On this page, I'll share my thoughts, and any articles or information I think are of interest. Feel free to use the comments section to join in the discussion!
“I guess I have to figure out what it is first and figure out how to do it more. It's kind of a weird thing.”
Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer 'trying to figure out how to enjoy life'
By Zack Meisel, on October 04, 2015
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Trevor Bauer's off-season itinerary is a blank canvas.
He was asked on Sunday morning about his plans. He replied with a curve ball.
"I'm trying to figure out how to enjoy life," the hurler said. "I think if I knew what I enjoy, I'd do it more. I guess I have to figure out what it is first and figure out how to do it more. It's kind of a weird thing."
Bauer has yet to meet with manager Terry Francona, pitching coach Mickey Callaway and general manager Chris Antonetti to determine his course of action for the off-season. The right-hander does intend on visiting his typical winter destinations: Driveline Baseball, less than an hour outside of Seattle, Washington, and the Texas Baseball Ranch, less than an hour outside of Houston.
"I'll obviously still be doing training and stuff," Bauer said, "but how much and when and where and all of that stuff, I haven't really decided yet. I honestly don't really know at this point. I have to figure out all of that."
Bauer told NEOMG earlier this season that he "enjoyed baseball more as a kid, when it was just fun. I enjoy the pro game because it gives me an outlet to combine my intellect with something that I can still enjoy doing. It's better than applying my intellect while sitting in a corner office somewhere, trying to write code."
Francona said he told Bauer that "we'd like to, at some point, talk and get some thoughts together" to "organize [his off-season activity schedule] a little bit more going forward."
Bauer finished the season with an 11-12 record, a 4.55 ERA and 170 strikeouts -- nearly one per inning. He logged a career-high 176 innings and 30 starts.
"I hope he doesn't lose sight of the fact that he threw  innings and has room to grow," Francona said following his final start, which included seven sharp innings, in which he allowed one run on two hits.
Bauer described his season as "a big step in the right direction." Before he attempts to build off of it next year, he'll need to devise a winter regimen. Or, he'll need to figure out how to enjoy life.
"It's just a feeling," Bauer said. "I don't know. I've felt like this before. I know the feeling. I have to figure out a better way to handle it."
OCT 2 2015
Since the beginning of baseball time, only 13 catchers have made it to the Hall of Fame. So on average, there’s approximately one that comes along every decade.
In my day alone, we had Gary Carter and Carlton Fisk — names that people will always remember — and guys like Steve Yeager, Randy Hundley, Jerry Grote and Manny Sanguillén, who were great catchers in their own right. And because all of us played in that same era, I think we have a tendency to look at the game today and think:
Where have all the great catchers gone?
But the fact is, catchers today are as good as they’ve ever been. The question is, how long will they stay behind the plate, and which of them will truly be remembered as catchers?
You hear about Buster Posey. He’s a guy who doesn’t come along very often. He’s already hit over 100 home runs and driven in almost 450 in his young career, and he’s calling great games in the World Series. Only two of those 13 Hall of Fame catchers have as many rings as Buster’s three (Mickey Cochrane also has three and the late Yogi Berra has a ridiculous 10 — good luck topping that).
You hear about a guy like Salvador Perez, whom I love to watch. He hits for power and has that strong arm that guys are afraid to run on. He’s also a great young leader and a two-time Gold Glover.
You hear about the defense of Yadier Molina, a perennial Gold Glove-winner. And even though he’s not bringing the same kind of offense to the table as a guy like Buster, he embodies the soul of the catcher. He’s the kind of guy who has a real focus on calling a great game, and like Posey, he’s done it in the World Series, with two rings to show for it.
In this age of sabermetrics and over-analysis, there aren’t any stats for calling a good game. Other than errors and passed balls, it’s hard to quantify defense unless you’re throwing guys out at a high rate. When it comes to catchers, good defense is just one of those things you know when you see it.
People talk about five-tool players. As a catcher, you need the whole toolbox. You have to hit for power, hit for average, have a good arm and play great defense, which means being fearless, having great feet and turning a quick transfer from glove to throwing position. And on top of all those skills, you have to be able to handle a pitching staff and call a great game — every day, every pitch. There are really only a few guys who can do all these things at a high level, and do it for a long time.
