It may be a deliciously petty slight aimed at his old franchise, or it could just be a decision dictated by his own schedule. Either way, Matt Harvey’s return to Citi Field is already causing the New York Mets some headaches.
Harvey and his Cincinnati Reds team are in New York City for a three-game series against the Mets, Harvey’s first game in the city since the Mets shipped him away in May after a brutal start to the season. The right-hander is unlikely to face his old team during the series since he pitched on Saturday against the Nationals, but he still seems to have ticked off his old team.
Matt Harvey’s curious scheduling conflict
Mike Puma of the New York Post tweeted Sunday that the Mets requested the Reds avoid having Harvey talk to reporters about his return at 4 p.m. on Monday because manager Mickey Callaway is also scheduled to speak at that time. The Reds reportedly went ahead and scheduled Harvey to speak at 4 p.m.
The Mets requested from the Reds that Matt Harvey hold his gathering with NY reporters tomorrow at 3:45 or 4:15 so it won't conflict with Callaway's press conference at 4. … Harvey has decided to speak at 4.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) August 5, 2018
The Reds would later tell Puma that the scheduling conflict wasn’t born of any ill will, but rather because speaking at 4 p.m. fit Harvey’s schedule best. Harvey reportedly didn’t even know that Callaway was scheduled to speak at the same time.
Regarding tomorrow's Harvey press conference, the Reds say Harvey was unaware of the Mets' request for a different time than 4. But Harvey will probably talk around 4 when Callaway meets with reporters because it fits his schedule best. Reds say no slight intended by Harvey.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) August 6, 2018
Of course, the Reds also said that Harvey is still scheduled to talk around the same time as Callaway.
Latest issue in Matt Harvey’s past with Mets
There were very few polite ways to put it: Matt Harvey looked like a broken man during his final days with the Mets. After ranking second in all of baseball in ERA over his first four years with the team, injuries, fatigue and mechanical issues sapped his velocity and left him ineffective on the mound.
Harvey also found himself facing disciplinary issues with the Mets, peaking in 2017 when he received a three-game suspension for violating club rules. The club eventually demoted Harvey to the bullpen, which he didn’t take well, then traded him in May for catcher Devin Mesoraco and cash considerations. Harvey had a 7.00 ERA and 5.68 FIP in 27 innings at the time of the trade.
Harvey has since found new life with the Reds, marginally improving his numbers with a 4.79 ERA in Cincinnati and reworking his mechanics to find some of his old velocity. He also hasn’t encountered any off-the-field issues, which were a concern in New York. Things were going well enough that Harvey was considered a trade candidate at the deadline, though he ended up staying with the Reds.
With that kind of history, you can imagine that Harvey’s return was going to create some awkward sentiments from all sides.
Does Matt Harvey’s schedule really require this?
If we take the Reds’ assertion that Harvey’s choice of time is really due to a scheduling conflict, it makes sense. Even when he’s not playing, workouts and prep for his next start almost certainly take precedence over speaking with the media for Harvey and the Reds.
However, such a schedule being so rigid that the Reds and Mets apparently can’t find two separate slots for media scrums that will likely last 15 minutes at best is a very strange situation. But then again, nothing about Harvey’s experience with the Mets has never been normal.
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