I remember the summer afternoon that Suzyn Waldman welcomed the fans to WFAN. I had always had a transistor radio to carry around and listen to ballgames, but now we had a 24/7 radio station for sports. How good was this?
Sweeny Murti was a student who worked part time at ‘The FAN’ mainly overnights with Joe Benigno and they got along famously. Mike was working with the ‘Mad Dog’ and that would continue for a long time.
During the nineties, the Yankees established their media turf with the YES network which mainly covered the Yankee games and other news about them. However you could tell that the TV crew was being monitored carefully to keep the Yankee name clean and clear.
Several years ago, we had another addition to the media coverage – SNY – which covered all the Mets games. Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling were the play by play broadcast crew and they are absolutely fabulous.
Of course, Ron and Keith played together on the Mets team of the mid eighties and the World Series. I can still see them now, particularly Keith who wandered all over the field like a street cop. I always thought some of the younger players were a bit afraid of him – and maybe they were. But he was a teacher and set an example for them on the field.
Now that SNY is established on TV, they have created a whole bunch of afternoon panel programs as well as the TV team which covers every Mets game home and away.
So, in this mode, I spent the three games of this past weekend watching and listening to these “three musketeers” who get along famously and are simply great. I’ve always been impressed with the baseball knowledge that Keith and Ron had, it seems as though they remember every inning of every game they played and can bring out examples of their own time on the field to match what is going on while they are broadcasting.
Of course they know everyone and so does Gary and the teasing that occurs is hilarious – they remind me of three brothers who have to share a room. For a long time baseball fan like me this is terrific and I’m still chuckling about some of the conversation. It’s amazing how they can change from casual talk to serious, information they’ve gathered from their own time on the field to their ‘before air’ reading every day.
I must say that I envy them a bit – I’ve always thought that many fans made the mistake of taking their teams too seriously – it’s a game, folks, just a game and they know it from both sides. There are serious things in our world that go on every day and we have no control and it can get scary, but just think of the Boys in the Booth and the fun they have while the game is on.
So, a big “Thank You” to Gary, Keith and Ron for their composure and knowledge and most of all for asking all of us to join them in their booth and watch the game with them.