MLB: New York Mets at Chicago Cubs

Matt Harvey and the 162-game memory

Matt Harvey gets to start over.
Most of us don’t get that chance. We’re stuck with our lives, with our jobs and our apartments and our choices. We talk about a new life, about moving to Spain and opening a bookshop or to Australia and running a bar. But we don’t. We stay in our jobs and our apartments and our lives.
Matt Harvey gets to start over.
As soon as Corey Seager grounded out to end the World Series, the 2017 season was closed and put away into the record books. It’s over. It’s done. Baseball starts clean in 2018, just like it does every season. Nine months exist in a bubble, from March to November. Then it starts again.
Tabula rasa.
2017 was bad for Harvey. 92.2 innings. A 6.70 ERA. 4.6 walks per 9. 21 home runs. Shoulder problems. Nerve issues from his 2016 thoracic outlet surgery. Late night parties and a three-game suspension and a broken heart. It was a bad year.
“New year. People make mistakes,” he said Thursday at his first press conference of the spring. “I’m looking forward to a new season.”
Matt Harvey gets to start over.
He’s not the Dark Knight anymore. He hasn’t been for a while. The Mets don’t need him to be. They have Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. They have two aces. They don’t need Harvey to be an ace. And he won’t be. If healthy, he’ll be better than a 6.70 ERA and 4.6 walks per 9. Probably. Maybe. Hopefully. If he’s healthy. There’s no way to know if he’ll be healthy. So maybe Harvey is a No. 3 now. Maybe’s he’s a No. 5. That’s probably the best outcome. And that’s fine too. The Dark Knight is dead.
Matt Harvey gets to start over.
Bartolo Colon reinvented himself. Steven Wright and Sandy Koufax and Roy Halladay did too. They started over. They found new ways to succeed, different ways to succeed. Because baseball allows you to do that. Every 162 games, it starts over. You start over. If Harvey succeeds, we’ll forget about 2017. If he fails in his last season before becoming a free agent, I don’t know where he goes. He probably doesn’t either. It won’t be on a $500 million deal to the Yankees, like we once thought. He’s not going to chase record contracts with Bryce Harper. He may not even get a major league deal. But he probably will, because he used to be a star. Teams will pay for the promise of a used-to-be-a-star.
Baseball has a 162-game memory. Every spring, you get to try again. The record books are wiped clean. The ERA zeroes out. You get to start over. The rest of us should be so lucky.

Photo credit: Kamil Krzaczynski – USA Today Sports

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