Comedian and die-hard Mets fan Kevin James expressed his appreciation for a fellow Ward Melville product, pitching prospect Steven Matz.
"I met him working out at the gym, the local gym," James said Tuesday after taking batting practice at Citi Field. "He was working out. I was probably eating some chili. But it was good to see him, he was a great kid, and I'm excited about him being up."
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Matz, 23, began the season with Triple-A Las Vegas, though he has a chance to pitch his way to Flushing this season.
"I think we're a team to be reckoned with this year," said James, who has been promoting his new movie "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2," which opens Friday.
In physique, the character bears a resemblance to Mets righthander Bartolo Colon, which wasn't lost upon James.
"What about Paul Blartolo Colon, huh?" he said. "His physique -- he's obviously in better shape than me -- but he's a guy, he's an unsung hero. That's what my movie's about and that's the guy who shows he can get it done. He's 41, I believe? And he's crushing it. Never give up man, never give up."
In recent years, James has been a regular presence during rallies at Citi Field. It has been in the form of a video that features James delivering his own high-energy version of the familiar "Let's Go Mets" chant.
"It annoyed me," James said. "I'd see it at games here and I'm like, why are they playing that? We just did another one to try to calm it down a little bit. But I want to keep everybody fired up. I love our Mets this year and I think we're going to do damage, I really do."