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!
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.
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.