Like a thunderbolt in your Cheerios, son… wake up and smell the toxic waste.
It would naturally seem strange to observers unused to the thin air and heavy gravity of Planet Wilpon that the [Mets] would go so egregiously and strangely out of its way to alienate [Matt] Harvey, who was most recently criticized by team officials and manager Terry Collins for expressing the apparently scandalous sentiment that he’d like to return to the mound this season… It’s not that all this is any less strange to those of us who make our summer homes on Planet Wilpon, but it is so deeply, wearyingly familiar. And it’s familiar not just because this type of weird reflexive scolding has followed Harvey through his rise to stardom, but because it is something like the Wilpon way. This cartoonish meta-leadership is the only thing the Wilpons do reliably. They say “no” and “stop” and “don’t” because they can, and to remind themselves and everyone else who gets to say no and stop and don’t.
It’s a dumb and high-handed way to deal with Matt Harvey—it’s a dumb and high-handed way to deal with anyone—but the willful hypocrisy and silly-salty umbrage of it is, in a backhanded way, clarifying. The Wilpon Way is to demand accountability from others, but not from themselves; it is to demand steely discipline from everyone but those making that demand.
It’s a bummer, of course, and not just where it relates to Matt Harvey. The self-satirizing elements of it—these petty and childish men decrying a lack of maturity in others, these mediocre men demanding what they cannot earn and can’t afford—are maybe too successful as satire to be especially funny. There is no need for the Wilpons to keep reminding everyone who is in charge in Queens, although that will not stop them from doing it. It’s impossible to forget, and difficult to ignore. That’s the problem.
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