People talk about five-tool players. As a catcher, you need the whole toolbox.
Yadier is timeless. He just keeps calling great games. But at this point, you see a little wear and tear. That comes with age, especially when you’re squatting 450,000 times in your career. Eventually, you’ve got to slow down a little bit, and a lot of teams are trying to get ahead of that slowdown. You see teams platooning at catcher to give guys a few days off. Buster is playing 30 games a year at first base, just so he can catch a break from being behind the plate. And that’s likely to increase as he gets older.
The talent at catcher is there in today’s game. The longevity is what’s missing.
You have guys like Joe Mauer. They called him “the next Johnny Bench” before he started having leg and knee problems. Now he’s a first baseman. He’s only had six seasons where he played more than half the season as a catcher. So even though he took the league by storm as a catcher, if he plays for 10+ years and puts up Hall of Fame-caliber numbers, he won’t be going in at that position. He’ll be remembered as that great first baseman who used to catch.
I look at our kid in Cincinnati, Devin Mesoraco. He plays great defense and can bat fourth in the lineup. I think he has a chance to be special, but now he’s come down with the hip problems — something I’m all too familiar with, as I’ve had both of mine replaced. And those came long after I was required to squat behind the plate 100-plus times a night. So, it’s all dependent upon how he comes back from his injury. When he does come back for the 2016 season, we’ll see how many games he can play behind the plate and what the team’s plan is for him. Persistent hip issues — like knee issues — can be devastating to a catcher.
When you see someone who has the whole package — one of those once-a-decade, Buster Posey kind of guys — it’s a beautiful thing to watch.
I’m not an analyst like some of the other Hall of Famers you see on ESPN. I’m not watching every game and I don’t have my eye on every catcher in the league. These days, I get to sit back and be a fan just like everybody else. I see guys like Mike Zunino up in Seattle, who’s a fabulous athlete. I love watching A.J. Ellis out in L.A. call a game. I watch guys like Chris Iannetta, Kurt Suzuki and Matt Wieters — their setups, their transitions. But more than anything, I love watching the guys who’ve mastered their craft behind the plate. The footwork. The arm strength. And then I love to watch them come to the plate and drive in runs. When you see someone who has the whole package — one of those once-a-decade, Buster Posey kind of guys — it’s a beautiful thing to watch.
So when one of them gets moved to first base, we’re all missing out. Sure, you still get to see him bat, and it’s usually the best move for them as a player and for the team as a whole, because it’ll keep him healthy and on the field. But for me, it’s hard to see other positions steal some of the best in the world from behind the plate.
Maybe Buster will stay there long enough to be remembered as one of the greats. Maybe people will remember Yadier’s unique game-calling ability and defense — the things they won’t be able to quantify just by looking back at his stat line. But for now, there’s only 13 of us in the Hall of Fame. It’s a pretty exclusive club, and I’m excited to see which of these young guys coming up through the ranks has what it takes — from the physical ability, to the game-calling, to the longevity — to join us.
The Education of a Catcher
OCT 7 2015
PHOTOS BY AP IMAGES
I’m crouching behind home plate, ready to take.
The pitch — my guy’s signature pitch — comes in.
It’s out of the zone.
That, on its own, would be no big deal. Guys miss on location all the time. Well — my guy, not so much. He almost never misses. But it happens.
What I notice on this pitch is that his mechanics are off. Not way off. Just a little. Enough. And trust me, this guy’s usually really steady.
But even still, I’m thinking to myself, Okay — maybe he just needed a warm-up. I’m sure it’s nothing. No problem. I file it away, and crouch back down.
The second pitch comes in. It’s out of the zone again. And my guy’s mechanics still seem off. Like I said, it’s nothing huge — but it’s enough that I notice.
I think about saying something. I almost say something.
But I don’t.
I should, but I don’t.
I think to myself, You know what, he probably knows best.
After all, he’s the greatest closer of all time. And I’m just the backup catcher.
