This is one spring competition the New York Mets didn’t want to see — previous and future ace Matt Harvey, four months removed from Tommy John surgery, wants to be with the team in New York as he recovers.
The Mets would really prefer Harvey stayed behind in Port St. Lucie, far away from the pressures and distractions that come along with being simultaneously famous, rich and utterly useless while living in Manhattan.
Harvey, represented by super aggressive super-agent Scott Boras, has final say in the matter, as the Mets need the pitcher’s written approval to keep him in Florida for more than 20 days.
Harvey’s holding the ball here. He can become a distracting variable in an otherwise pressure-free season (Harvey has also entertained the teasing notion of a late-season return), or he can choose this very moment to remove himself from the Mets’ 2014 equation.
Hopefully he makes the right decision, foregoing Broadway’s bright lights for palm trees and all the fresh orange juice he can drink. In case I have to make it perfectly clear, stay away, Matt!
This isn’t about Harvey doing what’s right for the Mets, his teammates, the media, the married supermodels of New York City or the fans. It’s about doing what’s right for Harvey.
Stay in Florida and enjoy your big league friends for as long as you can, Mr. Harvey. Watch them leave you behind when the games start to matter. Get a little angrier. Get a little more focused. Let yourself get a little lonely. Let a little doubt creep in… What if the Mets do fine without you?
For one year. Fight through it all, Harvey. Return to Spring Training next February, chomping at the bit to recapture the back pages, to claim Derek Jeter’s throne as baseball’s King of New York, to dominate the National League again.
But for now, do everyone a big favor and rent a nice condo in Vero Beach. Build your arm strength. Learn to enjoy virgin pina coladas while watching games on your iPad. Visit Disney World or go fishing. Find your “inner self.” Whatever, just stay far away from the Big Apple at all costs.
We will all be better for it. It’s true, and you can thank me after Opening Day 2015.