It is real and it is tangible. As the Mets announced on Saturday evening that their game on Sunday was a sellout, you realize the impact of Matt Harvey.
In this city, where there are so many distractions, it is the rare athlete that can capture the imagination of THIS CITY with so many things going on. That is exactly what Matt Harvey has done. With blustery confidence, he carries the weight of a franchise on his broad shoulders. He relishes the attention and the opportunity that is in front of him, which is so refreshing. Simply, he wants to be great and understands the sacrifice that comes along with it.
I was too young to appreciate and bear witness to what Doc Gooden did in 1985 for the Mets when he went 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA. Gooden became Doctor K in 1984 when he had 276 strikeouts in 218 innings of work. The beginning was really a five game stretch in ’84 when he pitched 44 innings, striking out 58 and registered a 0.82 ERA. We all know what happened in 1986 as the Mets won the World Series. That was then and this is now.
Enter Matt Harvey. Every day that he throws is now a holiday in these parts, and for good reason. It's Harvey Day!
I can’t imagine the feeling or the pressure when you carry all the hopes of a fan base on your right arm. Like an old fashioned church revival, Harvey has his believers and they show up in droves. They want to bear witness to his brilliance. They want to believe again, and just like a bible thumping preacher, Harvey helps ease their pain.
You have to remember this fan base, has been beaten down. They are tired of hearing of financial restrictions and the impact of Bernie Madoff. They are tired of waiting for next year when next year always seems to be a few years away. They are tired of seeing this town painted in Yankees pinstripes. They are tired of being sold on the individual story - whether it be Jose Reyes and the batting title or R.A. Dickey and his Cy Young season. It is 2015 and the Mets have not had a winning season since 2008. They have not had a winning record at home since 2010.
The Mets fan has witnessed a lot of bad baseball and losing baseball for far too long. Say it with me, “I believe.”
I believe that Harvey will lead the renaissance of the Mets. The Tommy John surgery is now in the rear view mirror. Sandy Alderson can be the subject of a book titled, "Baseball Maverick: How Sandy Alderson revolutionized baseball and revived the Mets." No matter. The revival began when Omar Minaya selected Harvey with the 7th overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. We did not know it then. We know it now.
So here's to Matt Harvey, the man who sells out Citi Field and the man who makes the most hardened Mets fan believe that 2015 is finally the year. Winning summer days and fall nights are ahead of us. I believe.