Steven Matz joked Tuesday that when his grandfather was told he had gone viral, the 82-year-old asked if it was contagious.
For those who don't know, "going viral'' is not related to an illness of any kind. It means that a piece of content has circulated rapidly on the Internet. And that's what Matz's every move over the past few days seemingly has done.
Whether it was making a dominant major-league debut, as he did Sunday, or visiting his hometown deli that named a hero after him, as he did Monday. Even his grandpa, Bert Moller of Commack, became an Internet sensation thanks to his animated reactions during his grandson's first game at Citi Field.
"I think he's eating it up pretty good,'' Matz said yesterday. "It was cool that my whole family was able to be part of it.''
Part of Matz's historic debut, that is. The 24-year-old lefthander, who attended Ward Melville High School, tossed 72/3 innings of two-run ball and went 3-for-3 with four RBIs in a 7-2 win over Cincinnati. Before Tuesday night's game against Chicago, Matz was asked all of the usual questions that come after a homegrown talent bursts onto the scene.
What have the last 48 hours been like?
"It's been a whirlwind the past two days, for sure,'' he said.
Has he changed his phone number or email address to limit contact?
"No, not yet.''
Has he heard from anyone who surprised him?
"Not really,'' Matz said. "A lot of friends and family, old coaches, stuff like that.''
There were more questions to be asked, but Matz quickly was whisked away by the Mets' media relations staff.
Matz said he used Monday to reflect on what he had accomplished and "took it all in.'' But by yesterday his focus had shifted to his follow-up performance. His next start is slated to be on Sunday afternoon against the first-place Dodgers in Los Angeles.
"It will be exciting,'' Terry Collins said. "Your second start and it's in Dodger Stadium against one of the best teams in baseball. He'll be amped up again. When he starts seeing the names in that lineup he better get ready to pitch or they're going to knock you around.''
It will be difficult for him to top his debut, in which he shut down the Reds after allowing two solo home runs, and became the first pitcher ever to drive in four runs in his debut. But it has left many from East Setauket to Flushing and beyond eagerly awaiting Matz's next move.
"I'm just not going to change anything,'' Matz said. "I'm just going to stick with my routine, what I've been doing in the minor leagues. I'm just going to keep doing that here and I'm going to go out there and be ready for my next start.''
The results of which likely will go viral.
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