Joe Harvey’s debut with the Yankees on Wednesday night in Houston was largely upstaged by his father’s humorous and Casey Stengel-like television interview during his son’s two scoreless innings in relief against the Astros.
An excerpt of what Harvey’s dad, Joe, said on the YES Network: “It's just really the ultimate of the baseball world as far as we're concerned. I said to my wife this morning, this kid was 7 years old. I've seen him pitch. He's got a little something on his fastball. And through the years, but, through Little League and just . . . baseball. It's just overwhelming experience for us."
The elder Harvey started to make a little more sense after that, noting that the Yankees have stuck with his son since drafting him in 2014. But he instantly became a star for Yankees fans watching the game.
On Saturday, the younger Harvey said of his father, “He was so nervous . . . Obviously, the whole family is excited. They are probably more nervous than I was. He said to me, “Dude, I was so nervous, I almost blacked out. I was pretty sure I just uttered nonsense, which is what ended up happening.’ He was a pretty good sport about it.’’
The Harvey family had been waiting for that moment, which seemed unlikely to happen when Harvey, now 27, was in the minor-league doldrums of injuries and advancing age. He was two weeks away from quitting. “I would have gone back to college [at Pitt],’’ he said. “I’m a history major. Probably would have graduated, figured it out from there.’’
Harvey had Tommy John surgery in 2015 and shoulder tendinitis in 2017. “I was calling my mom, saying I’ll give it two more weeks, and if I'm still in extended spring training, I'm just gonna hang it up,’’ Harvey said. “Then, in the middle of May, I did well, went to Double-A last year, then Triple-A.''
He made his first visit to Yankee Stadium on Friday. “You keep telling everybody it’s a thousand times better than what you dream,’’ Harvey said. “To stay here, I’ll carry the bats, I don’t care. Whatever the team needs me to help. It’s almost like your life’s work. You play for so long. You don't make much money in the minors. Then getting here, it makes everything so much more worth it. Also, seeing your family enjoy it.’’
Harvey is soaking it all in for as long as he can. “Being 27, never been to the big leagues, I'm like we got an opportunity here, let's just try to get there, ‘’ he said. “Now it's let's see if we can stay there.’’