I never saw it coming. When we posted our staff predictions for the 2018 season back in March, I wrote that Matt Harvey would become the first player in MLB history to win the Comeback Player Award twice. Maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part, but I envisioned a return to greatness for the one-time phenom.
Perhaps not the sort of greatness we saw in 2013, when Matt Harvey started the All Star Game and finished 4th in the Cy Young voting in the first full season of his career. He only registered nine wins in that breakthrough season despite leading the majors with a 2.01 FIP and a gaudy 2.18 ERA, 0.936 WHIP and 6.5 WAR. If he had gotten even league average run support from his team, Harvey would have been a 18-game winner while making only 26 starts that season.
However, I did envision the kind of greatness we saw in 2015, when Harvey returned from Tommy John surgery and defied all odds with the best post-TJS season the game had ever seen. He posted a 4.8 WAR that year to go with a 2.71 ERA, a 1.012 WHIP, and the feeling that he was utterly invincible and befitting of his super-sized moniker, The Dark Knight.
But alas, there would be no greatness for Matt Harvey in 2018, in fact, far from it. After three years of high drama, in-fighting with Mets management, a toxic relationship with the press, and a series of self-inflicted wounds, it all came crashing down for Harvey…. His time in Gotham has officially come to a bitter end.
It’s a sad story and in many ways a cautionary tale. Like the mythical Icarus of lore, Matt Harvey flew too close to the sun and his once-bright future and promising career both plunged to their unfortunate demise.
It would be difficult to find a more polarizing figure in Mets history than Matt Harvey, who for a time was once the most celebrated and likable player in New York sports. Today, he’s looked upon with pity and apathy at best, and to many of his once-devoted fans, he’s become a pariah.
My hope is that when all the raw emotion and hurt of the last 24 hours subside, that history will be kinder to Matt Harvey. I hope that most fans will remember the good times with some small measure of pride and gratitude.
I always wondered what that old adage “the pride before the fall” meant, but not anymore. It perfectly defines the phenomenal, magnificent, turbulent, and ultimately sad saga of Matt Harvey.
I wish Matt Harvey well going forward, both professionally and personally. Though the light of this once bright star has certainly dimmed, his many incredible and thrilling moments with the Orange and Blue will never fade with this Mets fan.