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Matt Harvey: Mets don't have to worry about my personal life

Matt Harvey of the Mets attends the game

Matt Harvey of the Mets attends the game between the Knicks and the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 20, 2013. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Now that Matt Harvey finally is ready to return to regular-season action, he believes he should be judged on how he performs on the mound and not how he conducts his personal life. That includes by Mets management.

When Jeremy Schaap asked Harvey for an ESPN "E:60 Profile" that premieres at 7 p.m. Saturday whether he believes ownership would like to see him settle down in Connecticut with a wife and a station wagon, Harvey said this: "I think if I win, I'll be fine. As long as I'm winning and doing my job, I'm not getting arrested, I'm not doing drugs, I'm not doing anything like that. So I'm here to win. I'm here to play, and who I hang out with is my choice. As long as I'm not getting in trouble.

"I have one father, basically.''

That one father, Ed, was in attendance at a screening of the documentary, titled "Matt Harvey: The Dark Knight Rises,'' in Manhattan Thursday night. So was Harvey's mother, Jackie, and other friends and relatives.

Ed Harvey said he does not believe the scrutiny Matt has been and will be under will overwhelm him.

"No, no, I think he's got it down,'' he said. "He's his own man, and he's always been that way. Everyone goes through trials, and he went through a few, but it seems like he's coming out with flying colors. I think he's handling everything well.''

What has it been like for Ed Harvey as a parent to observe his son's rising celebrity?

"It's absolutely awe-inspiring at times, but again, he can pitch so well,'' he said. "He has that ability to concentrate on the mound and not be affected by anything that's going on in the crowd. He was like that really young. To him, I'm sure it's not much different.''

Ed Harvey, who was Matt's high school coach in Connecticut, said he has not been surprised by his son's performance this spring. He said Matt told him last August that he could have pitched even then.

"The first thing he said to me after he threw after his bullpen, he said, 'Dad, it was like nothing ever happened.' From there on -- and I know what kind of mentality he has -- from there on, I knew he'd be fine.

"The amount of strikes he's throwing this spring is incredible. We watched him [last] Friday in Jupiter and I was amazed. He's throwing everything for strikes -- the curveball, the changeup, slider, fastball, in, out, up. The umpire is just going bang, bang, every time. It was incredible.''

The "E:60'' on Harvey is the first in the show's nearly eight-year history to dedicate an entire hour to one athlete. It offers some behind-the-scenes looks at his rehabilitation from elbow surgery in October 2013 and also serves as an overview of his life and career.

The most pointed segment deals with perceptions from some fans, media members and even the Mets themselves, at times, that Harvey's outside interests could distract him from his primary job.

Harvey made it clear that notion annoys him. Asked about how he has been portrayed in the media, he said:

"From the things I've read, I think I've been portrayed in kind of a way that makes me look like I don't put effort into winning. I think that's completely the wrong portrayal of the person that I am. When people are getting on me for being at a Rangers game at 7 o'clock at night, they don't see what I've done between yoga, Pilates, workout, thrown, ran, done all of my work by 5 o'clock, ate, and then went to the game.

"Nobody's seeing that. Nobody's commenting on that.''

The documentary also addresses criticism Harvey took for attending Derek Jeter's final game at Yankee Stadium in September. Even Mets captain David Wright says on the show, "To each their own. That probably wouldn't have been the choice that personally I make.''

Said Harvey, who grew up as a Yankees fan, "I think and I hope people realize it was me being a fan as a kid, as a child. I was a fan of the way that he played baseball. I didn't go to the game as a fan of the Yankees. I didn't go cheering on Derek Jeter. I went to pay the man respect who did so much for baseball and representing New York in such a great way.''

When Schaap pointed out that Mets fans wary of the Yankees' power and influence might worry about the allegiance of their star pitcher, Harvey said:

"I definitely see that side of it. I completely understand. But the other side is that I have bled in a Mets uniform. I've definitely sweated in a Mets uniform and that's my life. Right now, that's who I play for.''

Right now? Hmm.

New York Sports