Skip to content

New York columnist clutches his pearls over Matt Harvey giving the finger in a picture

Apr 23, 2014, 8:40 AM EDT

Matt Harvey AP

Yesterday Matt Harvey tweeted a picture of himself, in a hospital bed, giving the finger to the camera just before being wheeled in for Tommy John surgery last year.  After he tweeted it he took it down because someone from the Mets told him to take it down. That’s not too big a deal, of course. I censor myself online sometimes because I have an employer and I represent them as well as myself. So does Harvey. When you do that you honor their reasonable wishes when they are expressed. No harm, no foul. It’s simple drama avoidance, and I’d be shocked if anyone at the Mets gave it a second thought after Harvey took it down.

Of course the picture itself is no big deal. Indeed, the “we wish you wouldn’t do that” from his employer notwithstanding, it was kinda funny. His mom took it, apparently. It’s like any number of family pictures floating around my and my parents’ house. I’m guessing a lot of you have pictures like that too. If you can’t joke around with your parents and/or your adult children like that, God, who wants to know you?

Apparently Anthony Rieber of Newsday does. Indeed, he is shocked and appalled about a grown man joking around with his mom like that. It’s not what Derek Jeter or David Wright would do. Seriously, he actually said that:

Remember that time Derek Jeter posted something offensive on Twitter and then decided to take down his account after the Yankees asked him to delete the post?

No? How about that time David Wright did it?

Still no? . . .The problem is that it seems to keep being Harvey who is involved in these little dustups. Not Jeter, whom Harvey said he wants to emulate. Not Wright, who is as positive a role model as New York sports has ever had.

And after that Rieber goes into serious fainting couch/pearl-clutching territory, suggesting that the picture was R-rated and actually using a shocked exclamation point when he noted that Harvey’s mother took the picture. Like this (!).  When he quotes Harvey, who said that there was nothing wrong with the picture, Rieber says “Sorry, but there was.” With what I presume to be a straight face. He then uses a tattling tone to note that the middle finger pic was still up at Harvey’s Instagram account.

Newsday’s little bio of Rieber says he’s been working there since 1998. How one can cover news in New York City for 16 years and still find a way to be shocked at a grown man giving the middle finger is either a testament to how seldom Rieber leaves his house or how utterly disingenuous his shock and disgust at Harvey is here.

Either way, he should be far more embarrassed by that column than Harvey should be about anything he’s done since making the big leagues.

  1. tvguy22 - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    Or he’s a reporter trolling for attention.

  2. chacochicken - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    So who is the East Coast Puig? Harper or Harvey? Gomez has the upper Midwest covered.

    • wonkypenguin - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:25 AM

      Ooooo – good question. Who’s got the south?

      • kevinbnyc - Apr 23, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        Jose Fernandez. If you consider Florida “south”

  3. ningenito78 - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    If anybody is offended by that picture they shouldn’t be allowed on the internet.

    • Old Gator - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:30 AM

      Your lack of being offended offends me. What’s happening to youth today?

  4. Old Gator - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    Matt Harvey is the new Yasiel Puig.

    • Old Gator - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:59 AM

      Damned “send” button.

      As I was saying, it’s Harvey. Harper is not in his class. Can you even imagine Harper shooting his mother a bird?

      • chacochicken - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:11 AM

        But Harper has got that Outlaw Mormon thing going.

      • Old Gator - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:27 AM

        Really? How many wives does he have?

      • chacochicken - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:36 AM

        I’ve seen him partake of caffeinated beverages and then the Adderall…

      • pjmitch - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:16 AM


        I agree with your posts about Harvey shooting his mother the bird, but this one is off the mark. Members of the Church of Latter Day Saints (commonly called Mormons) due not practice plural marriage. All the reality shows that you may see on TV where plural marriage is practiced, those people are not members of the LDS church and the disclaimer at the beginning (or end) of each of those shows states that. They are members or practice teaching of an off shoot of the LDS church.

        Bryce Harper to my knowledge is a member of the LDS church but he may or may not practice all the teaching of the church. Chacochicken, caffeinated beverages is not forbidden in the church. It is not advised necessarily, but then again there are a lot of people and health experts that don’t advise caffeine.

        Just wanted to set the record straight.

      • vivabear - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:16 AM

        “Really? How many wives does he have?”

        Just a classic, bigoted Old Felcher comment.

