David Rubin - We Just Can't Look Away From The Accident in Front of Us


I had an 18 year old young man working for me a few years ago at one of my restaurants. He showed incredible promise, learning all positions quickly, and he was particularly good at the hardest position in our restaurant, which he took great pride in doing. He was on the fast track to a promotion, was dating another person in the restaurant (his first real girlfriend) and seemingly had a fantastic future as part of our team. Guests gave him compliments, and he had one of those infectious smiles that drew people to him like a magnet. I saw him 7.5 hours per day, 5 days a week, because this was our newest restaurant so it remained my main focus for about 5 months.

A few months past the opening, our executive team sat down over lunch and discussed the prospects for our future; his name came up, and my 3 compatriots were very enthused about his future with us, as far as management opportunities. I wasn't as enthusiastic, because there was something that was developing about his behavior that was like the itch in the back of my throat- you couldn't quite pinpoint where or what the itch was coming from, but nonetheless it was there.

Sure enough, within 2 months, this one-time 'golden boy' had entered rehab for the first time; his first, serious girlfriend was pregnant with their child, and the sun was setting on him very quickly. We didn't find out directly from him about his problems- his girlfriend, who also worked for us, asked for a private meeting with my GM and myself and proceeded to tell us what was happening. She begged us to give him another chance, as this was something that had never happened before, she knew that he would get out of rehab a changed person, and she and her baby needed him for their future We agreed to give him another chance and 8 weeks later, he was back, a bit less outgoing, a bit less excited about work, the "halo" around his head completely gone.

Other team members had been let down by his not showing up for work and either working short-handed or having to cover his shifts changing their own plans in the interim. They, too, were willing to give him another chance, and within 3 weeks or so, his worth ethic got much better, his attitude was great and he was once again doing the work of 1.5 people. Until it stopped- he had started down the same path as soon as he saw that he was forgiven, as soon as he saw that he was able to function again, and he thought that he had control this time, continuing his addiction but now, or so he thought, HE was in control.

But he wasn't- and I'm sure you can see where this is going. Now, a number of years later, he's been in and out of rehab repeatedly, isn't a good parent to his child, and never regained the promise he showed at the start of this road.  Sad, because of what could have been, what SHOULD have been, but it was something that none of us could control, other than not offering him any additional chances. A change of scenery was needed, at the very least...

Now,, IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM I am inferring ANYTHING similar to this situation and that of Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey, at least as far as the addiction thing. I have NO IDEA what he does in his spare time, and quite frankly, it's none of my business!!

Where the 2 situations parallel each other is this- where once Matt Harvey was the fair-haired golden child, could do no wrong, had a day named after him and was compared to the most well-known Super-hero in the world, now he was the guy whose peak may have already happened far too early.

His record so far in comparable games as a Met lines up with less-than-noteworthy former Mets pitchers Nino Espinosa and Pete Falcone. His trade value is nil, regardless of what any fan wants to think. NO TEAM is going to give up a top prospect or prospects for someone who has had 2 major surgeries and repeated (apparently) club violations/incidents all in the span of 5 years.

He's cost himself millions of dollars, as after the 2018 season when he finally hits free agency, the suitors who once would have been lining up to pay him hundreds of millions of dollars over anywhere from 6-10 years will now be looking at WAY smaller numbers at WAY less years (although P.T. Barnum will remind us that there's a sucker born every minute.)

At this point, there IS no quick-fix to this problem, there is no adequate way to move Harvey, so the only thing he can do at this point is the ONLY thing that any fan has WANTED him to do- GO OUT, PITCH YOUR HEART OUT, SHOW UP FOR THE GAMES AND GIVE THE TEAM YOUR BEST.

Harvey is coming back from MAJOR surgery and there still isn't a long track record as to recovery times and percentage of recovery being that it remains a relatively new procedure. We cannot expect vintage Harvey yet- but THAT might be the brunt of his frustration, because it's certainly the brunt of the frustration of the fanbase.

