For Matt Harvey it had to be a strange feeling to walk back onto Citi Field on April 12 wearing the uniform of the Baltimore Orioles to face his former team, the New York Mets, for the first time in his career.
The 8,000 plus fans that ventured to Citi Field on his day knew that they would be seeing something special, as did Matt Harvey himself, and the fans responded with a standing ovation as the “prodigal son” strode to the mound to take his warm-up pitches.
While the outcome didn’t work out in Harvey’s favor, it did close a chapter in his memory book that just maybe what he needs to begin a new chapter in his baseball career.
Matt Harvey joined the Mets in 2012, and he started 10 games while displaying flashes of brilliance. When 2013 rolled around Matt Harvey was well on his way to stardom. He started 26 games and finished the season with a 2.27 ERA and a record of 9-5. In looking back the highlight of Harvey’s season had to be being picked to start the All-Star Game on July 16, 2013. In his 2-inning stint, Harvey gave up 1 hit, struck out 3, and didn’t allow any runs. But as good as 2013 had been for him, a month later Harvey received the bad news that he had a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. This diagnosis ended his 2013 season and it kept him from pitching in 2014 as well.
However, Matt Harvey came back strong in 2015 starting 26 games and finishing the season with a 13-8 record while pitching to a 2.27 ERA. His comeback season helped the Mets make it to the World Series, where they played the Kansas City Royals.
The Series didn’t exactly go in the Mets favor as the Royals lead the Series 3 games to 1 when Harvey took the mound for game 5. Yet with Harvey of the mound, there was still a glimmer of hope for the Mets. Harvey pitched brilliantly in the 5th game of the Series, and the Mets were leading the Royals 2 –0 going into the 9th inning. However in the dugout between innings, Harvey and manager Terry Collin engaged in a heated exchange when Collins told Harvey that he wouldn’t be pitching the 9th inning, Yet somehow he convinced the manager Terry Collins to keep him in the game. When the inning started and the Mets faithful saw Harvey walking to the pitching mound, they cheered long and loud. However, to everyone’s dismay, Harvey walked the first batter, then gave up a double, and before the dust had settled the score was tied and Matt Harvey had been removed in favor of Jeurys Familia.
In the 12th inning, the Mets World Series aspirations were squashed when the Royals scored 5 runs to win the game and capture the series.
After experiencing the highs of starting an All-Star Game, pitching in the World Series, and becoming a New York celebrity that was invited to all of the major events in the Big Apple things changed drastically for the “Dark Knight”.
As far as his baseball career was concerned Matt Harvey for a variety of reasons never had a winning season in 2016, 2017, and 2018, and finally, after what was once a very promising career, Harvey was dealt with the Cincinnati Reds in 2018.
In 2019 Harvey played for the LA Angels; in 2020 he joined the Royals and this season signed a contract to play for the Orioles. Prior to the game on May 12 against the Mets, Harvey had pitched reasonably well since the start of the season, and the Orioles staff has been pleased with his production.
Although Matt Harvey didn’t have the results he had hoped for in his start against the Mets, he received a very nice ovation from the fans and for this, he is very thankful.
Speaking at a virtual press conference following the game Harvey stated, “Obviously there have been so many ups and downs here at this ballpark and with this organization that I didn’t really know what to expect. What the fans gave me out there was pretty incredible. I was holding back tears. I’m not going to lie about that.”
Standing on the mound at Citi Field and looking around at its surroundings had to bring back many memories for Matt Harvey some good and some bad Maybe now that he has returned to the home of his past success Matt Harvey has rid himself of whatever demons have been swirling around in his head, and he can go on with the rest of his life.
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