Both the New York Mets and their beleaguered fanbase had high hopes for 2014, with Travis d'Arnaud behind the plate catching a pair of young aces, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler.
Monday afternoon, those hopes were crushed, with multiple outlets (including Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal) reporting that Harvey may not be part of that equation for quite some time:
Source: #Mets’ Harvey has partially torn UCL. Will be shut down. Determination on whether he needs Tommy John surgery will be made later.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 26, 2013
Before Mets fans begin running across the Grand Central Parkway at rush hour, Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan is quick to point out that not all partial UCL tears wind up requiring Tommy John surgery—but they usually do:
There are rare occasions in which pitchers make it through partial UCL tears without Tommy John surgery. Usually it's an inevitability.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 26, 2013
Adam Wainwright pitched for more than five years after a partial tear. Chad Billingsley, on the other hand, didn't make it a year.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 26, 2013
Speaking of the St. Louis ace, not even Wainwright has ever put a season together that was as dominant as the one Harvey was in the midst of, as noted by CSN Philly's Corey Seidman:
4 pitchers in MLB history have had at least 191 strikeouts & as few as 31 walks in a season. Matt Harvey. Roy Halladay. Cliff Lee. Cy Young.— Corey Seidman (@CoreySeidman) August 26, 2013
Let's treat this Matt Harvey injury with some levelheadedness. It's not the end of the world. Just the worst thing that has ever happened.— John Kennedy (@jwk1988) August 26, 2013
This Harvey news = Luke Skywalker getting caught by stormtroopers in Tattoine before boarding Millenium Falcon at Mos Eisley #mattharvey— Daniel Kohn (@danielkohn) August 26, 2013
The original Star Wars would have played out quite differently had that happened, just as the Mets future is going to should Harvey need to go under the knife.
Some fans are looking for someone—or something—to blame for this horrible news:
Matt Harvey's injury: I blame society.— Mike Bates (@commnman) August 26, 2013
Others didn't have to look very far for their scapegoat:
On April 23, 2010, while at UNC, Matt Harvey threw 157 pitches in a game. Makes you wonder why pitchers ever go to college.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 26, 2013
Here is the box score from the game Matt Harvey threw 157 pitches in college: http://t.co/K3Qxj7CBFv— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 26, 2013
Another UNC alum, and one of Harvey's teammates with the Tar Heels, Houston's Alex White, underwent Tommy John surgery in April after blowing out his elbow.
Coincidence? Maybe. Or perhaps it's more than that.
On the other hand, Craig Calcaterra from NBC Sports' Hardball Talk doesn't believe that Harvey's injury has anything to do with what he's done on a pitcher's mound:
Matt Harvey wouldn't have gotten hurt if he hadn't posed nude for ESPN. #TommorrowsKlapischToday— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) August 26, 2013
Arizona's Daniel Hudson, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012 and re-tore the ligaments in his right elbow again in June, requiring a second round with the surgery, is hoping that his fellow hurler doesn't need to experience what he's currently going through:
Hoping Matt Harvey’s injury doesn’t require TJ… Wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy— Daniel Hudson (@DHuddy41) August 26, 2013
Even players from one of the Mets most hated rivals, the Atlanta Braves, couldn't help but chime in with their support:
Tough to hear about @MattHarvey33 ! Don't want that to happen to anybody! I'll be praying for you buddy!— Freddie Freeman (@FreddieFreeman5) August 26, 2013
That says something about Freddie Freeman's character, as the Braves first baseman has never recorded a hit in six career at-bats against Harvey, striking out twice.
CSN Washington's Mark Zuckerman points out that August 26 has become the new Friday the 13th for bright, young pitchers:
3 years ago today, Stephen Strasburg's torn elbow ligament was diagnosed. Reports out of NY the same happened today to Matt Harvey.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) August 26, 2013
That's not just a coincidence—that's crazy.
When Matt Harvey gets shut down, we all lose.— Anthony Castrovince (@castrovince) August 26, 2013
Not only have the Mets been robbed of the ace of their staff and had their hearts ripped out, but all of baseball loses out on watching one of the brightest young pitchers in recent memory finish out what has been a historically-dominant season, one that could have culminated with a NL Cy Young Award.
Now, all we can do is hope for the best and wait for the worst.