Matt Harvey Deserves More Love Than Bartolo Colon
Because of the regular season, we normally overlook what happens on a particular day in the history of any franchise. For example, if it wasn’t for everyone wearing the number 42, it is very likely Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier on April 15 would be little more than a footnote year-in and year-out.
However, with there no baseball going on, we get to appreciate just how much significant events happen on the same day. For the Mets, on May 7th, there were two fairly significant events which happened.
The first was Matt Harvey‘s near no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox. This was back when Harvey was drawing Tom Seaver comparisons, and this game was a perfect example why. He was not just dominant, but he was pitching smart and effective. Really, none of the White Sox batters had a chance against him.
If not for Ruben Tejada, he would have had a perfect game. That’s how great he was on this day. If not for the Mets offense, he would have had a complete game shut out. Instead, he would have to settle for one of the most incredible no decisions you will ever see.
It is easy to forget but in 2013, Harvey is what gave Mets fans hope as they hoped the team would eventually turn the corner to become World Series contenders again. He started the All-Star Game in Citi Field, and he was neck-in-neck with Clayton Kershaw in the Cy Young chase until he succumbed to Tommy John. Remember, this was Kershaw at his peak, which was back when Kershaw might’ve been the best pitcher anyone has ever seen. Harvey was that great.
Three years later, May 7 would be the day Bartolo Colon did the seemingly impossible. Someone who was just about the worst hitter you will ever see, and a player who obviously had little to no interest in hitting, would hit a homer. What made it all the more incredulous was it happened in Petco Park, one of the most difficult ballparks to homer:
Colon made Major League history that day by becoming the oldest player to hit his first homer. Arguably, he also made history by becoming the worst ever hitter to homer in a game.
Harvey’s near perfect game and Colon’s homer were significant events which both happened on the same day. Especially given the fact there is no baseball being played, those are two events which should be denoted and remembered. The Mets did do that with Colon:
A day we will never forget. Four years ago, Big Sexy belted his first career home run and it was magical.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 7, 2020
The Mets did not do the same with Harvey. There was no tweet commemorating one of the best pitching performances in team history. It’s also very likely you will not see it on SNY anytime soon.
This is part of the strange odyssey of Harvey, and it is part of the way over-the-top adoration of Colon during his time with the Mets.
There is no doubt Harvey had his missteps with the Mets. Many did not appreciate Scott Boras trying to protect Harvey’s career the way he once did with Stephen Strasburg, who was last year’s World Series MVP. There was the missed workout on the eve of the 2015 postseason, and then there was that one day he was a flat out no show at the ballpark.
Eventually, Harvey pushed back against a demotion to the bullpen, and he wouldn’t accept a demotion to the minors. This led to his eventual DFA and trade to the Reds.
Lost in all of that was Harvey’s great 2013 season. Also lost was how he returned to form in 2015. In those seasons, Harvey was synonymous with hope. He gave you hope the Mets could turn it around, and then he gave you hope the Mets could win it all. With that 2015 postseason, if not for some serious managerial missteps by Terry Collins, he would have pulled it off.
Keep in mind, in doing that, Harvey had to ignore the advice of his agent and doctors. He would pitch more innings than anyone has post Tommy John surgery. It would not be his fault his career was forever altered by TOS. In the end, he did everything he could do to help the Mets, and he gave us some moments we truly cherised.
As for Colon, well, he was a below average pitcher during his time with the Mets (96 ERA+), and he was just not good in the 2015 postseason.
Still, he had his moments, especially in the field. There are many defensive plays no one will forget like his behind the back flip against the Marlins. Overall, Colon was a good fielding pitcher, and he was frankly robbed of the Gold Glove in 2016. It should also be noted he was very good in 2016, and he was one of the main reasons why that team went on the great run they did to get back to the postseason.
Ultimately, fans are entitled to love who they love for whatever reason. After all, there is a certain irrational element in being a fan of any team or sport. You have to stick by when people give you every reason there is not to stick with them. That goes double, triple, and much much higher for a Wilpon run franchise.
That said, Harvey was great with the Mets, and he gave everything he could give them. As such, it is flat out wrong to see his great moments go completely overlooked by the team. When you boil it down, he should also get more respect and love from the fans, the same fans who once chanted his name and cheered him vociferously during the 2013 and 2015 seasons.