With the Mets eliminated from playoff contention for what seems like months, it comes as no surprise that fans have been turning their interests to football and season premieres of awful reality shows. There are no personal milestones for Mets players to achieve, no spoiling of other teams’ playoff chances and no promising rookies to showcase. So why do I keep tuning in to watch the games? Am I such a Mets-ochist that I can’t turn away? Am I anxiously awaiting to see a new way for the Mets to lose a ballgame (still waiting for the walk-off catcher’s interference call)?
There’s one reason why I’m tuning in. It’s all because of my new favorite comedians, the blue (and orange) collar comedy team of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling.
Just as Bob Murphy, Ralph Kiner and Lindsey Nelson were the favorite Mets broadcasters of yesteryear, Gary, Keith and Ron are becoming the voice of this generation. However, other than Ralph Kiner’s malapropisms, the only thing funny about the original trio was Lindsey Nelson’s wardrobe. Gary, Keith and Ron are not only informative (as they should be), but they keep things interesting when the play on the field is not.
From the recent discussions on Gary Cohen’s long hair as a youth to Keith talking about losing weight so he can drink beer over the holidays to Ronnie’s impeccable timing after one of his partner’s quips, I never want to change the channel when I watch a game, regardless of what the score is. Also, I’ll never get tired of Keith’s non-sequiturs and Gary calling him out on them. They make embarrassing losses more tolerable, if such a thing is possible.
There are impromptu “What’s Keith Eating?” segments (see photo above) for us to enjoy as well as Gary and Ronnie giving the traffic and weather reports so that Keith can plan his quick escape from the stadium. Also, you can’t watch a game now without an obligatory Seinfeld reference. Sometimes the games being played in the booth are more entertaining than the game being played on the field.
Of course, if they didn’t have perfect chemistry, fans would unleash their venom on them, similar to the way I do for the ESPN team of Jon Miller, Joe “I created the second base position” Morgan and Steve Phillips. Gary, Keith and Ron make it easy to believe that in addition to being colleagues, they’re also great friends. Every chuckle they share in the booth is natural and unforced, making it easy for us to laugh along with them.
Losses to teams out of contention such as the Nationals can make a Mets fan question why he or she continues to tune in. At least Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling (and don’t forget roving reporter and food sampler Kevin Burkhardt) give us a reason to watch. I’ll miss not being able to laugh with them for another six months. Somehow I don’t think Mandeep and Sharvarish (the owners of the NY NY Sports Sports store in the SNY commercials) will be able to fill the void left by our broadcasting trio over the winter.
Even though there is no cover charge and no drink minimum, the broadcast team of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling is all I need to keep coming back to the SNY comedy club night after night. Too bad it’s just a limited engagement.