I crouch back down.
Mariano Rivera stares at me, winds up, and pitches again.
The ball never gets to me.
It gets crushed. Home run.
Later that night, in the clubhouse, Mariano comes over to my locker. He looks at me, calmly, with his kind, intense eyes.
“Francisco,” he says. “Why didn’t you tell me my mechanics were off?”
I look back at him, speechless. I try to explain … but the words won’t come out. My face says it all. I’m just the backup catcher.
“That’s not how we do things around here,” Mariano says. “There is no ego on this team. If you notice something, you say.”
He pats me on the shoulder and turns to leave. After a few paces, he turns to me again.
“Francisco,” he says. “All we want is to win.”
Being a backup catcher for the Yankees was like getting an advanced degree in winning. Every day, it seemed, I learned a new lesson about what it takes to be a winning baseball player. Not just how to do certain things — but why to do them, and when, and with what purpose.
I learned from Johnny Damon alertly stealing second in the playoffs — and then, with no one covering the base, making a heads-up play and stealing third. I learned from Mariano, with our backs against the wall, throwing a two-inning save while in enough oblique pain to put 90 percent of the league on the disabled list. I learned from Andy Pettitte, eyes peeking out over his glove, glaring into my signals, waving off and waving off, until he found his pitch.
I learned from Derek, keeping his cool under pressure, unlike anyone I’d ever seen before. From how he led us by example, always by example, and reined us in with his demeanor. No matter how big the moment was, Derek wouldn’t let it get to him. People always talk about how leadership is an “intangible,” but trust me, it isn’t. It’s extremely tangible. It’s a special skill.
People always talk about how leadership is an “intangible,” but trust me, it isn’t. It’s extremely tangible.
And I learned, and learned, and learned from Jorge Posada. Jorge, out of everyone, was the most influential guy for me. Honestly, it would be easier to list the habits that I didn’t try to pick up from him. When I came in for my first spring training, I followed Jorge around constantly. I mean … everywhere he’d go. Just — shadowing him, copying him, seeing the way he worked. And wow … heworked. Jorge believed it was a catcher’s duty, his actual duty, to be the hardest-working guy on the team. And he put the time in to follow through on that belief.
And as patient as Jorge was with his pitchers, he was ten times more patient with me. He took my education seriously. It wasn’t something that he had to do, but he did it. I lucked out, in a very real way, to be able learn from him — to be able to learn from all of them. It was an incredible experience.
But at the same time, I couldn’t help but hope that a day would come when I’d get to take all those lessons from my time in New York and apply them. Because one of the biggest lessons I learned there was how to believe in my own abilities. Finally, I believed that I could be a full-time, starting major-league catcher. I believed that I could play every day. And I believed that I could win.
“Your time is going to come,” Jorge would tell me. “And you’ve got to be ready.”
I was ready, and I got my chance when I was traded to Pittsburgh last winter.
I was sad to leave New York, but when spring training broke, I couldn’t have been more excited. Of course, I may have been the only one.
I was following in Russell Martin’s footsteps — and they were big footsteps to follow. He was the catcher here last year, and did a wonderful job. So when it was announced that I would be the team’s starting catcher, I think the reaction among most fans was kind of, like, “Oh no. We used to have Russell Martin. Now we’ve got some other team’s backup. Now we’ve got nobody.”
But on the team, guys were amazing. I remember Jeff Locke, one of our starting pitchers, coming up to me in spring training. And he just said to me, you know, “Nice to meet you. I’m excited to start working with you.”
He probably thought nothing of it — but to me it meant everything. To me it meant, I’m a starter now. This is my pitching staff. And I’m their guy. It was this little moment in March, not even a half-minute long, but it felt so important.
It felt like I was being given a whole new job, a whole new mindset. I was being given the opportunity that I’d worked for, studied for, and wanted so much for so long. I was finally going to get to play every day.
I think the reaction among most fans was kind of, like, “Oh no. We used to have Russell Martin. Now we’ve got some other team’s backup. Now we’ve got nobody.”
