The New York Mets are coming off an historic season. They are entering 2016 as one of the favorites to win the World Series. The Mets have had quite a buzz around them with Yoenis Cespedes showing up to Spring Training in multiple grand entrances. However, the biggest buzz was caused by the announcement that Matt Harvey will open the season for the Mets on April 3.
Mets' manager Terry Collins had nothing but high praise for Harvey when he announced his decision. The Post-Standard reported Harvey's reaction to the decision. Harvey remained humble despite the fact that this is a great honor.
"Terry could have announced anybody," Harvey said. "So for me getting the nod it's a huge honor. I think it's all about how we start and come out and I definitely feel a year after (Tommy John) surgery, I'm definitely 100 percent."
Collins could have opted to choose any of one of the Mets' star pitchers. Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz were all in the running for the job as well. Harvey was never an immediate lock for Collins. The fact that deGrom and his wife are expecting their first child on April 5 took a role in making the decision.
The Daily News reported that deGrom was not sour about Harvey being chosen over him. He praised Harvey's abilities on the field and proceeded to congratulate him.
"I am definitely going to be there when my son is born," deGrom said. "I think that played a little bit of a role in it. … I am happy for Matt and what he's done in a short period is impressive."
Harvey has become so popular in New York and around Major League Baseball that fans have dubbed him, "The Dark Knight." Sports Illustrated was the first to give birth to the idea after using the phrase on a cover of their magazine.
This will be the first time Harvey will pitch on Opening Day. Last season, he boasted a 2.71 ERA. He had 13 wins and eight losses on the season coming off of Tommy John surgery. Harvey may improve this year after having an entire season under his belt. It takes time before pitchers can get back to their normal playing abilities.
The Mets will play the Kansas City Royals on opening day. This game could really light a fire in the Mets' belly and put a lot of pressure on Harvey. Mets' fans are going to be itching to see their team possibly get some payback against the team that handed them a World Series loss.
The last time Harvey pitched against the Royals it didn't work out very well. He managed to persuade Collins to let him remain pitching in the ninth inning of the fifth game of the World Series. After keeping the game close, Harvey gave up two runs which eventually lead to the Mets' demise in extra innings.
Collins and Harvey were both criticized for the decision. Many analysts argue that Collins should have taken Harvey out even though Harvey felt that he could still pitch. That may have changed the dynamic of the entire game.
Adam Rubin of ESPN reported what Harvey had to say about playing the Royals to open the season.
"I think it's going to be a great atmosphere, obviously, going to Kansas City. Playing against them, it's going to bring back a lot of memories, but it's also going to bring back a lot of fire."The Mets and the Royals could very well end up in a World Series rematch so it may not be the last chance Harvey has to see them and get some real payback.
[Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images]