clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Matt Harvey's injury, the Mets, and priorities

A point-counterpoint about what Matt Harvey's injury means.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Point: The Mets are built for 2015 anyway

The Mets weren't going anywhere in 2014. They weren't going to ride Matt Harvey to a miracle World Series run. So if it had to happen -- if there was always a ticking timer in Harvey's elbow -- this timing was almost fortuitous. Zack Wheeler still needs to refine his control. Noah Syndergaard is still a couple of days away from his 21st birthday, so it's probably not fair to project top-of-the-rotation dominance from him right away. Jenrry Mejia could use another season to stretch out after his Tommy John surgery and bone-spur surgery.

And when that's all done coalescing, Harvey will return. The odds are good that he'll be the same pitcher eventually. He'll join a young rotation with the experience and chops necessary to contend in the NL East. If the Mets find some complementary hitters around David Wright, they'll be a force.

It's a shame that Harvey is injured. But if it had to happen, if there was no choice, it's better now than later, when the Mets might have a shot at this thing. When the Mets are ready, maybe Harvey will be, too.

Counterpoint: But I liked watching Matt Harvey pitch, you ass

You ass. You unconscionable, inconsiderate ass. I liked watching Matt Harvey pitch. In baseball games. I liked watching Matt Harvey pitch in baseball games. It was one of the highlights of my week. It was the highlight of the week for a lot of baseball fans. He was one of the best stories of the season, good Mets team or bad. And now he's broken.

I'm not a Mets fan, so maybe it's too easy for me to dismiss the talk about "windows" and "success cycles" when it's not my team. But I have a pretty good imagination. And I can imagine what I'd be thinking if I were a Mets fan. It wouldn't have anything to do with the 2015 resurgence, or the 2016 Mets championship that's still in play.

It would be all about this: Dammit, dammit so much, now I don't to get watch Harvey pitch. Who cares about 2015? Dammit, dammit so much.

That's my best guess, anyway. It's so easy to get caught in a binary trap with baseball teams. Make the playoffs? Successful. Don't make the playoffs? Failure. Win the World Series? Successful. Anything else? Failure. I get caught up in it, too, every year. When the Giants were going right with Barry Bonds in the late-'90s and early-'00s, every season ended with one of those descriptions of failure. It was always a long offseason of moping and what-ifs.

Very rarely did I stop to think, wow, I'm literally watching one of the most ridiculous hitters of all-time every day. If I did stop to think that, it wasn't often enough.

And in 2005, when Bonds had knee surgery that would keep him out for almost the entire season, everything melted. No, the Giants weren't supposed to be good that season. But, hot damn, I liked watching Barry Bonds play baseball. He made the game better, and not just the wins and losses. He made baseball better, aesthetically. He made everything better. Beer was more refreshing. Hot dogs didn't have the same raccoon taste to them. The prizes in the Cracker Jack were more fun.

The 2005 season was a horrible season, then. Not just because of the 75-87 record and the third-place finish, but because there wasn't enough Bonds. Not enough Bonds contributed to that 75-87 record, too. It was a vicious cycle.

For some reason, I don't think Mets fans really needed to stop and think about what Harvey meant, or how enjoyable his starts were. For the first time in years, the Mets had baseball worth setting a timer for. Part of the fun was daydreaming about what the Harvey/Wheeler/Syndergaard troika could accomplish, sure, but it didn't need to be that forward-thinking. For two or three hours every five days, Mets fans could watch Matt Harvey be better at baseball than his peers. It didn't need to get more complicated than that.

Still, my first instinct was something like, "Oh, no, the Mets were building something so nice over there." I started thinking about 2014 and 2015, which inspired ol' Point up there. That was going to be the obvious, terrible point of the article. Then it became obvious that the real problem was fewer Matt Harvey starts, not necessarily fewer Matt Harvey wins (though there's obviously a correlation). Harvey makes watching Mets games better. Assuming that rest isn't enough to take care of the torn UCL, which it probably won't be, there won't be Harvey on the mound for another year, at least.

That's too long. It means there's going to be one fewer season of Harvey in general. At the bottom of the page, it's going to read "15 seasons" instead of "16 seasons," or "9 seasons" instead of "10 seasons." Everything else is incidental.

Ugh. I hate the human body. It's the biggest reason I've let myself go. Take that, you judgmental brain caddy. Think you're better than me ...

Maybe the Mets will be fine, just fine next year, or maybe they'll have a renaissance in 2040 that'll warm our hearts. Probably something in between. Right now, who cares? Baseball's duller, and not by a small amount. Godspeed, Matt Harvey. Good luck, ligaments.

This sucks.

More from Baseball Nation:

Max or Felix for Cy Young?

Brisbee: The PED apology I’m waiting to read

Neyer: On catchers and the concussion epidemic

Kitties on the field!