The most challenging aspect of not playing every day is that it can be hard to find a rhythm. Emotionally, it can be tough: Just knowing that, no matter what you do today, on some level it doesn’t matter. You’re still not playing tomorrow. You could play on a Wednesday, get in a couple of at-bats … and then your week could be over, just like that. Before you even know it. Baseball is such a “feel” sport, a momentum sport. It can be hard to adjust.
I really wanted to prove to myself that I could play a full season, as an everyday player, and make an impact. And I’m proud to say that I’ve done that: On an individual level, this has been the best and most rewarding season of my career, by far. No matter what happens going forward, I’ll cherish it. But this season wouldn’t have meant nearly as much to me if the team was not also having success.
And listen: This team is special.
We’ve got a lights-out rotation, from Cole to Liriano to A.J. and beyond. We’ve got an excellent bullpen, full of guys we can trust. We’ve got Mark Melancon, my old teammate from way back in 2006 (shout out to the Staten Island Yankees), who has turned himself into an elite closer — setting the Pirates’ saves record this season with 51. We’ve got a deep lineup — a lineup where we feel like anyone could be a game-changer for us on any given night: from veterans who’ve been through it all, like Aramis Ramirez, to talented younger players who have the sky as their limit, like Gregory Polanco.
And of course: We’ve got Andrew McCutchen.
Cutch is our guy, our leader by example. Cutch is our Jeter. Cutch is The Man.
When I think of the various things that have defined this Pirates season so far, there is really one big moment that stands out above the rest.
In mid-July, right before the All-Star break, we had a four-game series with the Cardinals. We split the first two. In the third game, Andrew won it for us with a 14th-inning walk-off homer. (Like I said: Our Jeter.) We were in a great spot — with a chance to go into the break with a 3-1 series win over our division’s first-place team. Or: we could lose the fourth game, and split the series, and be right back where we started.
Everything hinged on that last game. We knew it, and they knew it.
And we won it.
With two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Gregory Polanco drove in the winning run.
We shot out of the dugout, and chased after him. We piled on and celebrated. The fans were going nuts. It was just one win, and only the end of one half of the season. But it felt like more. It felt the start of something.
After that game, I said, “We’ve got one mission: everything or nothing.” I always knew, in my heart, that this team had a chance to be great … but that was the moment when it fully came together for me — when I realized just what this team’s expectations need to be, and are. From that series onward, I expected us to be here — to be playing in October. And I expected that when we got here, we would not yet be satisfied.
Everything or nothing. Those are the stakes.
In the end, I always come back to that moment I had with Mariano.
Mo didn’t care about status, or salary, or position, or anything — if you had insight for him, for the team, then it didn’t matter whether you were “just the backup catcher” or the greatest player in the world. If you could help, you could help. All he wanted to do was win.
And that’s the kind of dynamic we have here in Pittsburgh. We’ve built a team and a culture where, truly, everyone is learning from each other, and everyone is important. This is a team where, when we step onto the field, we all have the same, singular focus in mind: Keep this season alive.
We just want to play more baseball.
And why not?
We’re getting pretty good at it.
I'm retiring. Here are five things I won't miss about baseball
Photo: AP Images
BY JEREMY AFFELDT Posted: Thu Oct. 1, 2015
Mariano Rivera. Babe Ruth. Christy Mathewson. Sandy Koufax.
Even now, three World Series rings later, it sounds almost comical when I hear my name mentioned among some of the greatest players in baseball history. Those guys were elite, the best of the best; every one of them is a Hall of Famer who left his indelible mark on the game. Me? Not so much. Yet when you check the all-time postseason ERA rankings, quite inexplicably, there I am.
That’s my career ERA in the playoffs. Only incomparable New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera and St. Louis starter Harry Brecheen (they called him Harry the Cat, coincidentally) compiled better marks during their postseason runs.
Most people don’t believe me, but I really didn't do anything different on the mound in the postseason than I did during the regular season. My success in the most critical of situations was just as easily attributable to my managers putting me in good positions to succeed and my defense making plays behind me as it was because of anything I did out there.
