ESPN 30 for 30 “The Dark Knight”

With the trade completed on Tuesday for Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco, the Matt Harvey era of the New York Mets officially came to an end. If there is comeback chapter to be written for Harvey it will be with the Reds or another team. Once again, the Mets fans are left with an unfulfilled dream. More likely, the final chapter will be the one I posted here nearly two years ago to the day…


Original post May 20, 2016. After Harvey’s disaster of a start against the Nats last night, I’ve joined the ranks of other Mets fans and the New York media and am officially in full panic mode. Will anyone be shocked if we see this on the T.V. schedule in the near future? 

Tuesday night, an ESPN original series. ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 presents, “The Dark Night”, the story of pitcher, Matt Harvey, and his meteoric rise and fall as ace of the New York Mets.

SANDY ALDERSON (V.O. voice over)

He was like a rock star…the New York stage was his. Matt was viewed as the savior of our franchise.

ADAM RUBIN beat reporter (V.O)

His starts were  must-see events. The fans and the local media believed Matt Harvey was the second coming of Seaver.

DAVID WRIGHT, Mets 3rd baseman 2004-2018

When Matt took the mound, our team expected to win. We knew we held the advantage.

ESPN announcer: What happened? What changed after that fateful 9th inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series?

EVAN ROBERTS, WFAN radio host (V.O.)

I think it all comes back to Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras. At what point did he get in his client’s head and make it about the big contract, the superstar lifestyle, and worrying about innings limits after Tommy John surgery? I think that’s when Harvey lost his edge, that aura of invincibility. The joy of pitching and competing, the game itself, became secondary.

It’s July 26, 2012 and Matt Harvey is making his major league debut at Chase Field in Phoenix against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Fresh off an abbreviated stint with the Mets AAA affiliate, and joined by Buffalo Bisons teammate, catcher Rob Johnson, for the special occasion, Harvey is amped. His fastball is hissing and popping into Johnson’s  glove. The first batter he faces, Gerardo Parra, goes down swinging on a nasty slider. The Dark Knight has announced his arrival. Ten more batters will strike out, and Harvey will collect two hits, before the dream debut is complete after 5 1/3 innings.

TERRY COLLINS, Mets Manager 2011-2017

I haven’t seen 98 out of a starting pitcher in quite some time. He’s lived up to exactly what everybody’s talked about.

FADE IN

(high school team practicing on ball field)

Born in New London, and raised in nearby Mystic Connecticut, Matt Harvey is the only son and youngest of three children of Ed and Jackie Harvey, both teachers. Young Matt inherited his father’s athletic ability and competitive nature, and excelled at both basketball and baseball at Fitch Senior High School in Groton, Connecticut….

I’ve been wrong before, Sandy Alderson had me happily eating crow last year, but I pray I’m wrong this time.


Sadly, I think I was right…

Giants Co-owner Speaks Out About Team’s Playoff Outlook

Giants co-owner and part-time beet farmer, Dwight Kurt Schrute III, recently met with beat reporters, (pun intended), to discuss his team’s chances of sneaking into the playoffs as a wildcard entry.

“Bucs…Bears…blowin’ it for draft picks,” Schrute made his priorities clear to the team, his embattled coach Ben McAdoo, and anyone else in earshot of his satellite office in Scranton, PA.

“If I’ve learned anything in my many years as Assistant Regional Manager…”

“Assistant to the Regional Manager,” Jerry Reese perked his head up from behind his cubicle to correct his boss.

“I thought you don’t speak until the bye week,” Schrute countered with a scowl, then continued, “You can’t get your hopes up too high after one win. Let’s see if we are still playing ‘meaningful’ games in December. That’s my goal going into the season.”

“We need to prove ourselves every day. Competition is fierce from the Cowboys, the Eagles, the Falcons, the Packers and…”

“Don’t forget Staples and Office Depot,” Reese once again interjected.

“You really are a chatty fellow today, aren’t you? Anyway, my family is not a stranger to hardship. The Shrutes have always risen to the challenges before them and fought through the hardships of a violent league.”

When asked about the recent rash of injuries that have decimated the Giants’ receiving corps, Schrute was characteristically stoic and matter-of-fact with his response.

“Back in 1632, Frederick Tiberius Schrute shattered his leg falling from a stone outcropping while attempting to extract eggs from the nest of a Dodo bird. He managed to drag himself over to the nearby trees where he fashioned a cane and splint of small branches tied with vines he was able to gnaw through with his powerful jaws and teeth. Thus stabilized with his crude handiwork, F.T. Schrute navigated his way home and returned to the labors of beet farming.”

CBS Sports reporter Jim Rome rolled his eyes. “Mr. Schrute, this sounds a lot like the story you told us about your birth, when your father delivered you and your mother chewed through the umbilical cord. Aren’t we getting a bit off topic?”

“Well, it’s the truth…and the point is that we need to fight through our injuries and adversity. I fully expect Odell Beckham Jr. to be ready to play right after the bye week.”

Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News questioned the owner’s logic. “Isn’t that unrealistic Dwight?”

“Maybe Pat, but there is always Plan B,” Schrute conceded, “We tank and draft our quarterback of the future, Sam Darnold out of USC.”

Jerry Reese popped up out of his chair. His eyes surveyed the room like a bald-headed prairie dog.

“Hold on there, Dwight. I’m leaning toward the tight end out of Notre Dame. He’s a freak of nature!”

With that, the owner gestured with a dismissive backhand wave to his general manager and the reporters. “I think we’re done here.”

 

 

 

 

Philin’ In – Act Four

The saga of James Dolan, Phil Jackson and Isiah Thomas will bring new meaning to the phrase Triangle Offense.

Jimmy’s thoughts drifted back to the beach. Isiah was standing to his left, facing the minister who stood under a bough of roses formed into a heart shaped arch. The minister was speaking directly to Jimmy.

“James, have you prepared your vows?”

“Actually, I had planned to write my own, but decided that a song by my hero Eric Clapton perfectly expresses my feelings.”

With that, Jimmy lifted his guitar from its stand next to the alter and played the opening riffs to Change The World. As he started singing, the crowd was startled by his odd high-pitched falsetto.

“‘If I could reach the stars
Pull one down for you,
Shine it on my heart
So you could see the truth:
That this love inside
Is everything it seems.
But for now I find
It’s only in my dreams.

And I can change the world,
I will be the sunlight in your universe.
You would think my love was really something good,
Baby if I could change the world.

If I could be king,
Even for a day,
I’d take you as my queen;
I’d have it no other way.
And our love would rule
This kingdom we had made.
’til then I’d be a fool,
Wishing for the day…

That I can change the world,
I would be the sunlight in your universe.
You would think my love was really something good,
Baby if I could change the world.'”

“Hey James, I need you to sign off on this. Are you on board with the trade for Rose?” Jackson was shaking Dolan with one hand while he waved a paper and pen in the other.

“Rose?” Dolan looked puzzled, but continued, “Yeah, rose is good. I like rose,” he agreed as he signed, then handed the paper back to Jackson.

“Great! Then it’s settled.” Jackson rolled up the paper and stuffed it into his pants pocket. “One more thing…let me run this by you for the press conference.”

“OK?”

A mischievous smile spread across Jackson’s face. “What’s the difference between the New York Mets and the Titanic?”

“Phil…I don’t see what this has to do with…,” Dolan tried to interject.

“The Titanic hit an iceberg before sinking, and the Mets can’t hit anything.” Spittle flew out of Jackson’s mouth as he cackled at his punch line. “That should deflect the focus from our personnel moves.”

“I’m glad somebody’s having a good time,” the owner shrugged.

Jimmy delicately held a single rose as he stood facing Isiah. The minister was nearly finished.

“If anyone objects to this union, or feels threatened by the expression of heterosexual man love, speak now, before the NBA February 18th trade deadline, or forever hold your peace.”

A bright-eyed woman with dark, short cropped hair, pushed aside the crowd.

“What’s going on here? Who agreed to this? Have you all lost your minds?” She addressed the minister directly, “You better end this right now before I get everybody arrested.”

“I beg your pardon, Ma’am,” the minister responded defensively. “Same sex marriage is legal in this state.”

“I’m not talking about that, you fools…” Isiah realized what was happening and bowed his head sheepishly. The woman was Lynn Kendall, Isiah’s beleaguered wife of over thirty years.

“Isiah is already married to me! Let’s go Zeke!” Isiah obediently followed behind his wife as Jimmy fought back tears. First Anucha Browne Sanders and her trumped up accusations of sexual harassment against Isiah, and now this. Another strong-willed woman ruining his chance at happiness.

“‘Baby if I could change the world…,'” Jimmy slowly retraced his steps across the beach as he dreamed, along with millions of Knicks fans, of what might have been.

Philin’ In – Act Three

The saga of James Dolan, Phil Jackson and Isiah Thomas will bring new meaning to the phrase Triangle Offense.

Jimmy walked along the beach, making his way to the makeshift alter. This was the happiest day of his life. As he turned the corner, emerging from the row of sea roses, he spotted his beloved.

“Jim…James! I thought about what we discussed the other day and maybe Kurt Rambis is not the answer.” Phil Action Jackson towered over Dolan like a gaunt, enormous bird, as he roused him from his daydream.

“What is it Phil?” he asked, unable to conceal his annoyance. “What was the question?”

“About who should coach the Knicks?”

“So, you’ve finally decided to coach the team yourself?” Jackson now had Dolan’s attention.

“No way Jimbo! I already told you, that would be ridiculous. How about this?” Jackson’s huge hands framed the air marquee in the space between them, “Jeff…” he paused for effect, “Horn-a-cek.”

Dolan glared at Jackson.

“Well, what do you think?”

“Phil, you’re really testing my patience. As it is, I’m still paying Derek Fisher. What happened, you couldn’t find one of the Van Gundy brothers?” he asked mockingly. “Maybe we should call Isiah. His record at Florida International wasn’t a total disaster.”

