KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Many people have played in the World Series. Not many people have played in the World Series after waking up in their childhood bedroom that morning.
But that is exactly what Steven Matz is scheduled to do Saturday when the Mets host the Royals in Game 4 at Citi Field.
"I don't think many people can say that they can sleep in the bed that they slept in for 24 years of their life and then drive in to pitch in the World Series," the lefthander said during media day at Kauffman Stadium on Monday. "I think that's pretty cool."
Well, yes, you could say that. And it is part of what has been a whirlwind season for Matz, who grew up in Stony Brook and still resides in the house there with his family that he always has lived in when he is in town.
The 48-mile drive to Citi Field usually takes him 50 minutes to an hour. Fortunately, baseball players commute to the office outside of rush hour, at least for night games. "We work hours that don't have much traffic, so I don't usually hit much," he said.
Because media day took place five days before his start, Matz was able to soak in the Series atmosphere without any immediate pressure to perform, although he did pitch to batters during the Mets' workout.
"It's awesome," he said of experiencing the Fall Classic four months after his big-league debut. "In April I was in Triple-A just hoping to get my opportunity. You grind it out there in the minor leagues. To be able to experience this time of year is unbelievable."
Matz has made two postseason starts, going 0-1 with a 3.72 ERA. He came within an out of earning the victory in the NLCS clincher against the Cubs, but Terry Collins removed him with two outs in the fifth in favor of Bartolo Colon, who got the win.
After the game, Collins made it a point to seek out Matz and tell him how impressed he was with his poise against a top-notch lineup in the raucous, historic venue of Wrigley Field. "He just complimented me on the way I threw the ball and said, 'Just keep on going, you're doing great,' '' Matz said.
He has made a point of not looking into the future when reporters steer him down that path, but he acknowledged that his postseason journey will pay dividends. "I think this whole experience is a stepping stone and good for my development," he said. "As an athlete, you always want to keep on growing and getting better every day, and I think this is a part of it."
Matz said a few friends from his minor-league days will attend Games 1 and 2, but his family will wait until the Series moves to Citi Field. "When I get back home, there will be plenty [of guests],'' he said.
Being the hometown boy -- and lifelong Mets fan -- who made good has not been overwhelming, he said. Most people have been respectful that he has a job to do. "I'm a local kid, so a lot of people show their excitement about that, but it hasn't been too bad," he said.
It is a story angle he has lived with since being drafted in 2009. It is not something he thinks about on the mound. "You're working so hard and with your team and you all have the same goal," he said. "You're not focused on, 'Oh, this my dream, this is my fantasy I'm living.' You just don't think that way . . . But it is a blessing that I'm able to do it in my home city."