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Some on the Mets beat are upset Matt Harvey didn’t want to answer questions

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Struggling Mets pitcher Matt Harvey was recently moved from the rotation to the bullpen and his 2018 debut as a reliever did not go well on Tuesday. The embattled right-hander now owns a 5.87 ERA on the season. As MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo noted, Harvey did not speak to reporters after Tuesday’s game.

Harvey also refused to speak to reporters on Wednesday before the Mets’ game in St. Louis against the Cardinals:

Sports reporters don’t like it when players don’t want to answer questions because it makes their jobs slightly more difficult. Unfortunately, some of these writers take their annoyance out on the player. Here’s how DiComo responded to a reader:

If he’s having a bad day, for whatever reason, he’s allowed to set his own boundaries and pass up speaking to reporters or simply offer a brief “no comment.” Even DiComo admits that if Harvey were to fake his way through an interview (“spout a few cliches”), he wouldn’t get any truly useful quotes or information. A player forced to interact with the media might also handle it the way Marshawn Lynch did on Media Day ahead of Super Bowl XLIX, repeatedly saying, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined,” rather than offer any valuable insight. Respecting Harvey’s wishes, rather than pestering him for a useless quote, might yield better quotes later on. This is a two-way street. Harvey was/is hostile, but so too is DiComo and anyone else who feels he’s owed an interview.

DiComo also wrote this to a reader:

If Harvey is able to turn things around, his prospective suitors won’t care whether or not he talked to reporters on April 24-25. No one will view him as “unprofessional” if he can be effective with his mid-90’s fastball. Sports journalists created the “unprofessional” angle to pressure athletes into talking to them. This can be undone as easily as it was created.

Harvey absolutely should not have been rude to DiComo and anyone else looking to talk to him as part of their job responsibilities. Keep in mind, however, that when people repeatedly refuse to respect your boundaries, you have to get more emphatic until you’re heard. The ultimate solution here is to simply be more understanding of athletes — and people in general — who are going through a rough patch and don’t want to be around/talk to people. We’ve all had plenty of days like that.

Christian Yelich on Manny Machado: “it was a dirty play by a dirty player”

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As we wrote during last night’s game, the Brewers and Dodgers benches cleared after Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar and Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado exchanged words at first base. The exchange came after Machado dragged his left leg, slamming it into Aguilar’s leg as he crossed the bag (video of the play appears at the bottom of this article). During postgame interviews in the wee hours this morning, a couple of Brewers players took issue with Machado.

Outfielder Christian Yelich did not mince words, saying the play at first was “a dirty play by a dirty player.” When he was done answering questions, he said of Machado, “F**k that motherf***er.”

His comments in full, not including the expletive, which was noted by several assembled reporters:

You all could see how that unfolded. Everyone has their own opinion. He is a player that has a history with those types of incidents. One time is an accident. Repeated over and over again. It’s a dirty play. It’s a dirty play by a dirty player. I have a lot of respect for him as a player but you can’t respect someone who plays the game like that. it was a tough-fought baseball game. It has no place in our game. We’ve all grounded out. Run through the bag like you’ve been doing your whole life like everybody else does. If it’s an accident it’s an accident. On the replay to us, it clearly looks like you clearly go out of your way to step on someone. It just has no place in our game. It’s unacceptable. I don’t know what his problem is honestly. I’ve played against him for a long time. It has no place in the game.

Travis Shaw had his opinion too:

“Dirty play. You saw the replay. He can say all he wants that he didn’t do it, but it’s pretty obvious he meant to do it. He’s shown it multiple times throughout his career. I mean, it’s just a dirty play. A kick to his leg right there. It was not by mistake.”

Brewers manager Craig Counsell was also asked about Machado and whether he thought the play was dirty. Counsell declined to say so explicitly, but he clearly signaled that he agreed with his players, all while taking a pretty sharp swipe at Machado in his own way. At least when you remember that’s that, in baseball, the usual defense to playing “dirty” is that the guy involved is actually just “playing hard”:

Q. Two things: How did you see the play with Machado at first base? And given that, combined with the slides, do you think he’s going to beyond the grounds of playing hard?

Counsell: I don’t know. I guess they got tangled up at first base. I don’t think he’s playing all that hard.

So yes, I’d say that’s Counsell implying strongly that he thinks the play was dirty while simultaneously taking a swipe at Machado for being lazy. Which, let’s be honest, is also a fair charge given recent events.

For his part, Machado — who did apologize to Aquilar later in the game — said, “I play baseball, I try to go out there and win for my team. If that’s their comments, that’s their comments, I can’t do nothing about that.” Which, should be noted, is not a denial.

As we’ve noted, this was not the first incident involving Machado on the base paths in this series. In Game 3 Machado twice attempted to interfere with Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia at the second base bag, getting called for interference on the second one. Anyone watching the play with Aguilar could see that Machado was trying to interfere with him too.

It may be worth noting at this point that, four years ago, Machado was suspended for five games for throwing a bat at a guy.

The Dodgers are no doubt happy with their victory, but there are likely a lot of players around the game — including, I would imagine, players on his own team — who are not too happy with what Machado has shown this series.

UPDATE: Even Dodgers luminary Orel Hershisher called out Machado’s play as dirty on the Dodgers’ very own TV network.