Get An Exclusive Look At Mets Phenom's Soon-To-Be-Released Minifigure

By Peter Schwartz
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Through his first two major league starts, Mets rookie pitcher Steven Matz has been everything that the team and its fans could have wanted. The Long Island product is 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA, and at the plate he’s 3 for 6 with five RBIs.

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At his major league debut on June 28 at Citi Field, Matz quickly became a local hero as well as a financial boon for the Mets. Throughout the crowd, there were a large number of fans wearing T-shirts with Matz’s No. 32 that they bought at team stores. And now, the former Stony Brook star is joining the world of sports collectibles.

Thanks to digital technology, Topps wasted no time in releasing the first official Steven Matz baseball cards. All fans have to do is download the Topps “BUNT” app to their mobile device and start collecting digital versions of the initial cards depicting the Mets’ young southpaw.

“This is our favorite aspect of producing content for the Topps BUNT app,” said Chris Vaccaro, editor-in-chief and director of app production for Topps Digital. “We’re able to react immediately when moments happen in baseball and turn those moments into digital media.”

A Topps BUNT digital baseball card showing Mets pitcher Steven Matz (credit: Topps)

A Topps BUNT digital baseball card showing Mets pitcher Steven Matz (credit: Topps)

The first two Matz cards featured headlines from his debut as both a hitter and pitcher, and they’ve since released two additional cards.

“We pride ourselves on releasing special cards to match major news moments in sports,” Vaccaro said.

A Topps BUNT digital baseball card showing Mets pitcher Steven Matz (credit: Topps)

A Topps BUNT digital baseball card showing Mets pitcher Steven Matz (credit: Topps)

Launched in 2012, Topps BUNT is an officially licensed app of Major League Baseball that combines the nostalgia of card collecting with the competitive spirit of fantasy sports. Fans can play along with their digital cards in real-time and score points based on how the players perform on the field.

The app is available for iOS and Android devices and has seen tremendous growth and success since its launch. They also have digital card apps for other sports, including soccer and football.

“We have a very passionate fan community on Topps BUNT,” said Vaccaro. “Fans across the league, not only Mets fans, were cracking packs trying to pull these special Matz cards the second we released them.”

As for traditional Matz cards, collectors will have to wait for Topps to include him in a physical future set. Click here more information on Topps BUNT and the company’s other digital apps.

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Not to be outdone in the department of quick turnarounds, OYO Sports will soon be releasing a Steven Matz minifigure. OYO launched in 2011 and is the first building-block toy based off of real MLB players. One of the unique aspects of the company is that they can produce a figure for a new player in a very short period of time.

“His figure is in the works and into approvals and we should have something out relatively quickly, if not this week then the beginning of next week,” said Shari Fabiani, senior vice president of product and marketing for OYO Sports.

Here is an exclusive look at renderings of the Steven Matz OYO figure:

A rendering of the OYO Sports minifigure of Steven Matz (credit: OYO Sports)

A rendering of the OYO Sports minifigure of Steven Matz (credit: OYO Sports)

A rendering of the OYO Sports minifigure of Steven Matz (credit: OYO Sports)

A rendering of the OYO Sports minifigure of Steven Matz (credit: OYO Sports)

Once a player gets called up to a team and is signed with the players’ association, OYO can start developing a figure. Once the plans for the figure are approved by MLB and the union, OYO can begin production.

In the past, OYO has moved quickly in getting its product on the market and they are currently in the process of producing the MLB All-Star figures. But in the case of Matz, it’s a unique opportunity for them to create a collectible for a player who has so much appeal to the local fans.

“It’s so great for this kid,” Fabiani said. “Especially for players who are as engaging and excited about it as he is.”

Since Matz’s amazing debut, OYO has not only been planning his figure but they have also discussed recreating some of his great moments with stop-animation videos that have become a staple on their website.

“To be able to tell that story for the home fans and for him is exciting for us,” Fabiani said.

Very soon, fans will have the opportunity to find the Steven Matz figure at the company’s website.

The figures will also be available at the Mets’ team stores at Citi Field as well as other retailers.

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Matz. He’s come up from the minors and delivered two spectacular performances for the Mets. And now between his Topps digital cards and soon-to-be-released OYO figure, he’s also becoming a big hit in the sports memorabilia world.

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Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @pschwartzcbsfan. You can also follow @Smatz88, @ToppsBUNT, and @OyoSports.