There are no winners here, not the team,, not the player, not the agent and not the fans. In fact, the only "winners" are the headline writers who can (and have) been running with this story for days. In fact, the Yankees are the losers here because they've been playing lights-out baseball and they can't even take over the back-pages of the local papers!!!

Like the young man who used to work for me, I wish Matt Harvey well, whatever his issues are, whatever he is or isn't dealing with- again, NOT my business. I only hope and pray that he's able to utilize this craziness to bear down and perform like he did at the end of the 2015 season. If he does, you'll see how quickly Mets fans can be forgiving, once more..


Mack Ade said...

David -

Herb Cohen, who wrote "How To Negotiate Anything" said that the best thing you could do when you went into a new job for the first day. Call a meeting for the whole staff and drop in at some point in that meeting that there are going to be some immediate changes. If it was your business David, he may say 'from now on we're going to put the knives on the left side of the plates'.

What you do next is critical.

You look around to see who everyone looks at.

That person, according to Cohen, was the 'guru'.

The guru was the non-team leader.

The guru was anti-management.

The guru was the chief cancer in the office and is the person you should fire immediately after your meeting ends.

My ex-boss, John Tenanglia of TK Communications, use to say that sometimes you have to 'tilt the building and let the ones fall out that can't hold on.'

Anonymous said...

From the beginning, the problem with Harvey has been the same. He is simply too full of himself and thinks that he is above the team. While that was tolerated while he was an ace, he is far from that now.

As the saying goes, everyone likes a winner and nobody likes a loser. Harvey has been doing just minimal work for a while now failing to recognize that minimal work doesn't cut it anymore. He needs to concentrate and again find the form that made him great.

Will common sense prevail or will the allure of beautiful women continue to keep him out late at nights when he should be preparing for his next start? Okay, maybe that's not the best example...but you get the point.

You can't drink all night and perform next day to the best of your ability, it just doesn't work.

The honeymoon is over when it comes to Mets fans. Harvey has enjoyed the love but he is getting close to hearing boos from now on. We all know he can't wait to leave as a free agent and the Mets can't wait to trade him if he rebuilds his value.


Mack Ade said...

The boos will begin tonight Viper.

Oh, there will be boos...

Thomas Brennan said...

His last chance - he was humbly apologetic - good - now he needs to model the behavior of one David Wright. Permanently.

David Rubin said...

Being humble sadly doesn't seem to be in his DNA.

However- when someone apologizes I always try to accept it, and then let him/her show with their actions, and their deeds, not their words, that they are truly sorry. I have had thousands of people reporting to me and I've had 25 reporting to me, and I have never modified that philosophy. We've all lived too long to accept an apology at face value to be the end of the situation; but we're all also human beings who at some point in our lives have needed that second, third and fourth chance. Luckily for us we don't sign Matt's checks, and that's a decision the owners/execs will have to make. We can only (and SHOULD only) judge by his actions on the field.

Throw a 2-hitter, go 7 innings on Friday, and all is forgiven...

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, somewhere the primadonna in the making Syndergaard was watching and learning. Lets hope he emulates deGrom and not Harvey from now on.

Anonymous said...

Besides Wright there is 1 person that should take Mr Harvey aside, and give him a long talking too!! I think Mr Dwight Eugene Gooden should have a little heart to heart with Harvey

Reese Kaplan said...

On how to live a life out of control and how to squander your career???

David Rubin said...

He's 28 and has made a fraction of what he could have made had he been more dedicated to the game. He's not committed to the sport the way guys like Kershaw and Scherzer are, and he doesn't work out hard enough in the off-season or during the season and it's truly a waste of his talent. Why does this team get so blessed to acquire/draft/sign players who have amazing natural talent and are content with wasting it? It's such a horrible thing to behold...

Mack Ade said...

David -

We didn't get the 7 quality innings you wanted last night from Wheeler.

We got six.

Heading in the right direction.

David Rubin said...

I will settle for 6.

Mack's Mets © 2012