      • Old Gator - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:53 PM

        Just a classic, pointless, mindless sewerbear bellyache.

        pjmitch: yes, I know all that. For what it’s worth, I have a graduate degree in theology, which to imbeciles like sewerbear apparently reads “marine biology.” Brigham Young University is one of my publishers in, uh, real life. The dimwitted burpings of my favorite catnip toy here notwithstanding, and for the sake of those others who are actually capable of learning something, let me add to your clarification that polygamy was one of the founding social conventions of the LDS from 1841 onward when Joseph Smith took his first additional wife, was reaffirmed as LDS official doctrine in 1852 by the newly formed LDS governance of Utah, and was given up, as a practical matter, in 1890 under intensifying federal pressure, including two congressional acts specifically criminalizing polygamy, to avoid the forced dissolution of the LDS and to clear a path to statehood for the territory, which the LDS wanted to call Deseret. In 1896 Utah became a state, with the proviso that the state actively prosecute polygamists. And so it ended, sort of.

        Groups of Mormons, operating outside of official Church policy but claiming, as such fanatics usually do, adherence to the “true” faith of Joseph Smith, have continued to practice polygamy regardless to the present day. I suppose Warren Jeffs’ Fundamentalist Church of the Latterday Saints would be the most well known example.

        Now, you will notice that the initial post that drew your response was itself a response to chacochicken’s “outlaw Mormon thing” comment. My comment was a parodical response to his, and clearly chacochicken was as aware, and referred to, ostracized polygamist sects by his comment in the first place.

        I doubt seriously if sewerbear, who has succeeded gloriously in disclosing his ignorance (as if such were necessary) and making a fool of himself again, has learned anything from this – he never does – but I hope you do understand where chacochicken and I were coming from.

      • vivabear - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:05 PM

        Just continue felching it up…

      • Old Gator - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        So that’s your reaction to making yourself look like a peawitted ignorant clown yet again? Ah well. Just continue being our alpha gutterspawn and go play with your thumbs.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:51 PM

        Alpha gutterspawn? He’d be lucky to reach epsilon status.

      • 22yearsagotoday - Apr 25, 2014 at 8:11 PM

        He said, “peawitted”.

  5. Kevin S. - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    It’s a good thing he wasn’t covering the Yankees in 1995. Can you imagine is reaction when Black Jack flipped off the actual crowd?

    • pjmitch - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:58 AM

      I think that is the point, how times have changed and not necessarily for the good. Now apparently showing disrespect for your mother and showing it to the world is supposed to be acceptable behavior that we should applaud and enjoy.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        It’s adorable that you think that Matt Harvey’s mother took a picture of him flipping the bird at her (as opposed to the camera) and gave it to him to share with the world if she actually gave two flying bananas about it.

  6. skeleteeth - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    You would think with a goatee this guy would be unfazed by being flipped the bird…

  7. Liam - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    Won’t somebody please think of the children?

    • Old Gator - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      Have you checked the children?

      • stex52 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:07 AM

        When I think of the children, I get my 16 year old grandson streaming “South Park.” The children are way past that picture.

        And if we were seriously thinking of the children, then Gerrit Cole would have been suspended a day or two for his vocalizations to Gomez on Sunday.

      • alexo0 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:08 AM

        Have you checked your italics function? It seems to be working spontaneously today.

      • djandujar - Apr 23, 2014 at 7:01 PM

        Aw, let’s let THEM destroy the world. It’s going nowhere anyhow.

    • mazblast - Apr 23, 2014 at 4:30 PM

      I think of them. I just don’t care about damaging their precious fricking self-esteem.

      It’s a tough world out there. Wrapping the kids in bubble wrap doesn’t prepare them for it.

      And BTW, the kids use language that is just as nasty as ours (even if they don’t know what the words mean in some cases) and gestures that are just as rude.

      • Liam - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:02 PM


  8. therealtrenches - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    I don’t know which is worse, Rieber’s self-righteous indignation over Harvey’s bird-flipping tweet or that Craig got worked up enough to be self-righteously indignant over Rieber’s prudishness.

    • Old Gator - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:29 AM

      I suspect what’s worse is someone so dumb and sententious that they either can’t or won’t distinguish between someone getting “worked up” about Rieber and having some fun at his expense.

      • conjecture101 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:42 AM

        I suppose comparing yourself to Matt Harvey could be considered “having fun”. But, unfortunately for Craig, “flipping the bird” to your mother in family photos is where that comparison ends. I say this considering that Craig cannot throw 100 mph and despite his inferences that he “gets out” more then certain sanctimonious reporters, I can confidently assume that Craig does not “get out” where Harvey “gets out”. You get me?

