NEW YORK -- Like everyone else, Mets rookie Steven Matz saw the video of his grandfather, who became an Internet sensation for his fanaticism -- going as far as to smack himself repeatedly on his own head -- during Matz's big league debut Sunday at Citi Field.
"I was cracking up," Matz said of his grandfather, 82-year-old Bert Moller. "He's a character. He's a funny guy."
For Matz, so much of the aftermath of his debut was about friends and family. The Long Island native received a thrill from being able to share so many aspects of his callup with those who live just a short drive from the field -- including Moller, who, in Matz's words, "is eating it up pretty good."
Once Matz had time to enjoy his grandfather's newfound celebrity, then to hang out in and around his hometown with Jacob deGrom on Monday, even checking out the sandwich named after him at a local deli, Tuesday marked a return to business -- if not necessarily normalcy. Like all starters in the Mets' six-man rotation, Matz will throw two bullpen sessions between starts instead of the usual one. He next pitches Sunday in Los Angeles against the first-place Dodgers -- a far more hostile environment than the one he enjoyed at Citi Field.
"He's got plenty of time to key down a little bit, get a couple of sides in, but it will be exciting," manager Terry Collins said. "Your second start, and it's in Dodger Stadium against one of the best teams in baseball? He'll be amped up again. When he starts seeing the names in that lineup, you'd better get ready to pitch or they're going to knock you around."
"I had [Monday] to soak it all in," Matz added. "But now I'll just put it all behind me and focus on my next start."