For the first time since his final game with the Mets in 2018, Matt Harvey returned to Citi Field on Wednesday to face his former team.
The Orioles’ pitcher may not have had his best performance of the season, but he certainly won’t forget his return to New York for a long time.
Before Harvey took the mound to face the Mets, the former New York ace received a standing ovation from the crowd.
That gesture meant a lot to Harvey, who enjoyed the best years of his career with the Mets and was part of the stacked pitching staff that helped carry the team to the World Series in 2015. However, given how unceremoniously his tenure with the Mets ended, he wasn’t sure whether he would be well-received.
“Obviously, the last couple of years weren’t the way I wanted them to go,” Harvey said to reporters after the game. “Between the injuries and, I think, me getting in my own way and causing some of those problems, I feel for the fans. Maybe I let them down. I think it’s fair to say I would understand if they did [boo me], but I’m glad it went the other way.”
Not only was Harvey grateful that the Mets faithful made him feel welcome in his return, but he also acknowledged that he was fighting back tears while playing on Wednesday afternoon.
“What the fans gave me out there was pretty incredible,” Harvey said. “I was holding back tears. I’m not going to lie about that. It was pretty hard holding them back. It reminded me a lot of the good memories and coming off the field with an ovation like that — it brought a lot back for me. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
It’s easy to understand why Harvey appreciated this so much. Since leaving the Mets during the 2018 season, he has become somewhat of a journeyman. Once an All-Star-caliber pitcher, he has been on five different teams in the past four years and has posted a 13-19 record with a 5.54 ERA.
But back in New York, he is reminded of his best days as a pitcher. And Harvey is hopeful that as he continues to grow healthier, he will be able to continue as a solid pitcher after a good start to his season in Baltimore.
“I’ve learned from my mistakes,” Harvey said. “Finally being healthy and trying to reinvent myself and get back out there — it hasn’t been easy. But besides today, I think things have been going in the right direction. I’m not going to beat myself up over a bad outing.”