A humbled Matt Harvey said and promised to do all the right things. However, actions always speak louder than words, and it will take more than just a quality start Friday in Milwaukee for his apology to be accepted.
“First off, as I just did with my teammates and all the coaches, I apologized for my actions and I do apologize for my actions,” was how Harvey opened his press conference and Citi Field today.
“Obviously, I’m extremely embarrassed by my actions.”
Harvey was emotional, soft-spoken and contrite. There wasn’t a hint of arrogance. He was a man asking for another chance. He admitted he was wrong. As far as getting another chance, Harvey said it was something that needed to be earned.
Harvey was a no-show for Saturday’s game, and the Mets didn’t know of his condition until team security personnel came to his Manhattan apartment at 10 p.m.
They found him well, and when he reported to Citi Field for his Sunday start against Miami, he was suspended for three days. That gave him plenty of time to think about what he would say and the tone of his message.
The apology was “heartfelt,” said Curtis Granderson, one of many Mets who insisted they still trusted Harvey and had his back.
He would need his teammates’ trust and respect to move forward, as manager Terry Collins said, “he can’t do it alone.”
Collins is old school in many ways and has heard more than his fair share of apologies. He knows sincerity when he hears it.
“He gave it some great thought and certainly did it the right way,” Collins said. “I say, `Don’t tell me, show me.’ I think everybody deserves a second chance. Those guys in that room respect him.”
Part of earning respect is owning up to his actions.
“Yes, I was out on Friday night, past curfew,” Harvey said. “I did play golf Saturday morning and I put myself in a bad place to be ready to show up for a ballgame. It is my responsibility and I take full blame for that.”
When Noah Syndergaard was injured, Harvey was moved up to take his spot, then complained he wasn’t given enough time. He said he lifted weights the day before, something he shouldn’t have done.
Harvey was making excuses for a bad outing. Today, he accepted clubbing isn’t proper game preparation: “People make mistakes, and there are things I have realized the last couple days. … [What] I should be doing is putting myself in a better place to perform physically.”
Harvey could have gone Wednesday afternoon, but Collins opted for Friday, which would spare him getting a negative reception at Citi Field.
“I’m looking forward to getting everything back on track and helping this organization moving forward,” Harvey said. “They have my word on that.”
If there is a clubhouse leader with David Wright out indefinitely it is Granderson, who when asked if he bought Harvey’s apology, said: “There’s no reason why I wouldn’t.It was genuine. It was heartfelt. He definitely thought it out and knew what he wanted to say. I think guys have spoken to him even before he said something today, and guys will continue to talk to him after today.”
One of those guys was Bartolo Colon, who reached out in a text telling him he needed to make baseball a priority.
Today was the first step.
One issue Harvey would not address was a report he planned to file a grievance with the Players Association.
There was no way he was going to admit to that today.
“That’s the last thing in the last three days I’ve thought about,” Harvey said. “I’ve been thinking about the team more than anything. … I’ve apologized for what I’ve done. My job is to move forward and do everything I can to help this team and organization get back on track.”
One would think a legal battle isn’t the right was.