The New York Mets have had plenty of things going wrong for them both on and off the field the past few years.
We would not have the hashtag #LOLMets if that was not the case. But the one thing that nobody in baseball can come close to mocking us about, is the work the TV and Radio broadcasters do covering the team.
SNY’s booth of Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and the immortal Keith Hernandez are the best in the business outside of the Vin Scully Universe when it comes to announcing games. Kevin Burkhardt does a solid job as the sideline/dugout reporter as well.
(Full disclosure, I hate when Kevin does play by play of baseball games. He is just not good at it. Football? Yes he is great. Baseball… not so much.)
But where that team has been together for going on seven years now, the radio booth has seen some big changes over time.
Howie Rose and Gary Cohen did games on the radio in 2004 and 2005 before being split up when SNY was created. Then Tom McCarthy, who probably couldn’t wait to run back to Philly and replace the legendary Harry Kalas, showed up and left before you could blink. Wayne Hagin was next and for lack of a nicer term, was awful.
Then the Mets did something that a lot of fans loved. They brought in Texas Rangers and San Diego Chargers announcer Josh Lewin, a Rochester NY native to partner up with Howie. Josh Lewin, who I once told is the soundtrack to Ladanian Tomlinson’s Hall of Fame career, was great and has been such an enjoyable listen these past two years with Howie.
Now comes the fact that since the Mets have switched from WFAN to WOR for the upcoming season and into the future, some changes could be made and reportedly from Howard Megdal, its none other than Jeff Wilpon, sadly, leading the charge.
According to sources familiar with talks between the team and WOR-AM, Wilpon is pushing to find a replacement for Josh Lewin, who partners on Mets broadcasts with Howie Rose.
With the Mets moving up the dial from 660 WFAN to 710 WOR, after the former booted them for the Yankees, Wilpon is apparently unhappy with the situation. And with just weeks until spring training, the situation is still unresolved.
But it flies in the face of how the Mets have typically deployed their radio announcers for the half-century they’ve been around.
Consider that for most of the team’s 52 years, the Mets have excelled on the radio side with a broadcast-first approach to their radio team’s background. Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen, Lindsey Nelson, Howie Rose are all iconic names in Mets broadcasting, without a single M.L.B. game played between them. Only Ralph Kiner stands apart as a Mets radio broadcaster of note with playing experience.
It’s generally considered to have worked well to team Rose’s analysis with Lewin, who excels on the play-by-play side of things. There’s no downtime in a Mets broadcast with Rose and Lewin.
But with a month until their first spring training game on February 28, the Mets haven’t finalized arrangements with Rose, Lewin, or a replacement for either one.
One of the rumors swirling around is that Cliff Floyd, now an analyst on MLB Network and former Met from 2003-2006 is someone that Wilpon wants to join the broadcast booth. Another name I saw was Darryl Hamilton, a member of the Mets 2000 World Series team and also an MLB Network analyst.
Both guys do a nice job on the air and I can easily admit that if added to the radio, they would surely do a great job, especially if Cliff was the one who took the job.
But as the old saying goes, if it aint broke, don’t fix it.
The Mets have finally gotten a radio booth that is universally loved by all Mets fans and has two guys who are so passionate about baseball and the Mets.
Howie Rose is an institution with the Mets and yet I believe is so humble and gracious that I can almost guarantee he would refuse to acknowledge the fact, that to me at least, he belongs in the same breath as Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson and Ralph Kiner.
Josh Lewin certainly isn’t on that level yet but his energy and enthusiasm for the game and the Mets is not going to be matched by many. I loved how he called games in Texas and still does with the Chargers. His passion while calling Mets games and hitting you hard with every big call is something I personally love.
There is no reason the Mets and Jeff Wilpon should have to break up this team. They haven’t done it with SNY and the guys working Mets games on the radio shouldn’t be changed either.
The Mets have the best TV and Radio broadcasters in baseball, or even in sports, today.
Making a change for the sake of change will only ruin the one consistently good thing the Mets have had in franchise history.
The photo used in this post was originally created by Randy Medina of Read The Apple