Marc Malusis: Only Matt Harvey can figure out Matt Harvey - Metro US

Marc Malusis: Only Matt Harvey can figure out Matt Harvey

New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey during batting practice. (Getty Images)
Mets pitcher Matt Harvey has been suspended for three games due to violating team rules. His start will be given to Adam Wilk on Sunday against the Miami Marlins.

It is on him.

Matt Harvey took the mound this past Friday night in Milwaukee looking to regain his form. He was clean shaven looking for a clean start in Miller Park, a long ways away from the bright lights of New York City and the Meatpacking District that represents the latest twist in the Matt Harvey saga.

The 897 miles between Milwaukee and Queens represent the pitcher he was and the pitcher he is today. Dip under his front right lip looking to portray the intimidating presence on the mound that he struggles to find inside of him. His eyes on Friday night no longer showed a steely self-assured glare, but that of an individual searching for confidence, answers and success. Not only is Harvey battling back from two major surgeries in recent years, but is now battling the inner demons of confidence and self-doubt as this city looks to be caving down on top of him.

It is on him.

Because not only is Matt Harvey looking to regain his old form, but he does it with the perception that he is looking to dominate the night life in New York like he dominated on the mound. You have every reason to believe he is an athlete that has gotten sideways after serving a three-game suspension, handed down by his own team this past week. He searches for the answers after being publicly shamed and embarrassed by the team that signs his checks in the hopes of waking him up and getting him to focus on baseball.

It is on him.

I think we all have a tendency to forget what it takes to be great. Certainly you need to start with a level of ability, but it also takes a passion and a drive to continue to work even when initial success comes your way.  Derek Jeter had his number retired on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium and had his monument unveiled in front of the adoring Yankees faithful. Jeter symbolizes so much for the Yankee fan. No question the success and the championships, but also the drive and the work ethic to be great even when many doubted just how good he was. He wanted to prove people wrong and he did as he goes down as one of the greatest players ever to wear the pinstripes.

When Matt Harvey first blasted on the New York scene, his star blazed the sky just as fast as his two seam fastball. We all remember his major league debut in Arizona as he symbolized hope and change with his 11 strikeouts in a Mets win versus the Diamondbacks. He now symbolizes frustration.

It is on him.

Let’s go back to the August 2013 issue of Men’s Journal in which Harvey praised Jeter. “That guy is the model. I mean, first off, let’s just look at the women he’s dated. Obviously, he goes out – he’s meeting these girls somewhere – but you never hear about it. That’s where I want to be.” All you do is hear about Harvey, nothing is quiet. There was a time when George Steinbrenner was frustrated by the stories of Jeter being out in New York City until 3 a.m., but his lifestyle never got in the way of his play on the field. Baseball was always his first priority. After all, it was March of this year that pictures surfaced of Matt Harvey publicly making out with supermodel Adriana Lima at the River Yacht Club in Miami. Jeter famously made you leave your cell phone at the door upon entering his home in Tampa. Little bit different, wouldn’t you say? Harvey wants to be Derek Jeter and he wants his lifestyle. Who wouldn’t? Jeter has won at life. But he paid the price to get it. Nothing was handed to him, he earned it all and it all started with his play on the field and his work ethic. Harvey might want to be like Jeter, but he should know what defined Jeter.

It is on him.

Matt Harvey served his suspension this past week for not showing up at CitiField last Saturday. He was scratched from his scheduled Sunday start and the criticism and ridicule raged on. He was out past curfew the night before in Manhattan and played golf on Saturday morning and decided not to show up for work. It is the second time Harvey has not been there for the Mets organization. In 2015, he did not show up on time for a mandatory workout before the National League Division Series against the Dodgers. He apologized then and he apologizes now. Both were believable, but as we go through this for the second time, Harvey will ultimately be judged based on his actions and not his words.

It is on him.

He came across well to the media. He was contrite and embarrassed. He said all the right things. Now comes the tough part and that is doing all the right things. Is Harvey willing to sacrifice the social scene to be great? Is he willing to work to once again become a dominant starting pitcher. He was not dominant in Milwaukee on Friday night. He walked off the mound in the bottom of the sixth inning, having allowed five runs on seven hits. You could see it in his eyes Friday evening as he is still searching for answers, confidence and results. He did not resemble the pitcher he once was. It is no longer just about stuff. It is more than that. Harvey is trying to find himself and discover what he wants to be. Will baseball now be his priority?

What happened to “The Dark Knight”? It is complicated.

It is on Harvey to find the answer.

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