Matt Harvey’s unexcused absence from a mandatory Citi Field workout Wednesday left SNY analyst Keith Hernandez, “flabbergasted”, while the New York Post’s David Lennon called Harvey, “the Mets’ version of Alex Rodriguez”. Putting aside for a moment the manner in which one of Hernandez’ 1986 teammates couldn’t bother to attend a World Series victory parade (or that Harvey’s fondness for West Village eateries and the occasional cocktail is not exactly the same thing as being injected with human growth hormone), the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman finds this all a bit overblown. “The same media types who had a problem with Harvey’s Citi workout no-show, or his initial reluctance to tear down the Scott Boras-inspired innings limit controversy,” reminds Raissman, “were the ones who prematurely bestowed star status on him.”
The lovefest (remember how gaga it got around here during his All-Star appearance at Citi) went far beyond his ability to throw a baseball. Those who now castigate him over such major missteps, routinely portrayed Harvey as not only a talent, but one with attitude and personality. They admired his ability to shuttle seamlessly between star pitcher and bold face gossip column item.
That Harvey was an original, one who appeared to be carrying around a chip on his shoulder while oozing confidence, turned him into a media darling. Harvey gave the Mets an identity, an air of toughness they sorely lacked and desperately needed to change a losing culture inside the clubhouse and with fans on the outside.
We are left to wonder if anyone who took part in building Harvey’s premature legend, saw any signs of this selfish, me-first side they now have such major issues with?