Matt Harvey apparently isn’t afraid to bend the rules — his team’s or his own.
The New York Mets suspended Harvey for three days last weekend after he failed to show up for Saturday’s game. The right-hander, who had been scheduled to start Sunday’s matinee game against the Miami Marlins, since has apologized for his actions, acknowledging in the process that he stayed out late Friday night and played golf early Saturday morning before his no-show.
But it’s not just that Harvey, who’s had some head-scratching moments in the past, threw caution to the wind in partying on Cinco de Mayo, reportedly drinking with friends at the 1 Oak night club in New York until 4 a.m. ET. It’s that by doing so, he seemingly went against the “48-hour rule” he claimed to live by in 2013, when he was 24 years old and the ace of the Mets’ pitching staff.
“I have a 48-hour rule. No drinking two days before a start,” Harvey told Men’s Journal prior to a start against the New York Yankees in May 2013. “But those other days? Yes, I’m gonna go out. If I was locked up in my house all week, I don’t know what I’d be like on the baseball field.”
Fair enough. As Harvey pointed out at the time, he was young, single and living in The City That Never Sleeps. Going out for a few drinks here and there isn’t a big deal, so long as it doesn’t hinder your performance or prevent you from showing up to work.
But therein lies the issue. Harvey, now 28, broke his 48-hour rule last weekend — assuming he indulged in some cocktails, as the Page Six report suggests — and put himself in a bad spot at a time when he owns a 6-12 record and a 4.93 ERA in 23 starts since the beginning of 2016. Not a great look.
Then again, some other details from the 2013 Men’s Journal profile — click here to read the whole thing — suggest we probably should have seen his downfall coming, which is kind of funny in hindsight since he said shortly after the article was published that it was “embarrassing” and insisted, “The way I was portrayed is not who I am and not the person I am.”
Take this part, for instance:
Many have traced Harvey’s combination of skill and discipline to the fact that his father, Ed, is himself a former college baseball player and current junior-college coach. While Harvey doesn’t dismiss this notion, he credits his father with supplying an equally important lesson: that having fun is as important as anything else in life. “Dirty martinis and music — that’s the big motto in our family,” he says, describing his extended Italian-American clan as a rowdy tribe, fond of letting loose as often as possible. “We get the booze going, and the music starts playing. Always old-school hip-hop. Jay-Z. Tribe Called Quest. The Pharcyde. My parents love that stuff.”
New York, of course, offers countless ways to re-create such scenes, something Harvey learned soon after being drafted in 2010, when the team took him out for dinner at the STK steakhouse in the Meatpacking District. Before he knew it, it was four in the morning and the bar was announcing last call. “Amazing how easy that can happen here,” says Harvey, joking that he chose being a pitcher because it provides more time off than other players get.
Or how about this quote, which Harvey supposedly dropped while drinking with some friends at a bar the night after that May 2013 start against the Yankees:
“Baseball is my job, and I love it,” Harvey says, sipping a vodka soda, “but it can’t be the only thing I’ve got going on.”
None of this is meant to dump all over Harvey, who’s still young enough to right the ship and make an impact, even if he never morphs back into an ace and lands the $200 million contract he once expected.
It’s simply to highlight that baseball never really seemed like Harvey’s top priority — the carefree attitude was much more endearing when he was on top of the world — and it looks like even less of a priority in the aftermath of him breaking his “48-hour rule,” which perhaps was a load of crap to begin with.
Men’s Journal actually revisited its 2013 profile following Harvey’s recent suspension. Click here to read the breakdown.
Thumbnail photo via Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports Images
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