Psychoanalyzing Matt Harvey


That stuff I wrote in the Tiger Woods post? About the folly of playing armchair psychologist to athletes? Don’t think for a moment that, just because it’s pointless, writers will stop doing it. They’ve always done it and always will.

One place where they do it all the time is New York. There are reasons for this. One is that there are a lot more reporters covering New York teams and they’re looking for fresh angles. The “he’s a winner” or “he’s a true Yankee” or “he’s a leader” or “he has feet of clay” angles are not always the first choice when it comes to writing about a player, but they’re often the fourth, seventh or tenth, and with so many column inches to fill guys who cover the Yankees and Mets have been doing this for years.

The latest to do it is Bob Klapisch and he does it for Matt Harvey today. He does so with reference to Noah Syndergaard who, at the moment, is a better pitcher. Syndergaard’s rising star is undeniable, but it’s hilarious how Klapisch uses that as a basis for not only praising Syndergaard but for burying Harvey and drawing all kinds of conclusions about his mindset and ego and insecurities. It’s ridiculous.

It takes a trained psychologist multiple intense sessions with a patient to draw even the most basic conclusions about what makes them tick, what bothers them what drives them and what causes them to fail or succeed. A sports columnist in New Jersey thinks he can get to the bottom of that kind of thing based on some radar gun readings, some line scores, some superficial clubhouse interactions and his hunches. Sure. That’s not idiotic or anything.