Bud Fox News has learned that there’s an additional reason why New York Mets’ pitcher Matt Harvey, one of super agent Scott Boras’s meal tickets, might miss a few starts: The right-hander, an aspiring renaissance man (or so he’ll tell you) and an avid reader, has informed the team that he refuses to miss any more meetings of his weekly book club.
If you haven’t been following the Mets’ latest imbroglio…last Friday, Boras, a man who makes Bernie Madoff seem less than greedy, went on a “media blitz” to let the world know that the Mets would be putting their star pitcher in “peril” if they did not adhere to the 180-inning limit suggested by Dr. James Andrews, the man who operated on Harvey’s pitching elbow in October 2013. The next day, Harvey, who, when not pitching, brays like a donkey while paying strident lip service to being the team’s ace, came across more like a lamb when he said the following:
I know from having 178 [BFN: he was at 166 1/3 when Boras spoke] the year before I took off, I think the whole idea was not to exceed too much more than that.
Harvey’s apparent circumspection is a far cry from the beginning of the season when he said this:
I am here to compete and do everything I can to help the team win. There is no easing into it for me. It’s a season, it’s a game, I am prepared for that. I prepared just like a normal season. My mind-set is just like it has been in the past. I am moving on from the surgery, it’s been over a year now. We’re good to go.
Then again, in a cringe-inducing August 2013 interview with Men’s Journal, Harvey, whose blowhard bona fides are unimpeachable, vomited up this rather revealing gem:
I could buy a place now, but I’ve gotta wait for that $200 million contract. If I’m going to buy an apartment, it has to be the best apartment in the city.
Having a “PhD in people,” those of us on the Bud Fox News sports desk figure the last quote probably indicates how Harvey really feels. And we don’t blame him for trying to maximize his career dollars, which means Harvey, as a Tommy John surgery survivor, needs to be careful about in-game pitch counts and seasonal innings pitched, especially since he’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season. But henceforth, he’d be wise to spare his former adoring fans his laughable “I want the team on my back and the ball in my hand” act, which started as soon as he hit the majors and now rings as hollow as NY Jets’ Geno Smith’s assurances of a triumphant return.
And it is indeed ironic that Harvey and his fellow bookworms are currently working their way through Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad’s answer to insomnia, in which the narrator Marlowe regales the reader with the devastating story of the title character, a sea-faring young man who, like Harvey, daydreams of being a hero (and talks a big game) but abandons ship to save himself when the Patna appears in danger of sinking (leaving the sleeping Mecca-bound Muslim passengers to fend for themselves), much like Harvey looking to protect his golden arm with his pusillanimous innings-limit while his team valiantly tries to make the playoffs after an ignominious stretch of six consecutive losing seasons. Jim spends the rest of his life running from his act of cowardice; in somewhat similar fashion, upon realizing that Mets fans thought him a phony and a poltroon, Harvey has already attempted a 180-degree turn from his 180-frame limit, writing a half-assed volte-face on Derek Jeter’s ridiculous website, The Players’ Tribune (note Harvey’s byline, “New York City Bureau Chief”- does he think he’s J. Jonah Jameson?):
I will pitch in the playoffs. I will be healthy, active and ready to go. I am communicating with my agent, my doctor, Sandy and the entire Mets organization…Together, we are coming up with a plan to reach an innings limit during the season. It will be a compromise between the doctors and the Mets organization to get me, and the team, to where we need to be for our postseason run.
Harvey’s reading group, which meets in Manhattan, is chock full of hipsterish young men, the type who should make you worried about our nation’s future, videlicet: bearded yet effete Columbia grad school students who can usually be found “crushing” skunk-like crafts beers while playing video games or fantasy football. They were naturally worried when Harvey asked to join the group. Group founder Caleb Wyatt, an English literature PhD candidate whose thesis, a seven-year work-in-progress vehicle for avoiding the real world and adulthood, is titled Harry Potter, My Obsession, told Bud Fox News:
To be candid, we were a bit worried about a pro baseball player joining the group. But the guy has been great. He brought artisanal pickles to the last meeting. And he makes an absolutely elegant Quiche Lorraine.
When asked about the book club, Harvey told our very own Silence Bellows:
We’re reading Lord Jim right now. It’s a classic and kind of a tough read. I’m not really sure I understand the Marlowe character.
Unfortunately for Harvey, there are plenty of Marlowes in the audience at Citi Field. And they know that Harvey’s nickname, “The Dark Knight of Gotham,” is a farcical misnomer. He is more aptly called “Lord Jim.”
To sum it up and paraphrase Nabokov’s Lolita, a novel that’s a lot less boring than Lord Jim and should be on Harvey’s reading list given all the leisure time created by his workload limit:
No doubt, Harvey is horrible, he is abject, he is a shining example of leprosy of the character, a mixture of the ersatz hero and the prima donna, which betrays a self-involved nature that the Mets are best rid of.