      • therealtrenches - Apr 23, 2014 at 12:13 PM

        In fact, OG, I was going to conjecture that the one thing that might be worse than either Rieber’s or CC’s self-righteousness (and make no mistake about it, his thin skinned entry into this comments section makes pretty clear that that’s what it was, my dumbness and sententiousness notwithstanding) would be my bothering to comment about it. But you beat me to it!

        Besides, thanks to you and ditto65, I now *know* what’s even worse than any of this: a bunch of old ponces like us bothering to pick apart any of this. That includes Rieber, CC, me, you, and especially ditto65’s elaboration of “what this site is about,” as if it’s written on a charter somewhere, but customized for this very thread.

        This is one of the circles of hell, right? Maybe not, but our folly is at least as pathetic as the characters in a Celine novel, or a Bosch painting.

        Truth be told, I love all of it.

    • ditto65 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:51 AM

      You do understand what this site is about, right? Praise when appropriate, snark and satire when the opposite of praise is the reward.

  9. rbj1 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    “suggesting that the picture was R-rated”

    So Craig, when is ESPN going to show an unblurred version of the picture? And no, I do not curse around my parents, though I’ve also partied with fellow college students who passed the bong to their parents, so to each his own.

    Yes Rieber is over reacting, but you’re over reacting to his over reaction.

  10. mvp43 - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    He’s disrespecting the game, how dare he show up his mother like that!!

  11. thedoubleentandres - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    My kingdom for a picture of Jeter parked in a handicapped space.

  12. sdelmonte - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    I agree with Rieber. It’s immature and vulgar and really stupid on the part of Harvey and his mother. (Frankly, Harvey hasn’t been impressing me off the field.)

    • paperlions - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      Yeah, being judgmental is soooooooo much better….and more mature.

      • chc4 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:19 AM

        There isn’t a person on this earth that is not judgmental. That’s what humans do. What Harvey did was totally harmless. That’s my judgment. If sdelmonte is offended then so be it. People that complain about others being judgmental are typically the most judgmental of all.

      • paperlions - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:57 AM

        There are many types of judgement, being disappointed in someone because their conduct does not conform to your personal sense of morality is being petty.

        ….and your comment about people complaining about other’s being judgmental being the most judgmental of all is complete BS. It is the same lame and baseless aspersion used to explain away opinions without offering any factual basis.

      • chc4 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        Stop judging. So now some judging is okay as in the kind you do? Laughable. You will continue to move the goalposts in order to frame your point even though it makes no sense.

      • happytwinsfan - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        being judgmental about people being judgmental about people being judgmental is the worst of all. unless…

      • babyfarkmcgeezax - Apr 23, 2014 at 12:11 PM

        chc4, don’t worry, it’s another in long list of unwritten rules Craig’s minions expect everyone to follow. You will be scorned and targeted with self-righteous snark if you don’t follow their rules and opinions to a T.

    • stex52 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:35 AM

      Sdel, I’m not the biggest fan of that behavior randomly in public. But if his mother is not offended and thinks it’s funny, I’m okay with it. I don’t go to his postings anyway.

  13. andreweac - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    Matt Harvey’s one-finger salute, in addition to Puig’s antics, will cause the collapse of Western Civilization. They must be stopped now before the entire world implodes. Think of the children.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:19 PM

      If people like you had any understanding of how many innocent people have been maimed or killed by being flipped the bird, you’d not be making light of it.

      • 22yearsagotoday - Apr 25, 2014 at 8:18 PM

        Alright I admit it.

  14. babyfarkmcgeezax - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    Is there some “unwritten rule” of journalism that says a sports writer can’t share his opinion on the actions of pro athletes? Sports writers seem to be constantly breaking “unwritten rules” in Craig’s mind. Rest easy, everybody; the Sheriff of Unwritten Sports Writing Rules – the Brian McCann of sports blogging – is on the case.

    • zzalapski - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      There’s a difference between saying someone can’t share asinine opinions and mocking them accordingly for doing so. Apparently it’s beyond your detection.

      • babyfarkmcgeezax - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:20 AM

        …another enforcer of unwritten rules. Who are you, Gerrit Cole?

      • zzalapski - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:56 AM

        I’m not “enforcing” anything — kind of hard to do that as a blog commenter — merely pointing out your obtuseness with regard to nuance. I don’t know or care if this shortcoming affects your life outside of HBT, but it doesn’t seem to detract from proper spelling and grammar, so kudos to you.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:26 PM

        So is there an unwritten rule that if one dares to disagree with babyfarkfacemcgee that this person then becomes one of the “minions” or “lemmings” or “sheep”?

