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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Yevrah Day

Matt Harvey was on the mound at Citi Field. Harvey’s Met teammates were scattered about: Michael Conforto and Dom Smith batting third and fifth, respectively; Jeurys Familia and Robert Gsellman chilling in the bullpen for possible deployment later; Jacob deGrom waiting out a precautionary injured list stint in the dugout, somewhere down the bench from Jeremy Hefner; Tomás Nido in catcher’s gear. But the center of attention, at the park and on TV, was Matt Harvey. Just like the good old Day.

Sort of like the good old Day at any rate. Yes, Wednesday afternoon was Harvey Day, but Harvey Day inverted. Personnel has changed. Times have changed. This season, the Mets win dramatically and tear Patrick Mazeika’s shirt off. Eight seasons ago, the Mets won sporadically and Harvey tore his own clothes off — all of them. Only a few of the Mets who were Mets alongside Harvey between 2012 and 2018 and who are in Mets uniforms at the moment are necessarily Mets you think of as Harvey Day Mets. Then again, when you think of Harvey Day, you don’t really think of any other Mets.

When you thought of the Mets on this Harvey Day, wherein Matt was on that Citi Field mound in Baltimore Oriole black, orange and gray, you thought of them only after you got a load of Harvey. Centering attention was always the sharpest tool in his skill set.

Matt got a really nice hand from the 8,000 or so invited to buy a ticket to this May matinee. There was some thought beforehand that Harvey would not be greeted with open arms after the dissolution of his and our shall we say professional relationship. Matt Harvey was the incredible disappearing Dark Knight by 2017 and 2018. Technically, those years are closer to 2021 than 2012, 2013 and 2015. But they’re nowhere near the heart of Harvey Day. There’s a reason the phrase “good old days” resonates generation after generation. The less old “meh” days aren’t what we come back to in our minds. Nor should we, provided nobody was irrevocably wounded when our affairs cooled from sizzle to fizzle.

Forget the last we saw of Matt Harvey as a Met. Remember the first and then some we experienced. That was something else. That was what made Harvey Day Harvey Day. Nobody else has had a Day all his own since Harvey. I know, I know, we hear [Pitcher] Day for others. It’s not the same. Even if the pitcher in question has surpassed Harvey for superbness, it’s not a Day. It’s a start. With Matt Harvey of the Mets at the peak of his powers, you wanted the full 24 hours.

With Matt Harvey the opposing pitcher, four-and-a-third innings were plenty.

Harvey’s below-middling performance, in which eight Met hits were registered and seven Met runs were scored, wasn’t the point Wednesday. Harvey showing up was the point. The fans showing themselves to have a memory longer than a tsetse fly’s and standing and clapping because Matt Harvey once owned this part of town was the point. They applauded him en route to the rubber. They applauded him stepping to the plate. They applauded him once he departed, no more competitive pitches left in his right arm. They whooped it up more for the many Mets who stuck it to him while he pitched, but they took care of business for somebody who used to take care of business for us.

Harvey and the Orioles lost to Taijuan Walker and the Mets, 7-1. The Mets are in first place and riding a seven-game winning streak. Both data points are primary grounds for Metsian celebration anytime, but for a day — or a Day — not even they were the point. When the game that ended with Mets high-fiving and Harvey removed in the fifth was over, I wasn’t waiting to hear from Walker or the several offensive and defensive standouts who supported his seven sparkling innings. I needed to hear from the guy in black, orange and gray, the guy who took the L, the guy whose words and actions we developed a habit of hanging on for six years.

As was usually the case when he pitched in 2012, 2013 and 2015, Matt Harvey did not disappoint. Our erstwhile ace copped to the emotion he felt from his former acolytes staging a quick Fan Appreciation promotion, promoting the cause of appreciative fandom. “What the fans gave me out there was pretty incredible,” he told the media. “I was holding back tears. I’m not going to lie about that.”

Chalk up Harvey Day inverted as a win for all involved.

21 comments to Yevrah Day

  • Dave

    Leading up to today’s matinee, I wondered on twitter dot com if any Mets fans were aware of who was pitching for their team. They sure knew who was pitching for the team not wearing Mets uniforms.

