One speech won’t fix everyone’s opinion of Matt Harvey



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NEW YORK — delivered two apologies Tuesday at Citi Field. The first came in a somber and attentive clubhouse, where he stood before his teammates and took full responsibility for his recent actions. By all accounts, Harvey’s message went over well because it seemed so heartfelt in delivery and tone.

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Shortly thereafter, Harvey took a seat at the front of the media room and broadened the scope of his contrition. He apologized to the Wilpon family, the Mets organization and all the fans who weren’t thrilled by the news that he spent Friday night clubbing and Saturday at the golf course when he should have been preparing for his next start.

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“I understand everybody’s anger and the organization doing what they did,” Harvey said. “I completely understand. It’s me who takes full blame for that, and it is me who needs to fix it and make sure it never happens again.”

Limited Kyle Seager Jersey Based on the initial reaction, Harvey bought himself some time and goodwill with his coworkers. The New York media — and, by extension, a skeptical Mets fan base — might be a harder sell.

Kyle Seager Jersey #15 Matt Harvey Jersey said he should be putting himself “in a better place to perform physically.” Erik S. Lesser/EPAThe 162-game grind beats a sense of resignation and practicality into big leaguers, so the Mets have no choice but to swallow hard and forget. Even teammates who strongly disapprove of Harvey’s antics know they’re going to need him if the Mets plan to be a factor in the National League East race this season. is down with a lat injury, and has hamstring issues, so Harvey’s teammates can’t afford to play behavior police in the coming weeks and months.

“There are rules, and when the rules are broken, there are going to be consequences paid,” outfielder said. “But there are no grudges and no lasting effects. We have to move forward. We can’t dwell on anything that happens in the past. That goes for performance or things like this that happen. You have to always move forward.”

It’s a different story outside the clubhouse. Columnists and beat writers are paid to keep score, and they recall how apologetic Harvey was in October 2015, when he missed a mandatory workout during the National League Division Series against the . At the time, Harvey admitted that he “screwed up,” and he vowed it would never happen again. He seemed sincere and contrite that time too.

More on Matt Harvey JerseyInjuries, questions about his work ethic and a suspension put Matt Harvey Jersey’s future with the Mets in doubt. Buster Olney

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Over the arc of a career, one unexplained absence can be written off as a lapse in judgment. Two suspicious absences — even stretched over a three-year period — are enough to give an athlete a reputation.

That dynamic helps explain why the tone at Harvey’s news conference hovered somewhere between skeptical and hostile. As several hands shot up, Harvey was asked why anyone should believe him now, when he made the same claims before and lapsed into the same quicksand.

Mets manager Terry Collins also faced some tough questions about the extent of Harvey’s off-the-field transgressions and whether they’re indicative of a bigger problem. Collins talked about the support system in place for Harvey within the organization, but he took a pass when asked if Harvey might have an alcohol problem.

The one thing everybody seems to agree on is that starting today, Harvey will be judged a lot more by what he does than by what he says. He has done that much damage to his credibility.

“I told Matt he needs to make baseball No. 1,” Collins said. “When he did that before, he was on top of the world. This guy was the best pitcher in the game when he made that his priority. And when he makes it the priority again, he’ll be back. You’ve got to be able to put the blinders on and direct yourself down that path and say, ‘I’m not going to let any of that other stuff get in the way right now.’

“I wish I could tell you how many times somebody has said to me, ‘Hey, I’m going to do this.’ The answer I give them is, ‘Don’t tell me — show me.’ That speaks more than anything else.”

At age 28, Harvey isn’t the pitcher he was four years ago. He has been through Tommy John surgery and thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, and his stuff isn’t as jaw-droppingly dominant as a result. Harvey took a step in the right direction when he showed up in better shape in spring training, but his first six starts produced some good days mixed with bad.

As Harvey tries to rehabilitate his public image, he’ll have to overcome the perception that he has taken too much for granted. The whole “Dark Knight of Gotham” celebrity pitcher routine made for some great headlines in 2013. But the Matt Harvey Jersey who shuttled from one apology to another Tuesday looked more like a confused kid trying to find his way than a staff ace and team leader.

For the foreseeable future, Harvey will attract more attention than usual with his performance on the mound. But he’ll also be judged by his dedication and commitment in the four days between his starts. Harvey has earned the scrutiny, and he’s going to have to live with it.

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