70 batters in 59 innings pitched.

The next season, Harvey lowered his ERA to 2.27 and registered 191 k's in 178 innings. He had command of four different pitches, including a fastball in the high 90s, a hard breaking curve and a devastating change up. Harvey was must-watch television for a team that won just 74 games that year. In fact, I would actually root for the Mets to go down quickly in their half inning so Harvey could get back out on the mound.

He was the most exciting Mets pitcher since Dwight Gooden in the mid- to late-1980s. I, like many older Mets fans, thought Harvey could actually go down as the second best pitcher in Mets history behind the legendary Tom Seaver.

Nicknamed the Dark Knight, when Harvey pitched at home, fans would wear Batman masks. He singularly gave Mets fans hope that the franchise could be built around him.

Harvey missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but he bounced back nicely in 2015 and was part of a thrilling rotation that helped drive the Mets to their first World Series berth in 15 years. But injuries derailed his 2016 campaign and that was the beginning of the end.  

It was painful to watch Harvey pitch the last two-plus seasons. He had lost about five miles per-hour off his fastball and his location was spotty at best. This season, it looked like he was just throwing meatballs to the plate.

If or when Harvey ends up starting for another team, I certainly hope he can re-gain his form and continue his big-league career, but I don't expect that to happen. The Matt Harvey story is a painful reminder of how fleeting success can be when it comes to sports, and how there are no guarantees or sure-fire locks. In 2012 and 2013, Matt Harvey was a sure fire lock. Now, he feels more like a flash in the pan.

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