Can the Dark Knight rise again?
by John Jastremski
May 25, 2016 | 6909 views | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
One of my favorite lines in “The Dark Knight” is right at the end of the movie in a heart-to-heart conversation between Batman and Commissioner Gordon.

As Gotham City is once again saved by the Dark Knight despite the fact that golden boy District Attorney Harvey Dent has been turned to the dark side, Batman reminds Gordon, “you either die a hero or live long enough see yourself become the villain.”

The Mets' Dark Knight, Matt Harvey, the poster boy of the Mets renaissance, the pitcher who started it all with his call up in the 2012 season, has seen himself become the villain.

The turn of events in just one calendar year is simply mind boggling.

Less than six months ago, Matt Harvey was on the mound in Game 5 of the World Series. He was dominating the Kansas City Royals, the crowd was chanting his name and he received one of the loudest ovations in the history of Citi Field when he ran out to start the top half of the 9th inning.

Matt Harvey could do no wrong in the eyes of pretty much every Mets fan on the planet.

All of a sudden, the 2016 season changed all of that.

Thursday, the same pitcher who received standing ovation after standing ovation was booed off the mound at Citi Field after the worst start of his professional career.

Matt Harvey is no longer the dominant ace pitcher leading the Mets rotation. He’s turned into a pitcher who has lost his way.

The confidence is gone, the swagger is gone, the endurance and stamina are M.I.A. His performance in 2016 has been simply unacceptable.

Forget about the ace of the staff, two months into 2016 Matt Harvey has easily been the worst starter in the Mets rotation.

A 3-6 record with an ERA of 5.77 is not worthy of being nicknamed “The Dark Knight” of New York. I think “The Joker” would be more appropriate with those numbers.

Everyone including yours truly has tried to speculate about why Matt Harvey hasn’t performed like the dominant pitcher we’ve seen over the last couple of years.

How did this happen?

Some mention the after effects of Tommy John surgery, but I’m not willing to buy that. Harvey last year was as strong as a bull in his first year off the surgery, plus he’s three years removed from the surgery already.

I think it’s fair to draw a direct correlation between Harvey’s inability to go deep into a game with the fact that he’s put on some serious weight over the last few seasons and looks totally out of shape.

Surely, Matt Harvey pitched well at a hefty weight last season, but he doesn’t look like the same guy doing ESPN The Body magazine shoots. I don’t think many ladies are clamoring to see Matt Harvey shirtless these days unless they’re dying for a good beer gut.

It also doesn’t help Matt Harvey that he enjoys being the center of attention. Whether it’s hanging out with Victoria Secret models, venturing to every Knick and Ranger game known to man and being a story in Page Six is all well and good when you’re pitching well.

Nobody cares about Matt Harvey’s social life when the performance is there. When it’s not, some want to point to his extracurricular activities as a distraction to his performance on the field.

Now it’s up to Matt Harvey to change the narrative once again. The boo birds will turn around with a couple of good starts, but it will be fascinating to see how Harvey handles the next few weeks.

To get to where they want to go, the Mets will need The Dark Knight to rise once again.

Will the real Matt Harvey please stand up?

You can listen to me this Sunday from 1 to 6 a.m. & Monday from 2 to 6 a.m. on WFAN Sports Radio 66/101.9 FM, and Monday evening 6 to 10 p.m. on CBS Sports Radio.
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