ESPN’s award-winning news magazine show, E:60 kicks off its spring season Saturday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) with an in-depth, hour-long profile on New York Mets pitching ace, Matt Harvey. Front Row spoke with E:60 coordinating producer Ben Houser regarding the feature:
Matt Harvey’s comeback from 2013 Tommy John surgery is one of the stories to follow this baseball season – what does it mean to have him share his story with E:60?
E:60 was committed to telling Harvey’s complete story. The only way that could happen was to be with him numerous times throughout his rehabilitation. Having the opportunity to bring his whole story to a national audience, on the brink of perhaps the biggest pitching start of this season is a fact that we at E:60 are all grateful for. He was a tremendous subject to work with and invested in our story. [E:60 reporter] Jeremy Schaap’s candid interview with Harvey genuinely captures ‘The Dark Knight of Gotham’.
What was the most challenging aspect?
Gathering the breadth of material and interviews for a full-hour documentary. We had a list of every person we felt was vital to Harvey’s story. His family, teammates and friends such as New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, recently retired Yankees captain Derek Jeter and former Mets great Dwight Gooden, as well as his agent Scott Boras and Dr. James Andrews, who performed his elbow surgery. These voices provide context and better understanding of who Matt Harvey is.
What kind of access did you have to Harvey?
We developed an understanding of trust early on that allowed our cameras to be there in many different settings – from Harvey throwing for the first time in Chapel Hill at the University of North Carolina and working out at Citi Field in Flushing, N.Y., to riding alongside him as he drove to the stadium to face hitters for the first time during spring training. We also uncovered some gems from his childhood.
– Ben Houser on profiling Matt Harvey
What do you hope people take away from this piece?
Harvey is incredibly down to earth. He is confident and at times has been a lightning rod for media in the Big Apple. He is also a son who slept upstairs in his parents’ house while we interviewed his family. I know Harvey wanted to convey his work ethic and effort in working to return to the mound. They will see a man with incredible devotion, focus and commitment to being the best athlete and pitcher he can possibly be.
E:60 Pictures’ “Matt Harvey: The Dark Knight Rises” premieres Saturday, April 4 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.