    My perspective on this was a byproduct of age. In 50-plus years of fandom, I’ve seen an awful lot of players come and go, and while on the one hand, Harvey was kind of a blip in that timeline, that blip did come mostly at a time when we had little else to cheer us as Mets fans. And it was a very shiny blip. And to fans considerably younger than me, he was the first homegrown Mets star they saw from day 1 (didn’t have to wait much longer for one who would eclipse him though). But having seen the Mets face Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan and Tug McGraw and Dwight Gooden wearing uniforms they looked terrible in, I didn’t see facing Harvey, 8 years removed from his 4 Mets months as the Best Pitcher In Baseball, as a real big deal.

    But once he was getting a warm reception from Mets fans who, surprisingly, turned out to have an attention span that goes back farther than Mazeika heroics, I warmed up a bit too. Harvey’s ascension and very played-out-in-public crash stand to remind us how fragile lots of stuff and lots of people are, and none of us are by any means immune. And while the Mets needed a game that they could send Gsellman and the almost-forgotten Drew Smith out to the mound, and I certainly didn’t want to see Harvey stick it to his former employers, you can’t not root for him. As I’ve said about other Mets who have strayed in a number of ways, he’s one of the family.

  • eric1973

    Lindsey Nelson, Ralph Kiner, and Bob Murphy always used to say that the Met fans were the most knowledgeable in baseball, and they were proven correct today.

    Sure, I hoped the Mets would rout him today, and that they soundly did. And as he got ready to leave the mound, I hoped the fans would show they remembered, and boy, did they ever.

    A standing ovation, and I hoped Harvey would give us a slight tip of the cap, as that would have made it just perfect.

    And deGrom is not alone in getting no run support, as the Mets did not score for Harvey either.

  • Stan

    Mets fans made me proud today. Here’s a guy who may be in the twilight of his career and Mets fans got up and said, “Hey, remember all the good times we had? Well we do too. Live long and prosper.” We all wanted him to come back out in the 9th inning in game 5 and together we all felt the agony of leaving him in for one batter too many. We all didn’t feel the pain of the surgery and getting dumped in public by a model but today, on behalf of the rest of us, 8000 people would have bought him a $14 beer and chatted over the good times.

    And then there was the game to contend with. The Mets said, “Wait, we got seven earned runs off of him? Run downstairs and tell Harvey to come back up.”

    Totally unrelated:
    In the early 1980s, WPIX in New York decided to stop playing reruns of “The Honeymooners” at 11:00 or 11:30 in the evening as it had been for years. One of the outcomes of that decision was a fan group that was formed called “R.A.L.P.H”, whose primary function was to restore the Honeymooners reruns to their rightful place on the schedule and maybe have a fan gathering where everyone could celebrate their best “Full Gleason” imitations.

    Well it just so happens that a couple of thousand of those people came together in the spring of 1984 and watch a couple of episodes on the big screen and quote their favorite lines right along with the characters. One of those episodes was “The Bensonhurst Bomber”, that we all enjoyed immensely. One of the invited guests who watch along with us was a 70+ year old man named George Mathews. During a break in the activities, what seemed like a bunch of us gathered around a seat in the theater chatting with Mr. Mathews. He was very cordial to all of us. He said that he spent his career playing random tough guys on stage and movies and TV shows. He didn’t own a TV in the late 50s and reruns weren’t a thing back then. He retired to the Carolinas in the 70s, where they didn’t show reruns of “The Honeymooners”. That day at the Tillis Center was the first time that he had seen the episode of “The Honeymooners” where he played “Harvey”. You could tell that he was both shocked and moved by the reaction that 2000 people had to his performance as well as his live introduction after the episode played. He wasn’t expecting that and it made his day as much as it made our day to get to talk to “Harvey” in person.
    Go forward 30-plus years and we have the internet and I go and look up George Mathews. I find out that George Mathews passed away about six months after his appearance that went so well. “Harvey” walked off after hearing us cheer for him one last time.

  • Steve

    Clearly, I am out of step with the zeitgeist. While I almost never boo a player on our team and have as soft a spot for former Mets as anyone, Harvey is not someone I can cheer for, I appreciate his too brief incandescence and certainly his game 5 performance in 2015, but this was always a guy who was a me first player and who clearly wanted to be a Yankee, not a Met. I’ll never forgive the Jeter game. I wish him well, but I was pretty much the only person booing him today, so it goes,

  • Daniel Hall

    I love a Mets win. I would have liked it a wee bit more if they had taken a random bullpen guy behind the shed to beat seven runs out of him, but I took the 4.1 IP, 7 R on Harvey anyway, with a tiny, tiiiny sigh of resignation, always looking upwards whether I was angering the baseball gods.

