Jay Horwitz 'just having some fun' with Matt Harvey tweets

Matt Harvey pitches against the Braves at Citi

Matt Harvey pitches against the Braves at Citi Field. (Aug. 10, 2012) (Credit: David Pokress)

In the frantic, hyper-serious world of sports tweeting, satire clearly does not work.

When Mets vice president of media relations Jay Horwitz, long known for his quirky sense of humor, sent out a tweet early Tuesday that the team had granted Matt Harvey permission to miss Wednesday night's game against the White Sox so he could attend the Rangers' playoff game at the Garden instead, it was greeted with outrage on talk radio.

Harvey was accused of being a bad teammate and, when it had sunk in that Horwitz was joking, Horwitz was criticized by talk-radio hosts, he said, "that because I was the voice of the Mets, I had to be more responsible."

Horwitz forever has been one of sports' more creative publicists. Years ago, when he was working for Fairleigh Dickinson University, trying to get media attention for the school's track team, he invited photographers to a workout where one of the team members would bring his pet snakes. The snakes got loose. The photos were more dramatic than Horwitz intended.

On Tuesday, Horwitz described the overreactions as "an interesting day. I was just having some fun. How can anyone believe a major-league team would let a player miss a game to go to a hockey game? Come on."

A second Horwitz tweet had declared that Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon was "not happy" about Harvey going to the Rangers game and that Wilpon instead "would put the entire [hockey] game on [the video] board at Citi Field so Matt could stay."

Horwitz said that he "felt bad" that Harvey, an avowed Rangers fan, was the target of some negative comments, but that there was no criticism from the front office:

"Jeff thought it was funny."

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