Wright caps busy week by recording one of the National League's three hits
NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey's celebrity continues to expand at an exponential rate. From magazine cover shoots to late-night talk-show appearances, he has embraced so much of what his home city has to offer.
So of course he relished the All-Star stage on Tuesday night at Citi Field, where his whirlwind two innings included a leadoff double, a plunking of Yankees slugger Robinson Cano and, ultimately, a shutout performance. Representing the Mets alongside third baseman David Wright, who played seven innings and finished 1-for-3, Harvey grabbed his own electric slice of the evening.
"When I'm warming up out there and they start chanting my name, that's something that you ... As a kid, I don't think you could ever imagine it," Harvey said. "This whole experience has been absolutely incredible for me, something I'll never forget."
Harvey's appearance was far more eventful than his final line -- two innings and one hit in the National League's eventual 3-0 loss -- might sound, largely because of what happened in the first. After giving up a double to Mike Trout on his first pitch of the game, Harvey plunked Cano above the right knee with a 96-mph fastball.
"I tried to go in, and sometimes it happens," he said. "I didn't mean to. Obviously, I feel terrible. My apologies definitely go out to him."
Cano exited the game minutes later with a contusion in his right quad, then Harvey mowed down the next six batters in order to complete his All-Star experience.
With his three strikeouts, he became the first Mets pitcher to whiff multiple hitters in an All-Star Game since Bobby Jones in 1997, earning a standing ovation from the crowd.
"I'm used to walking off in the second inning and going back out there, so I didn't really pay attention to it," Harvey said, explaining why he did not acknowledge the fans. "I wish I had kind of stayed in the moment a little bit and gave a head nod or whatnot. But the thanks was there, and they have been great all year -- the fans. I'm very thankful."
Starting the All-Star Game capped a whirlwind week for Harvey, who did the best he could to soak up all of it. As the only Mets in the game, Harvey and Wright enjoyed the luxury of reporting to their home clubhouse on Tuesday afternoon, going through their usual routines with baseball's stars surrounding them.
"The weird thing is, you go to your locker, and I'm expecting to see [Dillon] Gee and [Jeremy] Hefner and all those guys over there, and then you're sitting next to Freddie Freeman over there, and Buster Posey over there, and all the guys you have to face throughout the year that are the tough outs in their lineups," Harvey said. "It's been an awesome experience. It's so much fun."
Wright already knew that, having gone through it before. Yet despite appearing in seven All-Star Games, even he was floored by the attention he received at this year's event.
As the longest-tenured Met and the face of his franchise, Wright had a unique All-Star experience that included acting as an ambassador for MLB, attending events throughout New York and serving as the NL's Home Run Derby captain.
"I don't think there could have been a better guy picked," said Rockies All-Star outfielder Michael Cuddyer, who grew up with Wright in coastal Virginia. "He's mentally tough enough to be able to handle the grind of being the ambassador, and the appearances and things he has to do, as well as going out there and still having to perform. He's as good as they come."
The NL rapped out only three hits, with Wright contributing one, a single off Royals reliever Greg Holland in the seventh.
Of course, the hyper-competitive Wright would have liked to have parlayed that into a victory, but he was beyond satisfied with everything else that unfolded at Citi.
"To have that kind of ovation when your name's called, that's every kid's dream," Wright said. "Hearing your name called and the crowd going wild -- that's pretty special, and I can't thank these fans enough."