The Mets could skip Matt Harvey’s next start, or limit his innings on Saturday, due to a blister he has pitched with for the last three games, according to the New York Daily News. Another reason to limit him on Saturday, though, is so he is fresh and ready to start the All-Star Game that the Mets will host at Citi Field on July 16th.
It’s an exhibition, right? Doesn’t mean anything? Let’s set aside the home field advantage aspect of the All-Star Game (it matters!) because that doesn’t matter much for the Mets since they will not benefit. Look at it from this perspective. You are a fan. You get to set a priority list on getting tickets to any game on the schedule. You don’t know how many of the games you will get to see, but if you get ten games, for example, you will get the top ten on the list.
Now, let’s say that you also know generally how well your team will do, whether they will be a contender or bringing up late call-ups because the team is going through the motions. Where would you prioritize the All-Star Game? Probably behind a September game if your team was in contention for a playoff spot on the final day, but well ahead of a game in the final week when you are 20 games out.
The Mets are currently 9.5 games out of a playoff spot in the National League, and not only that, but seven other (non-playoff) teams are positioned between them and that fifth spot. The distance, as well as the number of competitors, makes the Mets an extreme long shot to make the postseason in 2013.
So just how much more meaningful is a different home start for Matt Harvey, versus starting in the All-Star game? I would say not much in a championship probability standpoint. We spend way too much time worrying about the future when it comes to talking about sports anyway. Who will be the last wildcard? Who will be drafted next year?
We don’t just enjoy the moments enough in sports. The All-Star game, now that’s a moment. It may not have meaning beyond stepping on the field that night against a lineup of the best players, but it’s the type of moment we would all dream of–not playing a game in September when the stands are mostly empty and the kids have gone back to school. My opinion on this would be different if the Mets were in the middle of the playoff chase, but they are not. When it comes to deciding what is most important here, from an emotional and personal perspective, it’s being on the rubber to throw out the first pitch.
I’m sure there will be plenty of LOL Mets and complaints about how it isn’t sporting to place preference on the All-Star Game over a regular season one. Count me among those that would rather see Harvey’s eyes sparkle under the bright lights of the All-Star Game. It’s okay to place preference on a star hometown player coming out in a game seen everywhere, over another when you have less than a 1% chance of seeing the postseason. In fact, seems perfectly rational to me.
[photo via USA Today Sports Images]