Legends On Deck

The Matt Harvey Garden Gnome and the Story Behind Getting One

Picture from Jon Harder

Every important artifact that I own always has a great story behind it. That is what I have behind the Matt Harvey Garden Gnome I recently gained last week.

The Matt Harvey Garden Gnome has been an object I truly wanted since it was announced for April 22, 2017 during the offseason. Any time there has been a worthwhile giveaway during New York Mets games, I have done my darndest to get there for it. This time was no different.

For the record, I absolutely LOVE the Garden Gnomes. In the previous two seasons, I have gotten the other two Mets Garden Gnomes offered in a promotion by the franchise in Queens. In 2015, I received a Jacob deGrom “deGnome” prior to a Saturday start in early May. That went swimmingly. In 2016, I BARELY eeked out a Noah Syndergaard one. That incredible story, in which I was the 14,990th getter of the 15000 the promotion was billed for, was told on a previous episode of the Hardway Podcast on an episode called “The Saga of the Syndergaarden Gnome”.

This time around, it would prove to be incredibly tough to gather the Harvey Gnome. On the 22nd, I was planning on spending quality time with my girlfriend early on in the day, on top of having a get together with friends at night. With the start time for the game scheduled at 4:05 PM at Citi Field, I’d have to cut it extremely close to get one. On top of which, it would mean I would not be able to stay at the entire game.

It would be a first. Would I dare spend money on train fare for both NJ Transit and the LIRR, while also spending money on a solo ticket with the fees and taxes attached with it and only stay for a short time inside of my “mecca” Citi Field, just for the chance of being 1 of 15000 die-hard baseball fans to possibly get a Matt Harvey Garden Gnome?

ABSOLUTELY I WOULD. There was never any other answer. I had a collection to uphold.

Believe it or not, there is a plan on how to handle going to a game when a team holds a promotion to giving out. In fact, there is an art to it. To get this Matt Harvey Garden Gnome, I had to be proactive.

First, after spending some alone time with my loving girlfriend, she begrudgingly drove me to the train station earlier than expected. I needed to get there as quick as possible, especially traveling on the Trenton line of NJ Transit to Penn Station in New York City. By 12 PM, I was there. After a quick stop at the Shake Shack inside of the illustrious train station, I hopped on the 12:48 Port Washington train to Mets/Willets Point for a 1 pm arrival time.

The first key is BE EARLY. This single-handedly almost cost me the Syndergaarden Gnome in 2016. Being late is not a viable option.

After getting off the train, I walked the long wooden bridge past the Casey Stengel Terminal, walked under the 7 Line subway stop, and walked towards Citi Field WHERE…I saw 4 massive lines in front of the guard-railed Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

The second key is BE ATTENTIVE. As soon as I saw those four lines, I spied upon any smaller lines with a group of people at the Rotunda. Thankfully, I did. Four guys in all different style of Mets jerseys were walking up front. I, being quite the astute visionary, followed suit. There was a shorter line. I made the right call.

The final key is BE PATIENT. Time will tick away. Although slowly, you can and will make it through. Thankfully, 2 PM came, and the kind patrons of Citi Field let us into the stadium. Five minutes later, I was inside and had myself the Matt Harvey Garden Gnome. It was in my hands.

Following my keys to success, I walked around the lower and upper levels of Citi Field. Cooler, calmer, and collected, I had a few beers and just enjoyed the rainy, yet calm atmosphere. A short time later, I exited the stadium and went on my merry way home. On my way up the stairs back to the LIRR, a few fans offered me cash for my Garden Gnome. Sadly, I turned it down. It wasn’t about the money.

I want to make this clear: even though I got the Gnome, I wished badly I could’ve stayed at the game. Baseball is my passion. Thankfully, I was able to avoid this one, as the Mets were no hit for 6 ⅓ innings and only amounted to 2 hits on the afternoon. I think if I stayed, the Harvey bobblehead would have ended up on the field. My get together later that night was better than the 2 hits the Mets garnered that afternoon.

Regardless, the Matt Harvey Garden Gnome now sits with my other Met collectibles I have bought throughout the years. I’m proud of it and what I went through to get it. I will look back and realize that I am one of the few that got it and didn’t have to go to eBay to pay maximum for it.

Take pride in your possessions and enjoy the story from getting them; not the materialistic nature behind them. The Harvey Garden Gnome is a tremendous artifact for a day in my life that will live on in infamy.

I’m going to attempt to enjoy a strawberry banana smoothie and write a piece trying to digest what is going on with the Mets right. Hopefully the Gnome will bring me and this team some luck.

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