Matz's 'Tru32' initiative welcomes first responders

Matz's 'Tru32' initiative welcomes first responders

NEW YORK -- All his life, Steven Matz has admired firefighters. If he weren't a baseball player, he would probably be one. So when Matz's agent approached him this winter, asking what sorts of charitable endeavors he would like to undertake as a full-time member of the Mets, the FDNY clicked into his mind immediately.

So it came to be that 32 members of the FDNY, NYPD and US Military crowded into a Citi Field conference room on Wednesday, official guests of Matz for the evening. After the rookie pitcher greeted the group at large, he stood on a stage to take pictures with each of them. Then another line formed as Matz signed autographs, in a scene that should grow familiar to him over the course of this summer.

Before each Wednesday home game, Matz will welcome 32 more firefighters, military members and other first responders to Citi as part of his "Tru32" initiative. Each service member will receive a pair of tickets to that night's game at Citi Field.

"I have a lot of respect for those guys," Matz said. "They risk their lives to keep our community safe. I just really appreciate them for that."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.