Welcome Matz. Meet the Matz. Matz Day. Matz-a-palooza.
Whatever you'd like to call it, Sunday will be a special day at Citi Field. Steven Matz, the mound is yours.
The Mets have debuted a rotation full of young phenom pitchers during the last few years, but none of them grew up within a (long, traffic-filled) drive or (long, unreliable) LIRR ride to Flushing.
Sure, Matt Harvey grew up in Connecticut. But we all know he was a Y****** fan.
If you are a Mets fan, Steven Matz is one of you. If you grew up on Long Island, the 24-year-old Stony Brook native and Ward Melville High School product is one of you.
If you grew up anywhere and dreamed of pitching in the major leagues, he's one of you. When he throws his first pitch Sunday, he will be one of the very, very, very few who dream about it and actually make it.
And that's pretty awesome.
"It feels great," Matz said Saturday in an introductory meet-and-greet with the media. "It really is a dream come true. That's all I can say. It's really exciting. I'm just going to soak it up today and take it all in."
Soak it up, indeed. It rained throughout the Mets-Reds game, which was suspended after a 53-minute delay with the score tied at 1 after six innings. The game will resume at 1 p.m. Sunday before Matz's debut.
On Saturday, Matz didn't have a chance to get his brand-new No. 32 jersey wet because he is not officially on the roster yet.
Still, he got a chance to sit in front of his locker. If he looked around, he saw Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and his old buddy Jacob deGrom, who used to go fishing with Matz when both were recovering from Tommy John surgery in Port St. Lucie, Florida, in 2011.
"Neither of us had barely thrown ," Matz said. "I think he had thrown a couple of innings. I didn't throw a pitch yet. We became real good friends through that time. So it's pretty cool that we're both up here now."
Matz is the fifth and final uber-prospect to join the Mets in the last few years. Harvey was the first and is the acknowledged leader of the pack. He was followed by Zack Wheeler, deGrom and Syndergaard.
"I've never had this experience before where you just keep bringing up all these legit prospects to the big leagues," manager Terry Collins said. "That's why we're doing the best we can to guide these guys and make sure they're as healthy as possible. They've got a chance to be some sort of dynamic rotation."
Harvey, Wheeler and Syndergaard made their first starts on the road. DeGrom DeButed at Citi Field against the Yankees, but that one wasn't the event the others were. Even the Mets didn't know what they actually had in the long-haired pitcher.
DeGrom said Matz is "kind of like me," but he didn't mean in the flowing locks department. Matz, deGrom said, is "easygoing but loves to compete."
Collins said the Mets didn't factor in the locale when they decided to insert Matz into their six-man rotation. We're sure the ticket department didn't mind it being at home, though. That Matz will have to wait for the suspended game to end adds an interesting wrinkle.
"He's got to pitch here sooner or later," Collins said. "So let's get it over with."
Matz and all the Matzes and Matz supporters who will make Citi Field feel like Stony Brook West on Sunday don't want to get it over with. They want it to get here and last for as long as possible. For as long as it takes to make a dream come true.
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