In leaving the game, I walk away secure in the knowledge that I accomplished almost everything I ever set out to do. I gave it everything I had out there, and I played the game the right way—not necessarily in compliance with some antiquated and silly "code," but cleanly, and with honor and dedication to my craft. Along the way, I got to play both with Hall of Famers and guys who only got called up to the Show for a cup of coffee. I marched in three world championship parades in San Francisco, proving once again that you don't have to throw hard to get the best hitters in the world out.
While I am very excited to begin the next phase of my life and make up for a lot of lost time with my wife, our three sons, family and friends, I absolutely will miss my teammates, the thrill of performing before tens of thousands of people, and the indescribable sense of purpose that comes along with being a professional athlete. Still, I'd be remiss if I didn't also share what I won't miss about life in the Bigs. After all, why else would you care what some creaky-knee'd lefty reliever has to say?
Here we go.
5. The City of "Brotherly Love"
Hang on, I know what you're thinking: Jeremy, do you have any idea how dangerous it is to insult the entire city of Philadelphia?! And yes, I know. I know all too well.
So first, let me be clear. Philly is a great sports town, with passionate fans and a palpable energy. The problem, though, is that the city, more than any other I've played in, seems to condone and almost revel in its fans crossing the line. Nowhere else in this country—again, based on my experience as a 14-year major leaguer and the conversations I've had with other players—is the opposition treated in such a repeatedly vile and borderline threatening manner.
We are out here to play a game, and even though we are paid handsomely to do so, professional athletes should not be subject to vulgarity, personal attacks or epithets. Sadly, in Philadelphia, this kind of fan conduct is far too typical. The irony is, while Phillies fans succeed in making many players dread traveling there, they also (not surprisingly) impact the decision-making process of those same players in free agency.
Sure, it's great to play for a rabid fan base, but after experiencing firsthand how powerful that fervor can be when it is channeling extreme negativity, it really makes you think twice about where all that collective anger comes from, and whether you want to subject yourself and your family to that all the time.
4. Wrigley Field
Yeah, that's right, I said it.
Admittedly, the home of the Chicago Cubs is a national treasure. Visiting that ballpark should be on any baseball fan's bucket list, and for good reason. On the surface, the place is gorgeous, and the building is a virtual time machine. But when you take a closer look—and I've read quite a few accounts from the fans' perspective that seem to back my sentiments—all that shimmers most certainly is not gold.
While I realize that Wrigley is now undergoing a multiyear, multi-faceted renovation plan, I can only speak from my own experience. When I was with the Cincinnati Reds, we played a lot of games on the North Side, and I can tell you that the player facilities are an abomination. Not just by today's standards, where players often find themselves taking advantage of luxurious clubhouses with every modern amenity imaginable, but by any era's standards. Wrigley's locker room (I can't even really call it a clubhouse) is tiny. It's virtually impossible to squeeze players, coaches and equipment staff in there at once, and when it rains—this happens quite often in the Chicago summertime—it's absolutely unbearable.
And that mound. Every stadium has its quirks and home-field advantages, but the hill at Wrigley is another thing altogether. Not only is it different than other major league mounds, but it's also different than the park's warm-up mound! Maybe my feelings have a little something to do with me being winless at Wrigley (5.59 lifetime ERA!), but still, I won't miss that place.
3. The travel
By far the most difficult thing about being a major leaguer today is the travel. It's easy to look at all the money we make playing a kid's game and say, "Whatever you say, Jeremy. It must be super hard to fly around on those decked-out charter flights all the time."
No, we don't have to stand in line at security in the airport; we don't have to pay to check that first piece of luggage; we don't have to be told by hotel reception that all the rooms are booked and there's nothing they can do. Then again, we do have to take flights at 2 a.m. across three time zones, often leaving only a few hours to get some sleep before we are expected to go right back to work in a job where failure to deliver peak performance might put that job in jeopardy. We do have to be separated from our wives and kids for weeks on end. We do have to miss important, precious moments at home, year after year, with no way to explain to a child why we couldn't be there for them. Is it all relative? Absolutely. But that doesn't make it any easier.
