Let Me Try And Explain What Matt Harvey Means to Met Fans
In case you don’t follow Major League baseball, the New York Mets have a pitcher named Matt Harvey. He’s been something of a sensation this year. The Mets are 7-2 in games he starts and 9-21 in all other games. That’s not a misprint. Lots of teams have excellent young pitchers, so to truly understand why Matt Harvey is a borderline Messiah, you must first understand the psyche of your average Met fan…
…which means you must be ready to understand pain.
You merely adopted the dark, Met fans were born in it. The team’s struggles over the last 30 years have been well documented, so much so that I don’t feel the need to rehash them here. Suffice to say the bad outweighs the good. To make matters worse, Met fans have rarely had any player to call our own. For better or worse, fans feel a special attachment to quality players who they have watched grow, those guys who have come up through a team’s farm system and whom we watch develop into All Stars on the major league level. This is why Yankee fans will always love Jeter, Posada and Rivera more than Texaira or Sabathia. There is something about “your guys”. Met fans don’t have too many of these guys. Jose Reyes and Darryl Strawberry both left during the prime of their careers. Edgardo Alfonso got hurt, Howard Johnson got old, and Rey Ordonez never learned to hit. Alex Ochoa, Fernando Martinez, Lastings Milledge and Butch Husky never panned out the way we had hoped. The Mets’ single season leaderboard is filled with guys acquired from other teams. Mike Piazza, John Olerud, Lance Johnson, Bernard Gilkey and Carlos Beltran were all brought in to be our guys but they always had the feeling of step children. You say you love them but they have some other fan base’s DNA all over them. It’s not the same.
It’s no better on the pitching side. Sure there is Tom Seaver, but then Nolan Ryan got traded too young, Dwight Gooden discovered cocaine, David Cone was traded, and Generation K never panned out. Oh Generation K; Paul Wilson, Jason Isringhausen and Bill Pulsipher. It’s difficult for Met fans over 25 to get excited about Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler without conjuring bad memories of Generation K.
They were young and brash and threw gas. They were going to lead the Mets back to prominence until they didn’t. Until former Mets’ manager Dallas Green blew their arms out, back in the 90s before Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, and before the novel concepts of innings limits or pitch counts for young pitchers had ever been conceived.
So there it is, we have David Wright and now Matt Harvey. It’s not hyperbole to say that the other 23 players would make up the worst roster in Major League baseball including the Astros, who are conducting their own sort of Rachelle Phelps experiment in Houston.
Once every five games Matt Harvey pitches and on those days we can beat anybody. He is ours and we don’t take kindly to other fan bases insinuating that he will look good in their colors in a few years when he’s a free agent. Met fans are like the kid on the block with no friends but a Nintendo game system. Nobody else has one, and it’s the shining beacon of hope in an otherwise depressing existence.
We alternate between the joy of playing Duck Hunt and the fear that it will blow its’ arm out and need Tommy John surgery.
— The King of Retro ® (@TheKingofRetro) August 20, 2015