    Don’t anger the baseball gods. They hand your team a 9-game losing streak quicker than you can say Harvey backwards.

  • open the gates

    Kudos all around. Kudos to the Citi Field crowd, who decided not to focus on how bad the Harvey breakup was – and it was about as bad as it could be – and instead focused on the joy he brought us when he pitched.

    Kudos also to Matt Harvey, who is continuing his attempt to come back from a condition that pretty much no pitcher in history has ever come back from. Maybe it’s appropriate that Harvey’s moniker came from the superhero who didn’t have any actual superpowers. He could have easily retired, but he’s not giving up. Good for him – I can only wish him luck.

    And oh yeah, kudos to the Mets for a nifty seven game winning streak. I’m waiting to see what this team can do when they actually hit their stride.

    Finally, kudos to you, Greg, for providing your usual excellent final recap on a really special moment.

  • Kevin from Flushing

    The fans doing the right thing yesterday is truly helping me feel the positive vibes of this season, bringing some of the faith back. Excited to keep it going and excited to know Harvey will hear some roars in the closer-than-we-probably-think Citi Goodbye ceremony.

  • Seth

    I confess I was rooting for Harvey. I wanted the Mets to beat him 1-0. The standing O was really classy (even Ron had to explicitly thank the Mets fans).

  • mikeL

    i was glad to see harvey get some fan-love while he got no love from the mets bats (did we even HAVE mets bats a couple of weeks back??)

    had harvey found great success elsewhere i imagine the reaction would have been much more mixed.

    i can only imagine that much of the sentiment behind the outpouring was of sympathy, and of his being a fellow traveller.

    mixed feelings aside i do wish harvey success. like most here. i’ll always wonder what might have been for both harvey’s career and for the franchise had terry pulled him one batter earlier in game 5.

    that and had cespedes not booted the first ball hit in the series…

    big props to the mets bench, and the off-season efforts that assembled them.

    i’ll try not to anger the baseball gods when i say that it is finally fun to watch this team. this season.

    • mikeski

      i’ll always wonder what might have been for both harvey’s career and for the franchise had terry pulled him one batter earlier in game 5.

      that and had cespedes not booted the first ball hit in the series…

      It was Familia giving up the game-tying HR to Gordon in the bottom of the ninth in Game 1. First blown save of the postseason and puncturing a pretty good aura of invincibility he had built up.

  • mikeL

    ^^ yes mikeski…beyond the blown saves (and familia’s damn quick pitch!)
    had familia notched the game 1save those unfortunate bookends might have been moot.

  • mikeL

    ^^ yes mikeski…beyond the blown saves (and familia’s damn quick pitch!)…
    had familia notched the game 1save those unfortunate bookends might have been moot.

  • Seth

    Wouldn’t inverted Harvey Day be Yad Yevrah? (I think that’s a historical site I once visited in Israel.)

  • chuck

    I think my memory has become absurdly selective.

    The two favorite memories I have of Harvey was his plunking Robinson Cano in the 2013(?)ASG, and his hitting a home run in a game I attended in 2015, against the Braves, I think.

    Still, I fully concur that the Mets fans are classy for greeting him warmly. I can wish him success with the O’s, and happy he’s already once beat the Team That Embodies Everything That’s Wrong With This Country And Why The Rest Of The World Hates Us.

    • The Harvey homer came against the Diamondbacks. Time capsule here.

    • dmg

      harvey’s (accidental) fastball to cano’s shin is among my very favorite baseball memories of the past decade. it carried such resonance at a time when the mets were assembling the pieces that would get them to the series 2 years later, and the yankees were still considered the vastly superior team.
      it’s strange that one has gone down the memory hole.

  • Mets fans always had a streak of class..Knowledgeable fans may be just old fuddy duddys these days..I like to think there are enough of us still out there..Harvey back then was fun , even that silly dark knight crap..
    Nice to see them winning..Looks like a fun summer a head.