Marcus Stroman had better seats at Barclays Center this week than Paul McCartney did.
Yes, one of Long Island’s own got the celebrity treatment in Brooklyn.
Stroman, a Patchogue-Medford High School graduate who now pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays, was back in town for the holidays and sat courtside on Saturday during the Nets’ 111-96 loss to the Wizards.
Stroman, who was seated front row along the baseline, was approached by numerous kids for autographs and handshakes during the game. He also was shown on the scoreboard, just as McCartney was when he attended a Nets game last Sunday. But the legendary former Beatle was seated about 20 rows up at midcourt.
Perhaps the ace of a pitching staff has more pull than a music icon these days. Stroman likely will move to the front of the Toronto rotation after David Price left the Blue Jays to sign a $217-million contract with the Red Sox.
“I’m excited, man,” he said. “I think we’re in a good position to compete for the AL East. So we’ll see.”
Stroman, 24, has been spending his offseason training at Duke University, just as he did over the summer while recovering from a torn ACL and finishing his degree. He was expected to miss the entire season but returned in September, making his debut at Yankee Stadium.
“I’m training with the same people I trained with this summer,” he said of his offseason routine. “Working out twice a day, every day. I’m just refining everything, making sure my knee is 100 percent.”
Stroman, who went 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA last season, helped the Blue Jays reach the playoffs for the first time in 22 years, ending the longest active drought in Major League Baseball. He started Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Rangers, tossing six innings of two-run ball in a no-decision, and helped the Blue Jays advance to the ALCS.
“It was special,” Stroman said. “It was a ride. Looking forward to trying to do it again.”