Thursday, March 20, 2014

Try To Go To Rehab

I'm sort of baffled as to why there's any news whatsoever in regard to Matt Harvey beyond him rehabbing his elbow and things going good or bad as such. But since this is the Mets, an organization where the team's General Manager once called out a reporter for intentionally attempting to get his batshit crazy assistant fired so he could angle for the job, I suppose nothing's shocking anymore.

That's why I suppose it makes sense that the news out of the Mets today involved Harvey getting into an argument with management about his speaking with a Daily News reporter. I'm not sure why the Mets want to put this media blackout on Harvey. It seems to me that when you have a star player who enjoys the public attention, he ought to be allowed to embrace that, even if he's injured and doesn't have much to discuss beyond his own rehabilitation. Ultimately, Harvey met with Sandy Alderson and cleared things up, but once a story like this catches on, it's easy for it to blow up. In the NFL, players are fined if they don't make themselves available to the Media, but here, the Mets are trying to squelch one of the few players that inspires genuine fan excitement. This baffles me, but whatever. I'm a bit beyond trying to figure out what goes through the heads of upper management.

This ties in neatly to the reason Harvey was airing his general gripes to Andy Martino in the first place. Harvey was initially miffed that his locker was moved away from the rest of the players on the team. I suppose that's neither here nor there, but as he's out for the season, this apparently is standard procedure. Harvey was also under the impression that the Mets didn't want him to do 1-on-1 interviews with the media. Alderson contends that this wasn't quite the case; the Mets wanted him to hold group interviews for ease of PR, which, you know, really is the first consideration of a 24-year old superstar in the process of recovering from major surgery.

The larger issue here is the age-old disconnect between what Mets Management thinks is best and what the player thinks is best, and in this instance it's where Matt Harvey should be allowed to rehab. Ultimately, Harvey has final say, and if his preference is to rehab in New York with the team, then he should be allowed to. Why not? This is his comfort zone, he'll be in his element with his teammates and his coaches, and not out in the wilderness that is Port St. Lucie. The Mets want him in Florida where he's away from distractions and able to focus solely on getting himself ready to pitch come the opening bell of 2015.

Alderson's stance on the matter makes sense from a logic standpoint. Harvey happens to disagree. In a vacuum, this issue is probably very easily solved; just sit down in a room for half an hour and work out a schedule that makes everyone happy. I'm sure that this is exactly what's going on with the similarly rehabbing Jeremy Hefner. This snafu gets all the ink because this is Matt Harvey we're talking about, and Matt Harvey is a headline-grabber, even when he's hurt.

Ultimately, though it may not be the best idea, it's probably the wisest idea to just let Harvey rehab where he wants to. By foisting a particular option on him, you run the risk of alienating him, and this could prove problematic, particularly considering the fact that Harvey is well aware of the rights afforded to him by the Player's Union. Going further, this could be problematic come contract negotiations if Harvey feels that the Mets don't respect his wishes. So, fine. In the long run, an issue like this is really much ado about stuffing. If it's a bad choice, it's a bad choice, and just like any 24-year old that makes a bad choice, he's got to have that experience in order to realize it's a bad choice and not make the same mistake the next time around (hopefully there is not a next time around in this particular instance).

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