Royals World Series Hero Matt Harvey Once Again Done In By Pride

Howard Simmons/New York Daily News

Howard Simmons/New York Daily News

Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, a surly man with a 7.00 ERA, refused a demotion to the minor leagues on Friday in yet another example of millennial entitlement in the workplace. Barring a mental lapse (or mere pettiness) from the Yankees, Harvey’s days in New York City are over.

It’s a staggering plunge for the former emperor of New York baseball. In his first full season, Mets fans celebrated Harvey’s starts like holidays, models lined up just to be seen with the hottest thing in town, and he even started the All-Star Game in his home stadium. Elbow surgery erased his 2014 season, but the next year Harvey picked up where he left off and led the Mets to the World Series for the first time in a decade and a half. Baseball’s Joe Namath was on a Hall of Fame trajectory.

Harvey’s rise-and-fall story has a very sharp and specific peak which just happened to play out on national television, much to my delight. In Game 5 of that 2015 World Series, with the Mets down three games to one, Harvey whipped the home crowd into a frenzy with eight shutout innings and nine strikeouts. But after 102 pitches, he started to look gassed. With the Mets three outs away from a 2-0 victory and new life in the series, manager Terry Collins decided to replace Harvey with reliable closer Jeurys Familia. Harvey held a different opinion.

It was to be an iconic moment, regardless of the outcome. Gotham’s ace, the heroic Dark Knight, a 26-year-old savior of the punchline franchise, demanded to finish the job in the ninth inning. He did not.

Eric Hosmer scored the tying run after doubling off Harvey, and the Royals scored five in the 12th inning to secure the series in front of a stunned Mets crowd. Whether they were willing to admit it then, Harvey’s hubris was their undoing.

Harvey got off to a poor start the next season, had shoulder surgery that June, stunk out loud in 2017 and served up more of the same this spring. His career ERA before the ninth inning of that World Series was 2.53; his ERA since is 5.93. It is unlikely he ever regains the power and control he wielded before his surgeries, to say nothing of the confidence that brought him to that moment in the dugout. But I remain forever loyal to Matt Harvey, the man who helped deliver a World Series to Kansas City. Long live the Dark Knight. |ES|