Mickey Callaway wants Matt Harvey to just be himself.
The new skipper went on SNY's Mets Hot Stove on Monday and claimed that Harvey doesn't need his Dark Knight persona to be successful.
"I think that's the key, is to make sure that getting him back to be anything. You want him to be the Matt Harvey he is today. But you want to get the most potential out of who he is," Callaway explained. "Some guys never throw with the same velo again. We had Ubaldo Jimenez in Cleveland, and he never threw 100 again, but we got some good innings out of him because we attacked the necessary areas and we accepted who he was."
While, in theory, that sounds great, it begs the question: What do you get with just plain ol' Matt Harvey?
Well, according to the stats, you get a 5.78 ERA.
The Dark Knight hasn't really made an appearance in Flushing since, what I've named, the "No Way" Game in the 2015 World Series, and his win/loss record certainly reflects that. You can obviously make the argument that plenty of that is due to injury, but as I said on WOR, you need to make the distinction between Matt Harvey the baseball player and Matt Harvey the celebrity. And to me, Dark Knight Matt Harvey is Matt Harvey the baseball player.
Callaway said we need to focus on getting the most out of the Matt Harvey he is today, but the Matt Harvey he is today isn't making headlines for shutout innings. He's making headlines for partying until 3:00 AM with supermodels, and then playing the next day visibly tired, disheveled, and with no control of his pitches. The Matt Harvey we have today has been unreliable, inconsistent, and without confidence.
The Dark Knight owned this city. New York belonged to Matt Harvey. I would kill to go to Flushing in April for a Harvey start and feel the electricity that I did when Citi Field was surrounded by signs and masks and capes. Imagine taking the mound to that every home start for three seasons and then knowing your fan base, who loved you so much, had lost all confidence and faith in you. I don't care who you are or how strong your sense of self is, that is going to throw you off your game.
I get that Callaway was saying he just might not have the same stuff anymore and we have to work with what he's got now, but I just don't believe that to be true. I'm not a manager, I'm not a player, I'm not a trainer, or anything of the sort and it might actually be possible that he doesn't have what he used to, but as a passionate fan who loves this team and who loved Matt Harvey, I refuse to accept that.
Harvey did what a lot of guys in his situation would have done. He became a superstar at a young age in the biggest market in sports, and went down a bad path. As Mets fans, we got upset because we can't stomach seeing a player with so much potential squander it. But we also messed up. We abandoned him, turned our backs on him, and booed him in his own home. It took away his confidence, and that's something any player will tell you is of paramount importance.
So, while I am incredibly excited about Callaway coming to New York and seeing what he's got up his sleeve, I have to disagree with him on this one. I want the Dark Knight.
If you're hitting the final home game on Thursday at Citi Field, swing by the Marina Lot to see some friends, maybe meet some new ones, and responsibly wash down your sorrows before heading inside.