The last time the eastern end of Long Island had a major league baseball player of heroic proportions was half a century ago when the son of a Bridgehampton potato farmer, Carl Yastrzemski, played for the Boston Red Sox. There are still people here who remember the long balls he hit over the fence out in center field on the sandlot diamond behind the Bridgehampton firehouse on School Street.
Now, however, there just might be a local boy of similar heroic proportions. He’s Steven Matz, a former high school star, a rookie with the New York Mets, and on Saturday night about to do something that Yastrzemski never did—be the starting pitcher in a game in the World Series.
The whole of the eastern end of Long Island is wishing him well. Newsday interviewed his father, his grandfather, his high school coach at Ward Melville in East Setauket, his brothers and sisters, his friends, even a local deli where the owner has named a special sandwich after him.
Matz is not only a rookie, but a rookie who has hardly ever played. He pitched in one game in July, another in August and then four in September. He was the winning pitcher in four of the six games, did not lose, and pitched twice in the post-season before this week. Whoever heard of a baseball player who comes up to the majors, plays in eight games and is named as a starting pitcher in the World Series?
His fastball is 95 miles per hour, he’s got a wicked curve, SE-Port Deli in East Setauket named a sandwich for Steven Matz. Photo credit: Courtesy SE-Port Deli[/caption]steady nerves and he can even hit. There’s a video of his first at bat in the majors. It’s a hit, and his grandfather, who goes to every game he plays in, stands up and cheers.
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) June 28, 2015
It is of course impossible to say after just these few games this year, his first year, whether Matz will be another Yastrzemski, but he’s got everything going for him.
An eastern Long Islander, a Mets fan since he was a boy playing in Little League, he’s now a hero to his family and friends and fans just for what he’s done so far.
You can even order the hero, or make it yourself. According to Wisam Dakwar, the owner of the SE-Port Deli in East Setauket, Matz has been ordering this sandwich even before it got named for him.
It’s a chicken cutlet with melted jack and cheddar cheeses, crispy bacon, lettuce and tomato and a pepper house dressing on a toasted garlic hero.
Go Matz. And Go Mets.
Here’s Steven Matz’s stats for the regular season. Won 4, Lost 0. Total innings pitched 35.2. Strikeouts 34. Bases on Balls, 10. ERA 2.27. All good enough for a coach to think this young man is going places.