Matt Harvey had been under the impression he was not allowed to do one-on-one interviews, as the team is set on him not being a story in 2014, but he talked Tuesday with columnist Andy Martino (Daily News, Mar. 18).
“It just felt like all of a sudden I was shooed to the back. I have been not allowed to talk to anybody,” Harvey said to Martino. “My locker was basically in a closet. I didn’t think that was right.”
In the middle of the interview, Mets VP of Media Relations Jay Horwitz made an effort to stop the on-the-record conversation, according to Martino’s report; but Harvey pushed back, saying, “Jay, if somebody needs to talk to the Players’ Association, I have a right to have him writing about me.”
It was later explained to Harvey by Sandy Alderson that the team isn’t demanding he avoid one-on-one interviews, because it’s his right to do so; but it would save Harvey and the team’s PR department time if his communication was handled in a group setting.
“Harvey wanted to make sure I knew, and wrote, that he felt much better,” Martino wrote. “His overall tone was much more measured.”
Horwitz later announced that Harvey would address the entire media.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
I mentioned 10 days ago that Harvey was upset about his locker being moved, because it was being talked about a lot in the clubhouse when I was there in late February (MetsBlog, Mar. 10). Yes, it’s typical that a player out for the season will have his locker moved, just like Jeremy Hefner’s locker was moved. It’s how clubhouse people arrange the set up. That’s not the point, though. The point is that Harvey didn’t know this was standard operating procedure and was unhappy about it, as he explained on record to Martino. It speaks to a lack of communication between the front office, media department and their most popular star, and it speaks to a young player with a big ego, tremendous talent, a short resume and a long road to recovery.
In regards to one-on-one interviews or a scrum, I’ve had several interview requests of Harvey and other high-profile players and executives rejected over the years for this exact reason. Basically, if I ask and get the interview, then others will ask and have to get it and it ends up never ending or not being fair. It’s disappointing, but I respect how difficult it must be to scale a player’s limited time with the increasing demand for media and information in New York City, all while he has real baseball work and responsibilities to do on field (such as focusing on rehab). And, for what it’s worth, when I hear a player on radio or doing an exclusive interview with a different Mets blog or writer, I wonder why I couldn’t be involved as well. It’s natural… This may or may not be the whole reason for the Mets wanting to limit Harvey’s communication with reporters, but I will say that it’s very consistent with how they’ve approached other high-profile players in the past.
In my former life, I worked media relations representing authors, bands and comedians, I’ve been on the other side of this process to a certain extent, so I understand how tedious it can be to have to field endless pitches and requests for talent. There are lots of ways to handle it, though, and the way the team is choosing to handle it is guaranteed to occasionally have these sort of incidents. If they know this, and it’s a calculated approach, good, and I wish them luck. If not, they may want to rethink it…