In the end, the life of the professional athlete is the life we have chosen, and each of us is blessed to have been given the opportunity to compete at the highest levels and get paid for it. But that doesn't mean that the life doesn't wear you down over time, which is precisely why I will be staying in my own zip code for a few months after the final game of our season—and my career—this Sunday afternoon.
2. The drug tests
Two things to get out the way right off the bat: 1) I have never used performance-enhancing drugs; and 2) Major League Baseball is 100 times cleaner now than it was when I first broke in as a pro back in 2002.
Notice how I didn't say the game is 100% clean. As long as science keeps coming up with ways to avoid PED detection, some guys—no matter how harsh the penalties—are going to ignore the risks to their reputation, physical well-being and their bank accounts. They will always "improve" themselves by any means necessary. While I can't say for sure how guys are still on something today, I do know that it's a lot less than the roughly 40% of players I believe were cheating 15 years ago.
Make no mistake: I don't believe in using drugs to gain a competitive advantage, even though I know exactly why so many players did it. It was selfish of them, though, and unfair to those of us who weren't doing it. By inflating (or, in the pitchers' cases, deflating) their numbers, PED abusers were taking food off my table, rendering my accomplishments and statistical achievements less meaningful—and certainly less useful when negotiating my contracts.
It's fantastic that the game has since been cleaned up, of course, but the situation never should have been allowed to get so out of control. In fact, because of the years of negative coverage and bad publicity, in today's environment—despite MLB's apparent confusion about the meaning of the word "random" when it comes to testing—any hitter or pitcher who excels becomes a suspect. And that makes them subject to more frequent testing. I get that the powers that be view this is a necessarily evil, but the practice also has real consequences.
For example, spending a weekend playing at altitude in Colorado leaves players dehydrated, so when MLB's testing officials show up at 11:30 p.m. after the Sunday night game has ended, it's literally impossible to provide them with the mandated urine sample. When ya' gotta go, ya' gotta go, but when you can't ... you can't. That forces the player to stay in the bathroom, being watched like a hawk, for as long as it takes to do his business. There is no dignity in that, but remember: per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, failure to take the test is the same thing as failing the test.
Thankfully, the next time I pee in a cup, it will be for my MLB pension physical two decades from now.
1. The incessant showboating
Nowadays, all you hear about is how "baseball is dying," and "the game is too slow and boring," and "MLB just needs to let these guys have more fun." Believe me, we players hear all of that media-driven chatter, and we're not buying it. Yes, baseball isn't the NFL (that's a good thing, in my opinion), or the NBA, where fans can rock the gear and emulate the stars much more easily.
But what baseball does have, that those other sports largely do not, is tradition. And while the history of the sport has seen more than its fair share of troubling (institutional) incidents, that is precisely why the game remains so important to so many Americans. Baseball is a reflection of ourselves, our struggles and triumphs, our perseverance.
This is why the recent trend of "look at me" machismo, mostly via these elaborate, annoying and overindulgent hand signals and signs, irks me so much. Yes, let's celebrate the game of baseball, and, if warranted, celebrate our on-field accomplishments with genuine shows of emotion. When you smack a double into the gap to take the lead in the eighth inning, by all means, pump your fist and praise your maker in the sky. But when you flash self-congratulatory signs after a meaningless first-inning single—or, even worse, a walk—you're clowning yourself and not representing your club or your teammates very well.
Despite this, as I ride off into the sunset, I truly believe the future of baseball is in great (if not overly demonstrative) hands. Here's hoping the game's young stewards take time off from patting themselves on the back, though, if only to take notice of how us old guys do things.
“That’s on him, and those who act as if it’s not are just providing cover for a guy who doesn’t deserve it.”
Matt Harvey has himself to blame - not Mets or media - for innings limit controversy
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, September 7, 2015
Matt Harvey went running to Derek Jeter’s Players Tribune — occasionally a safe house for athletes in trouble — on Sunday to try to end a controversy that his agent created. Harvey said things in a short essay that he should have said when he faced the media on Saturday in Miami. The fact that it took him a day longer than it should have to wake up isn’t anybody’s fault but his own.