Although Thomas’s record over three seasons at FIU was 26-65 and he never won more than 11 games in a single season, measured against the benchmark that is the New York Knicks organization under the leadership of Jackson, Dolan’s assessment was not totally off base.

“I already called Isiah’s agent, and was told he’s auditioning for a summer theatre production of Othello.”

“Isiah’s auditioning for the part of Othello?”

“No, Desdemona,” Jackson informed him as Dolan slowly nodded.

“I guess that makes sense. It is Shakespeare.” An idea slowly coalesced in Jimmy’s mind as an opportunity presented itself.

“Is the part of Othello still available?” “‘Put out the light, and then put out the light.'”

Jackson, who had already lost interest, turned on his heel and left the owner alone with his thoughts. Jackson lamented, “Why can’t you be more like Jerry Reinsdorf?”

Philin’ In – Act Two

The saga of James Dolan, Phil Jackson and Isiah Thomas will bring new meaning to the phrase Triangle Offense.

Dolan burst into Jackson’s office, his $500 loafers sliding across the carpet.

“Phil, I have an idea.”

Jackson, who had been lounging on the office sofa in his boxers, sat upright and grabbed his pants that were draped over the sofa arm. Pulling them up and tucking in his shirt, he rolled his eyes as he asked, “What is it now Jim?”

“I think you should coach the team,” Dolan announced.

“No can do James. No coach of my preeminence would manage this group. I’m waiting until we get Lebron, Durant, Hardin and Curry. I have a legacy to maintain.” Jackson walked over to the conference table in the corner of his office, rolled out one of the leather armchairs, and careful lowered himself into the seat. Empty food containers, left over from lunch, littered the table. Glancing over at Dolan, he folded his hands and waited for his reaction.

Dolan was agitated by Jackson’s dismissive attitude. “What makes you think you can sign all of those guys?”

“Because of these, baby!” Jackson held out his hands, splaying his fingers to proudly display his championship rings.

“Yeah, that’s great Phil, but…huh, what is that green stuff?”

Jackson sucked the mystery substance from the top of one of the golden rings. “That would be wasabi,” an amused Jackson grinned.

As Jackson chuckled at his back, the disgusted owner stormed out of the office grumbling under his breath, “Why can’t you be more like Isiah?”

Philin’ In – Act One

The saga of James Dolan, Phil Jackson and Isiah Thomas will bring new meaning to the phrase Triangle Offense.

“Phil…PHIL! Wake up!” Jim Dolan yanked his GM’s shoulders back to lift his head from the desk. A rivulet of drool escaped from the corner of his mouth. Dolan shook Jackson as he slapped his cheek.

“PHIL!…C’mon man, wake up now. It’s three in the afternoon for crissake!”

“Wha’, what’s wrong? What do want?” Jackson asked groggily. He slowly opened his eyes and straightened in his seat. “Did my package from Amazon come? I’m waiting for a trimmer for my soul patch.” He stroked the grey chin hairs between his thumb and forefinger.

“No, I don’t care about that. What are we gonna do about Melo?”

“What do you mean?” The Zen Master squinted at his boss.

“He’s telling the press he’s fed up with losing, that he wants to get traded to a contender.” Dolan was frantic.

“Fuck him,” Jackson spoke calmly. “Let him go.”

“What are you talking about? You know I can’t do that. I gave up half the team and put us back in salary cap hell to get him. It’s what Isiah wanted.” Dolan gazed wistfully skyward as he thought about his former team president. “You need to apologize to him and get him to re-sign. I don’t care what it takes.”

“Apologize? To who, Isiah?”

“Yea, no wait…you know what I mean.”

“Alright, I’ll pay him what he wants and tell him we’re negotiating with Lebron.”

“That’s better,” Dolan exhaled as he brightened slightly.

“Are we done now?” Jackson grunted.

“I guess so,” Dolan paused as the short-lived smile left his face. “Why can’t you be more like Isiah?” he asked.

Jackson answered as his head sank back into his long arms folded on the desktop, “I’ll see what I can do about that…”

Jimmy’s thoughts drifted back to memories of a simpler and happier time when he and the love of his life, Isiah, roamed the halls, offices and courts of Madison Square Garden. It was a magical place where they shared inside jokes and ruled like kings.

“Isiah, does this suit make me look fat?” Jimmy looked to Isiah for approval.

“Of course not. You’re perfect!” Isiah beamed.

“Do you think I’m pretty?”

“As pretty as you want to be.”

Jimmy was pleased. “Isiah, I wrote a song for you. Would you like to hear it?” Jimmy reached behind a cabinet for his guitar.

“Of course,” Isiah replied as he sat in the corner and looked up attentively.

“There once was a man, a giant among men, his achievements were the stuff of legend…”

“Mr. Dolan, please call One-Nine-Seven-Three…Mr. Dolan, One-Nine-Seven Three please,” the page blared over the loudspeakers. Dolan sighed and headed back to his office.

 

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