Rocket Science: Matt Restivo
Matt is a marathon runner, skier, Mets fan, and Chief Product Officer at The Action Network.
Favorite arena or stadium experience (other than the Mets).
Well, if I can’t talk about the 8th inning of the Mets-Braves game in June of 2000, I would say the Winter Classic in 2014 at the Big House in Michigan stands out as one of the most surreal sports experiences I have had the privilege of seeing. Not only was it zero degrees, but It felt like you were inside a real-life snow globe.
Also, sticking with hockey, a few years ago I went to a Nashville Predators playoff game, and it was unbelievable. It’s the best, most engaged fan base I’ve ever seen. It’s an environment that’s unmatched in my experience.
When you’re driving in from the airport, just seeing billboards from local companies supporting the Predators during a playoff run is great. The city unites around the team, and that’s not something you get as much of in the Bay Area or L.A. or New York. There are so many distractions, not to mention other teams competing for the spotlight.
You’ve done marathons and an Ironman competition. What do you listen to when training?
I usually go for podcasts, especially if I’m doing distance running. I always listen to The Daily. I also listen to audiobooks. I love those old school self-help books like Dale Carnegie. If you wanna crush a book, there’s no better way than just running for three hours.
One of my favorite bands is The Lone Bellow. They mix folk and rock and they’re great live, which is always a priority. They always find their way into the workout as well.
Favorite wall decoration in your home.
My lovely fiance is an architect, and she made me a beautiful glass display case for my Ironman finisher medal. When I see it, all the memories of the long beautiful bike rides, race day, and that time in my life come back.
Most intense place you’ve ever skied.
I’m proud to say I have dropped Corbet’s Couloir in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. That’s probably the most well-known place I’ve skied.
There’s nothing like doing one of the ski tours in British Columbia. This place called Mustang Powder is one of those remote ski lodgers where you stay in the middle of a mountain and have the all of the terrain to your group.
It was the hardest skiing I’ve ever done, bar none. I mean, I had at least half of a yard sale every single day. I think I got the nickname “Matty Splatty” because of my legendary falls. It was way, way above my head.
What’s an obscure area of knowledge that fascinates you?
Is economics obscure?
I think I’m kinda fascinated by economics, especially with the latest trends, modern monetary theory, and Austrian economics. I wish I could have time to begin to global economics class and understand it better.
If you could change one thing about sports media coverage, what would it be?
I think I would democratize the game watching experience. For a while there were predictions floating around that games would sort of lose announcers, and commentary would be sourced from the web or something. That’s a lousy idea, and it’s never going to happen because of the way the media rights are structured.
However, you need a storyteller, and maybe more than one. Say what you will about the personalities, you either love them or hate them, but Jim Nantz and Tony Romo do a phenomenal job of telling the story. I wish that there were more vehicles for entry in that space, more opportunities for different voices to call games and different kinds of storytellers to innovate on the format.
What’s a team you sentimentally bet on?
I bet on the Mets even when I shouldn’t. I’m probably going to illogically put money on Pete Alonso to win Rookie of the Year.
It was really fun to have a future ticket in 2015 because I got pretty good odds, and only later I realized I probably should’ve hedged it in the World Series. I think all Mets fans, were extremely confident heading into that World Series in 2015! But yeah, betting on your own team is just such a bad idea.
What game makes you most competitive?
Ticket to Ride, definitely. It’s the center of the table at pretty much every family gathering. We also try to get a game night on the calendar once a month. It’s so important to shut your phone down and engage.
I also play chess a lot. I try to play every day just to engage my mind. It’s such a great game because it teaches you how to reframe the idea of winning and losing. The game, in a way, is to not lose. But if you do, you just gotta say, “good game,” shake their hand, and move on. There’s a great lesson in that.