Feb 26, 2014; Port St Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (33) poses during media day at Tradition Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

The Matt Harvey "Controversy" Isn't One

Heading into the 2014 season, the Mets were hoping that Matt Harvey‘s rehab from Tommy John surgery wouldn’t become a daily story. That’s their right, but it seemed pretty unlikely that writers would simply ignore Harvey’s recovery, fans wouldn’t have interest in updates, and Harvey wouldn’t want to talk about his progress.

Early Tuesday, while Harvey was speaking one-on-one with Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, an exchange took place between Harvey, Martino, and Mets public relations director Jay Horwitz. Martino writes:

About seven minutes into our conversation, Harvey and I noticed Mets PR man Jay Horwitz standing in front of us, glaring.

“He’s alright, Jay,” Harvey said. “Jay, he’s alright.”

“What?” I said to Horwitz.

“I’ll talk to you later,” Horwitz said to me.

“OK,” I said, but Horwitz did not move.

“He’s good, Jay,” Harvey said again. “He’s good. If somebody at the top needs to talk, I’ll talk to him.”

“You’re causing me some problems,” Horwitz said to me.

“OK,” I said, then turned back to Harvey.

“Are you writing something?” Horwitz said. “Can I –”

“Jay,” Harvey said. “If somebody needs to talk to the Players’ Association, I have a right to have him writing about me.”

Not wanting to make the situation any more awkward for Harvey, I turned off my recorder and wrapped up the conversation.

If anything, this is a case of something not being fully explained to Harvey and/or not handled perfectly by Horwitz.

After the issue with Horwitz, Sandy Alderson spoke to Harvey and later explained to Martino that the club would rather have Harvey address the reporters as a group, but that it’s up to Harvey in the long run.

Aside from the issue above, Harvey again expressed Tuesday that his desire is to rehab in New York instead of Port St. Lucie – something he has a right to do if he so pleases. According to Harvey, he wants to rehab in New York in order to be around his teammates. That may be the whole reason, and it may not. In the grand scheme of things, though, it doesn’t really matter.

Since it will generate clicks and attention, today’s news surrounding Harvey is being turned into something more than  it is. However, it’s basically a non-story.

The gist: Matt Harvey is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and wants to pitch in 2014. While he’s rehabbing, he’d like to be with his teammates, and may at times grant one-on-one stories to the beat writers who cover the team. The Mets want the story to be on the players who are on the field, and would prefer that Harvey spends his rehab in Port St. Lucie.

There is no “right” side here.

Still, because of today’s events, some are saying Harvey is a prima donna, or that he needs to keep his mouth shut. Why? What’s going on between Harvey and the Mets certainly seems like a minor issue, but a controversy it is not.

A controversy is defined as something that is “prolonged, public, and heated.” One brief discussion between Matt Harvey and Jay Horwitz that blows over in a matter of minutes doesn’t qualify as a “controversy.”

Because Matt Harvey is who he is – both on the field and off – the attention will not stop shining on him. Since Harvey doesn’t shy from attention, he’ll want to talk about his progress while rehabbing. He and the Mets need to get on the same page, but this shouldn’t be made into something it’s not.

 

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