By: Michael Ganci

Nine Innings with Kevin Burkhardt

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Many of us were sad to lose Kevin Burkhardt to the NFL and MLB on FOX, but it was pretty clear from the start that this guy’s voice was too natural to be Gary, Keith and Ron’s fourth compadre.

When I first heard him, I thought football would suit him, and sure enough, he did a damn good job making the transition. Obviously, today’s edition of #9Innings features a Q&A with FOX’s Kevin Burkhardt.

Thus far, we’ve brought you Adam Rubin, Alan Hahn, Kristie Ackert and David Brody.

See below for Burkhardt’s thoughts on the Mets and the upcoming season.

What do you make of this Mets’ team as currently constituted? Are they ready to contend?

I’d like to think they are ready to contend, but it’s a big jump from 80 wins to being a legit World Series team. 10 more wins don’t just appear because Matt Harvey is healthy, if you know what I mean. I like what they have for the most part, but they likely have the best team in baseball in their own division.

If they’re missing something, what is that piece? Who would be the guy you’d go out and get and why?

The obvious answer is shortstop, but that is what it is at this point. I do think Wilmer Flores will hit, but I’m just concerned about defense in the middle infield. Will they turn the key double play to get out of an inning? Other than that, Travis d’Arnaud and Lucas Duda have to show me they can do it for a full year, but the second half was encouraging for both!

How do the Mets compete with the Nationals with that superstar rotation? Is the NL East title a distant pipe dream?

It’s baseball, and anything can happen, but it would have to be a catastrophic failure for the Nationals not to win 95 games and the NL East. Their team is too good. For the Mets to really surprise and win the division, David Wright and Curtis Granderson have to have BIG years.

David Wright had a career-worst year in 2014. Do you think we should expect a marginalized player moving forward or do you have hope in a resurgence?

David Wright is one of the toughest guys I’ve ever covered in any sport. I said this on the air multiple times last year, and know he was hurt worse than he was letting on. He is a career .300 hitter, and a career .377 on base guy and I expect that to return this year. His home run power is not going to return like it was 5 years ago, but they need him to drive in runs for the team to get to the playoffs.

Who’s the guy who needs to step up to put the Mets offense over the top?

Imagine if Juan Lagares’ OFFENSIVE game actually improves this year…

What are your thoughts on the Yankees? Do you hate them? Do you understand why many Mets fans do?

Growing up a Mets fan in NJ, I obviously was not a fan of the Yankees, however; as a reporter and broadcaster you really appreciate the run of success that they have had, and the fact that they do whatever it takes to win. First time in a long time they haven’t made the playoffs in 2 straight years though, and they have a lot of question marks.

If you could have one team as currently constituted, farm system and all, would you rather have the Mets or the Yankees? Why?

I really don’t know enough about the Yankees farm system to answer this fairly. It’s easy to like the Mets pitching in the big leagues and the minors, but unless that equals a World Series who cares what the minor league system looks like.

What’s the best thing to eat or drink at Citi Field?

Probably asking the question to the wrong guy since I have a food allergy and am gluten free. Citi does have good food though. Sushi is excellent in RF and most people don’t realize it’s made fresh as the game goes on. I love the elote corn at Taqueria. Best thing in the ballpark.

Finish this sentence. By the end of the season, the Mets will be…

….a playoff team. There are no more excuses.

About Michael Ganci

Michael Ganci is the Co-Founder of the Daily Stache, along with Matthew Falkenbury. Since 2008, Ganci has eat, drank and dreamt all things Mets, and he'd have it no other way. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @DailyStache.

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  1. Pingback: Good Ol’ Kevin Burkhardt: Mets Are For Real - The Daily Stache

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