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Special day for Steven Matz's family

New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz pitches

New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz pitches in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field during Game 4 of the NLDS on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Ron and Lori Matz would have been at Citi Field anyway.

The parents of Steven Matz are your favorite type of Mets fans: passionate, knowledgeable, loyal through nine years of mediocrity, and always believers. They are the type who would have sifted through listings on StubHub for tickets to last night's playoff game between the Dodgers and Mets, ready to drop hundreds to be a part of what's happening in Flushing.

"Because,'' Lori Matz said, "how often does this chance come around?''

Only, they didn't have to search online for tickets -- call it a perk of having your son start in Game 4 of the NLDS. Rookie lefthander Steven Matz, the Stony Brook native and Ward Melville High alumnus, reserved tickets for his parents and six other family members in Section 114 at Citi Field for his postseason debut.

Matz was only average on this night, allowing three runs, six hits and two walks and striking out four in five innings. But the happening itself -- facing arguably this generation's best pitcher in the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, with a chance to propel the Mets into the NLCS in only his seventh major-league start -- was nearly unfathomable for a family that bleeds blue and orange.

"Honestly,'' Ron Matz said, "it just blows my mind.''

For the Matzes, it seemed as if everything had been building toward this. They had watched as he remained composed through postseason games in the minor leagues, as he kept his cool during an unforgettable big-league debut, as he didn't flinch when facing the Yankees in the Subway Series.

On Tuesday night, the stakes were higher than ever for Matz. But his family knew his focus would not waver.

"He's calm and cool, always,'' Matz's uncle, Gary Moller, said. "He's the calmest person I've ever met.''

Added Matz's aunt, Terry Moller: "None of this has changed him.''

Sure, there were the expected nerves for Ron and Lori. But Matz's parents knew this stage, this moment was something their son had earned.

"He's proved that he belongs here,'' said Lori Matz, who wore an orange "Let's go Matz!'' T-shirt that had an outline of Long Island stenciled on it.

Bert Moller, Matz's grandfather, wasn't going to miss this one. Before arriving at Citi Field Tuesday, Moller, per tradition, made sure to text his grandson.

"I told him, 'Good luck tonight,' '' Moller said. " 'I hope my cheering isn't too loud that it disturbs you.' ''

"Grandpa,'' Matz replied, "I don't think I'll be able to hear you.''

Baseball fans fell in love with Moller after his animated reaction to Matz's heroics during his MLB debut went viral. A fan even included a gift to Moller in a fan-mail package to Matz.

"It was a book called 'The Flags at Shea.' I couldn't put it down,'' Moller said. "It's almost like looking up an encyclopedia on the Mets.''

Moller paused, shifted his train of thought to Tuesday night's game, then let out a bellowing laugh.

"And now it's like Stevie is making another chapter for the book,'' Moller said. "It's wild. This is wild. Could you ever imagine this?''


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