        I’m not quick and smart like babyfarkfacemcgee. But the unwritten rules tell me, nobody is.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:05 AM

      Everyone has a right to offer their dumbass, ill-informed opinions. It’s the biggest single reason I haven’t banned you yet.

      • brandotho - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:16 AM


      • babyfarkmcgeezax - Apr 23, 2014 at 12:18 PM

        Ooooh, Craig pulling a Gerrit Cole and getting all huffy at someone disrespecting the unwritten rule that everyone who doesn’t share his opinions are automatically ill-informed! How adorable. Well I see that and raise you a cyber chucked helmet!

      • 22yearsagotoday - Apr 25, 2014 at 8:19 PM

        baby: you lost before it even started.

  15. jwbiii - Apr 23, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    David Wright is an awesome role model. I wish I could have this much fun when buying a friend a drink.

  16. jimmyt - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    What do you mean by “pearl-clutching”? Sounds very insensitive towards women and/or the transgendered for a flaming Lib.

    • chc4 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:22 AM

      Folks like CC cry “don’t judge” when people disagree with them. Then they turn around and rip those that disagree with them. The hypocrisy oozes.

    • babyfarkmcgeezax - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:23 AM

      Because Craig is all talk. He likes to pat himself on the back and score points with us fellow liberals, but it’s too inconvenient for him to actually practice what he preaches from his ivory tower.

      • skids003 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:52 AM

        That’s the liberal way. Everything offends them that doesn’t agree with them. They are the least tolerant, to certainly preach tolerance.

      • babyfarkmcgeezax - Apr 23, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        As a liberal myself I object to your generalization. However, even if I agree with most of their views, I find self-important, hypocritical, snark-spewing, pat-myself-on-the-backtivists like Craig to be just as insufferable and annoying as many of the blathering idiots on the right.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:29 PM

        So why read this website? Why partake? Ever think that leaving this website and creating your own liberal, non-Craig baseball website will put Craig out of a job and in his place?

      • babyfarkmcgeezax - Apr 23, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        Well, why do you read my comments? Why does Craig read other sports writers’ work? Am I not free to read and comment on Craig’s work if I don’t like everything he says?

      • 22yearsagotoday - Apr 25, 2014 at 8:20 PM

        Exactly. I see a comment by baby…skip it!

  17. daveitsgood - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    Aren’t middle freedom rockets the primary form of communication for New Yorkers?

  18. doctornature - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    Click bait. Harvey, Puig, anything controversial. Get page views. Get paid for page views and ad revenue.

    It is a bunch of BS over a bunch of BS.

    Gimme some BASEBALL news…not some paparazzi bs.

    Grown men arguing over grown men acting like kids. Grown men who play a kids game. Don’t know where I’m going when I leave here but ain’t coming back to read “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”

    Sorry Shakespeare.

  19. wrongowright - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    Be like Jeter. Yep, instead of flipping the bird in a picture that your mother could have deleted from the camera if she was offended, pass out parting gifts with an autographed baseball to the girl you humped last night. That would class up Harvey’s act.

    • brandotho - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he already does that

  20. crisisofinfinitephils - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    One man’s middle finger is another man’s cammo uniforms.

  21. nbjays - Apr 23, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    So this Rieber is a New Yorker and gets the vapors from Matt Harvey’s middle finger salute? I’d hate to ask him his opinion on Josh Lueke.

  22. mikhelb - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    Is Rieber going to write an overeaction to Craig’s overeaction of Rieber’s overeaction? i think i wrote overeaction wrong… and I don’t care ‘cus I am a rebel **wooohooo**.

  23. egal99 - Apr 23, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    What’s lame is how Harvey doesn’t understand the backlash. He can’t be that naive so I’m gonna say he’s just clueless and leave it at that. Some guys get it. Some guys don’t. Nbd.

  24. nothanksimdriving123 - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:22 PM

    To protect his delicate sensibilities, I strongly urge Mr Rieber not to be within 50 feet of my 88-year-old mother when she’s watching her Dodgers play. :-)

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (2724)
  2. B. Crawford (2530)
  3. Y. Puig (2395)
  4. G. Springer (2283)
  5. C. Correa (2124)
  1. H. Ramirez (2124)
  2. J. Fernandez (2087)
  3. D. Wright (2085)
  4. J. Hamilton (2076)
  5. H. Pence (2021)