And the Mets Fans Can Cheer, Let’s Go Matz!

If ever a man was born to play on a certain sports team, it is Steven Jakob Matz.

When the New York Mets take the field tonight in Queens, N.Y., hosting game four of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the 24-year-old rookie left-hander will be on the pitching mound.

Let’s Go Mets! is the cheer that fans have chanted for their squad since the days of Shea Stadium, where the team became the really Amazing Mets in 1969, coming from last place the season prior to World Series champion.

Let’s Go Matz! can be the cheer for the pitcher who grew up in Stony Brook, some 40 miles east of Shea and its replacement Citi Field. He attended Ward Melville High School. That’s where I went, by the way. In fact, a few weeks ago I received a Facebook message from a guy I grew up with who told me that the Matz family lives on his block, which ran into the street I grew up on. Let’s Got Matz!

Solid rookie on the hometown hill. (From Wikipedia.com)

Solid rookie on the hometown hill. (From Wikipedia.org)

I can imagine how worked up all those kids were down there when Matz played for the Patriots. His bio says he pitched and played first base, and won the Yastrzemski Award as the best player in Suffolk County after his senior year. Yes, Yaz — Carl Yastrzemski, hall of famer for his MVP career with the Boston Red Sox — grew up amid the potato fields of Eastern Long Island. After that, his hometown Mets picked him in the second round of the 2009 draft, and smartly got him to agree to a bonus of $895,000 on baseball’s signing deadline day, when he was poised to attend Coastal Carolina’s college orientation the very next day.

And Matz can mash with his bad, too. (From wikipedia.org)

And Matz can mash with his bad, too. (From wikipedia.org)

The kid can pitch, too, nothing funny about it. He’s overcome the infamous Tommy John surgery on is pitching arm while in the minors. He made his major-league debut against the Cincinnati Reds in late June, beating them with his arm and bat. Yes, at the plate, the pitcher drove in four runs. After that, he’s won against the Dodgers in Los Angeles and vs. the Yankees in a Subway Series game at Citi Field. Despite two bouts with a stiff back, the Long Island kid compiled a record of 4-0 with an ERA of 2.27.

His parents and grandparents are avid Mets fans. Have been for forever. Loads of people are out there in Stony Brook. His father, Ron Matz, is a service manager at a Suffolk County jeep dealership. His mother, Lori Matz, work in administration at a neighboring high school. Middle-class Mets fans. Loads of people are on Long Island.

Let’s Go Matz. Let’s Go Mets. Made for each other.

By the way, Mr. Matz will have to accomplish some things to become the most famous person from that neighborhood. Comedian Kevin James grew up down the block, albeit with a different last name not quite made for show biz.

Here’s the link to Matz’s bio and photgraphs.

Here’s the link to Matz’s statistics.

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About markbialczak

Mark Bialczak is a veteran journalist. He started his blog, markbialczak.com, in February, 2013, to write about music, entertainment, sports and life.
This entry was posted in funny names in baseball and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to And the Mets Fans Can Cheer, Let’s Go Matz!

  1. ksbeth says:

    i’ll root for him, good to know! and i love kevin james!

  2. wdydfae says:

    “. . . our intrepid name meister is on the Mark once more, reprising sports and knocking that five iron clear over the field goal for a knockout dunk . . .”

    “. . . like a heavyweight stepping up to the plate for a first down, Mark stares down that net relentlessly then slams that mallet down the slope a resounding triple loop . . .”

    “. . . Mark has finally Mets his Matz . . . and we mean that in a totally good way . . .”

  3. kerbey says:

    And they never call him “Matzoh?”

  4. Arto says:

    Too appropriate. It’s great when names and teams align.

    Reminds me of the Nashville hockey player Vernon Fiddler, who could not have played in a more appropriate town.

    Also, there are potato fields on Long Island?

    • markbialczak says:

      Fiddler bows to pressure, misses open net goal. Yeah, I can read the headlines now, Arto.

      There were potato fields and duck farms when Yaz was growing up out there, Arto. Before my time, but they were legendary. Now I think they’ve all been turned to vineyards.

      • Arto says:

        Haha, great!

        Potatoes and ducks. Just doesn’t jive with my version of New York, in my mind permanently as an endlessly dense city (even in the ‘burbs). But the idea is delightful. Hope the duck ponds return one day.

        • markbialczak says:

          Long Island is suburban sprawl now, yes, Arto. But even so, the Eastern end has the toney Hamptons, big houses, very un-City. Think The Great Gatsby. Back when I was a kid, though, regular folk had small houses and farmed. I remember going to my Aunt’s small summer place, walking a hundred yards to the end of the street, and digging potatoes out of the field’s dirt with my hands to bring back so my mother and aunt could use them to make potato salad. Until the farmer yelled at me. It was their idea, really!

  5. Ann Koplow says:

    Let’s go, Mark! Thanks for this post, which tells me some things I didn’t know about my hero Yaz.

  6. Dave says:

    When Arto and I got to the bar yesterday, Bartolo Colon was already on the mound. I was worried, but 3 runs in 5 innings against the dodgers is not a bad postseason debut. It’s a bummer the offense didn’t respond. Hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more of Mr. Matz!

    • markbialczak says:

      Thanks, King Dave. Yeah, it was a fair pitching debut. Kershaw stifled our bats except for Murphy’s solo shot. Pins and needles Thursday! And, hey, I’m jealous that you and Arto actually hang out there in real life. Wish I could join you.

      • Dave says:

        One of these days… one of these days… I’ve met Mark S and Amber while traveling for med school interviews, and Mark S has also met up with us when he was out in San Diego for a conference. I’ve met Rob too, believe it or not, even though he hasn’t been around on the blog since you’ve been among us. We’ll meet soon, I promise!

        Oh, and GO METS!! I’m rooting for them in large part because they’re going against our division rivals the Codgers. But we can pretend it’s because I’m one of the Shea faithful, right? (Citi faithful, that just sounds weird!)

        • markbialczak says:

          Yes, Shea faithful will always ring sweet to me, King Dave! Thanks for the Mets’ love. A decade ago, I went to a Padres-Giants game in San Fran, and we sat next to a wonderful family that had made the trip up for the game. I rooted for the Padres because it felt right. Just saying. 🙂

  7. Dave says:

    Sad fact: I just looked at the blog for a moment, and because I’m so deep into the medical studying, my first-glance thought was “Mets Cancer” before I actually read the title.

    • markbialczak says:

      You are head deep in studies, King Dave. Naturally.

      • Dave says:

        It’s happening a lot. Step 1 of the board exams (the most important exam I’ll probably ever take) is in May.

        Funny thing… I just realized that Mets is also the term we use for cancer metastases, so it makes a bit more sense. At least I’m not *completely* delusional!

        • markbialczak says:

          OK, now you’re losing me in med-speak. I’m just a regular folk writer, you know, King Dave. But I do know enough to root for you to knock it out of the park on Step I Boards in May. 🙂

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