Matt Harvey returned to the mound at Citi Field for the first time since 2018, and the pitcher received a warm reception from New York Mets fans despite the unceremonious manner in which his tumultuous tenure with the team ended.
Harvey, now the Baltimore Orioles, toed the rubber for Wednesday’s matinee against the Mets, and the one-time All-Star was greeted with a standing ovation by many of the fans in attendance.
Harvey clearly appreciated the standing ovation, as the Orioles pitcher stepped off the mound and saluted the fans with a tip of his cap. The Mets added to the cheerful environment by playing Harvey’s old warmup song, U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” ahead of his first at-bat during the top of the second inning.
Harvey was relegated to bullpen duties after struggling mightily as a starter early on during the 2018 MLB season. After refusing a demotion to the minor leagues, the Mets designated the then-29-year-old for assignment on May 4. They then traded Harvey to the Reds on May 8.
Since then, Harvey has had middling and mostly ineffective stints with the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals before joining the Orioles this past offseason as he attempts to get a career derailed by injuries back on track.
It merits noting that Wednesday’s start is not the first time Harvey has returned to Citi Field. The pitcher was back in his old stomping grounds in August 2018 as a member of the Reds, though he did not pitch vs. the Mets. During his return, Harvey expressed regret over how things ended for him in Queens and admitted to making “a lot of mistakes” during his time with the team.
Despite a career stuck in neutral for years, Harvey has been surprisingly effective for the O’s so far this season. In seven starts, he has posted a 3.60 ERA while going 3-2 with 25 strikeouts to 10 walks across 35 innings. While it’s not a return to his “Dark Knight” glory days, it has to be gratifying for Harvey to simply feel like a big-league pitcher again after such a precipitous drop from the budding superstardom of his time with the Mets.
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