Christmastime all about family for Mets' Matz
Mets fans received a glimpse into Steven Matz's family life from his first moments in the big leagues, when scores of friends and family members -- remember cheering, screaming Grandpa Bert in all his glory? -- took over Citi Field on an unforgettable June afternoon. Prior to his Game 4 start in the World Series, Matz revealed that he was still living at home, commuting from his parents' house on Long Island.
That just so happens to be where Matz will spend his Christmas, as he has throughout his life as a high school star, top prospect and big league rookie. MLB.com recently caught up with Matz, who played Santa Claus at the Mets' annual holiday party, to talk about Christmastime for him, Grandpa Bert and the rest of his family.
MLB.com: Walk me through a typical holiday growing up in the Matz household.
Steven Matz: When I was really young, before my grandma passed, we'd go to her and my grandpa's house on Christmas Eve, and my whole mom's side of the family would be there. We have like 10 cousins on that side, so we'd all get together there and they'd stick a pole in the backyard with a little red light on it. It was "Rudolph." Then one of the guys who works for my dad would come and play Santa Claus, and give us all gifts.
Christmas Day would be with my dad's side of the family -- all local on Long Island. My mom and dad grew up in Commack, so we'd go there on Christmas Eve, and then Christmas would be at my house [in Stony Brook]. Everybody pretty much lives local.
MLB.com: What about the food? Anything traditional or particularly memorable?
Matz: We're German, so on Christmas Eve we do this thing called a pinkelwurst. It's pretty awesome, like a sausage with oats and fat inside a casing. It's so good. We get it from a store and then my mom usually cooks it.
MLB.com: What was the best gift you ever received as a child?
Matz: The best gift I ever got was a dog. I was 6 years old and it was an Australian Shepherd. I wanted one really bad, but wasn't expecting to actually get it. So that was definitely the best, we have that whole day on video. When we got the dog, its name was Jewel, but we renamed her Shelby and called her "Girl."
MLB.com: How has Christmas changed for you and your family now that you're grown?
Matz: We still do the same stuff. Everybody's older, and one of my cousins has kids now. Instead of going to my grandpa's house, we go to my uncle's house, which is right around the block from me, and we do the same type of stuff. We're going to do the pinkelwurst and all that. Everyone will be together.