When Matt Harvey stepped on the mound at Citi Field on Wednesday, it all came flooding back.
The run to the World Series in 2015. The injuries that followed. The fall from grace that culminated with him being unceremoniously designated for assignment just over three years ago.
Finally, 1,105 days later, Harvey pitched in Queens for the first time since it all ended and found himself holding back tears as he was welcomed back with multiple standing ovations.
“There was a lot of excitement, a lot of memories,” Harvey said after he and the Orioles fell to the Mets 7-1. “Obviously there’s 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 gonna lie about that, it was pretty hard holding them back. It reminded me of a lot of the good memories. Coming off the field with an ovation like that, it brought a lot back and it was very special to me. Something I’ll never forget.”
The Mets bombarded Harvey for seven runs on eight hits across 4 ⅓ innings, but Harvey said he wasn’t going to beat himself up over one bad start in what has otherwise been an encouraging bounce-back season for the 32-year-old.
Instead, Wednesday was about being back in the ballpark that saw him at his best and his worst through a six-year career in a Mets uniform. Given how it ended, though, Harvey wasn’t sure what to expect from the 8,035 fans in attendance.
“I feel for the fans that maybe I let them down,” he said. “I guess it’s fair to say I would understand if they did [boo me]. I’m extremely happy they didn’t and went the other way.”
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