Harvey didn’t have some epiphany, medical or otherwise, between Saturday and Sunday, that finally made him say that he was going to pitch in the playoffs. What happened was simple enough:
He and agent Scott Boras got crushed in his city, and by his own fan base, because of what Harvey did say in Miami, and also by the suggestion Boras made on Friday that the Mets would be putting Harvey at risk by pitching him past 180 innings this season.
Once and for all: The media didn’t start this, the Mets didn’t, neither did any angry Mets fan. Boras did... He went out of his way to create a controversy where none existed.
Matt Harvey, who likes the bright light that comes with being a celebrity in New York, needs to realize once and for all that with a talent like his and a stage like this come responsibility. At least in the Players Tribune he sounded like the grownup he ought to be at his age, and after everything that has happened to him so far in his career.
So now he says he will pitch in the playoffs, no matter what, bring it on, he’s not going anywhere. Somehow he managed to avoid the cockeyed assertion that Boras — the Very Dark Knight — made as he ran all over the media like a broken-field runner on Friday: That if Sandy Alderson and the Mets allowed Harvey to pitch past an arbitrary innings limit Boras said Dr. James Andrews had set — a hard cap at 180 innings — then the Mets only cared about their playoff run and not the well-being of one of their pitching aces, despite all they have done to protect him.
Once and for all: The media didn’t start this, the Mets didn’t, neither did any angry Mets fan.
With so much more baseball to be played, and after what has become such a wonderful late summer for the Mets, their best in such a long time, he went out of his way to create a controversy where none existed.
Whether Boras wrote that post on Jeter’s website or not, the object of the game was damage control, nothing else.
“Right now we’re hunkered down in a fight to make the postseason,” Harvey wrote or Boras wrote. “All of our efforts are focused on that task. As a team, we understand that there’s still a lot of baseball left to play. The chance to make a run in the playoffs will require our full dedication, energy and passion. This is an incredibly exciting time to be part of the Mets.”
Well, where were those sentiments after Boras started running his mouth? Where were they on Saturday, when Harvey knew what questions to expect and had his chance to clean up the mess Boras had made for him?
Maybe when we saw David Wright in animated conversation with Harvey in the dugout duringSunday’s loss to the Marlins the captain of the team was giving Harvey a tutorial on how big guys are supposed to act in sports, even when people are being mean to them.
What Harvey mostly needs to do, starting Tuesday night in Washington, is this: Pitch like the ace he so desperately wants to be, and has so often been for the Mets since he hit town. And stop blaming his problems on the media.
Boras and Harvey really did bring this on themselves. The notion that somehow there was a misunderstanding about something as important as Harvey’s innings count is sillier than Sarah Palin. So is the idea that the Mets are trying to force Harvey’s hand here. If he thinks that pitching too much this season really will put the rest of his career in jeopardy, then stand up and say that, and then sit down.
He has started an All-Star Game in his own ballpark, he has been throughmajor surgery on his arm, has shown himself to be a thrilling talent. People want him to pitch good, not look bad. Come on: Who went looking to pile on Matt Harvey until Boras said the things he said the other day? I love watching Harvey pitch, I hope he pitches the Mets into the playoffs, I hope this is a big baseball October at the Stadium, and Citi Field.
But this isn’t some star-struck kid from Connecticut who just hit the big town. He has embraced the attention he has gotten and the stroke. He seemed pretty comfortable to be getting the full, all-access ESPN treatment in a fine, long piece by Jeremy Schaap. So to act blindsided by the reaction to what he and his agent said, or blame it on New York City, is disingenuous at best.
The overreaction here wasn’t from the city, or from Mets fans. It was from Scott Boras, who tossed a lit grenade into what should have been a civilized conversation between two concerned parties. That’s on him, and those who act as if it’s not are just providing cover for a guy who doesn’t deserve it.
And when Harvey had a chance to shut the whole thing down, he first left open the possibility that he would shut himself down instead. On Sunday he did his best to fix things on Derek Jeter’s site. Maybe one of these days he ought to ask Jeter if he or his agent ever played it like this in a pennant race.