Matt Harvey pitched the game of his career last Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox. That may not sound like much, considering that Harvey's career so far consists of just 17 starts and 108.2 innings. But it was very nearly the game of any pitcher's career. As SNY announcer Ron Darling put it, "I've seen a couple of perfect games that weren't pitched with this kind of perfection."
Making his seventh start of the season for the New York Mets, Harvey allowed nothing more than a scratch infield single to Alex Rios with two outs in the seventh inning. He struck out 12. He wasn't around in the 10th inning when the Mets won the game 1-0, but by that time much of the Mets fan base wasn't either.
When the Mets trotted out reliever Bobby Parnell in the 10th inning, the crowd seemed to dwindle by half, and the Mets probably also lost a significant portion of their TV audience. Recently the New York Daily News' Bob Raissman noted that "when Harvey takes to the mound, the Mets are averaging 2.49 household rating, 14 percent higher than the team's average of 2.19. Harvey is also outpacing the team's average rating in two key demographics (adults 25-54 and men 25-54), the demos advertisers rely on when deciding whether to purchase commercial time." In other words, among the audiences the Mets most want to reach, when Harvey's on the mound ratings go up 35 percent. Or rather, they were up 35 percent—that was before Harvey's near-perfect game.