Since our last edition after Thursday’s game against the Cardinals, the Mets lost two of three to the Flordia Marlins, and David Wright has returned to club in grand fashion. But, even more noteworthy, SNY has aired it’s very special tribute, Ralph Kiner: 50 Amazing Years.
For long time Met fans, this is must see TV. For you kids at home, it may give you a better insight as to why Mr. Kiner is beloved by so many Met fans. So here we go, a special Kiner’s Korner 3 Up 3 Down.
1) Old Clips Galore: Kevin Burkhardt hosts this special (and does a great job), but you really don’t get to see Kevin too much, because SNY has provided so many vintage clips. We see Ralph with Bob Murphy, Lindsay Nelson and Casey Stengel, in what I think may have been their first telecast. We see Ralph as a player on the Pittsburgh Pirates actually sliding into home plate, we see Ralph with the 1969 and 1986 World Championship teams, and of course we see pictures of the grand dame herself Shea Stadium in her younger days! All good stuff.
2) Howie Rose & Gary Cohen: Gary tells a great story about Ralph introducing him as David Cone the first time they worked together. Howie talked about how Ralph (and Lindsay Nelson & Murph) were like members of his family six months out of the year. Both Howie & Gary give genuine heartfelt tributes to Ralph, that really show how we fans feel about Mr. Kiner. Very classy job by both.
3) R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Listen to the parts with Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling. The respect they have for Mr. Kiner is just incredible. Keith said what I feel when listening to Mr. Kiner, he’s still sharp, he still does his homework, and he comes prepared for every game. Even today, Ralph can analyze the game like nobody else can.
Honorable Mention: Not only are Howie & Gary prominent in this show, but so are Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Tim McCarver. Back in the 1980’s McCarver and Kiner made Mets games so much fun to watch. Not only do we get to see those mentioned above, but Rusty Staub and Vin Scully make cameo appearances saluting Ralph. You’ll see pictures of Fran Healy and Steve Zabriskie.
1) It Should Have Been An Hour: SNY only made a half hour special, it should have been a full hour. Covering a career as illustrious as Ralph Kiner’s in a half hour is an injustice. Mr. Kiner is not only a Hall of Fame player, but also a HOF broadcaster. Plus there are just too many stories to fit into a half hour.
2) Too Few Sound Bites: While there are plenty of clips, sadly there are too few sound bites. I think it would have been pretty cool to hear Ralph doing some play by play with all his broadcast partner from over the years. In fact, you hear very little in the way of play by play, and thats too bad.
3) Highlighting the Errors: Ralph Kiner has been known to mis-speak. The special does spend some time on this (like referring to Gary Carter as Gary Cooper). I would have liked it if SNY instead had more snippets of other announcers paying tribute to Mr. Kiner. I’m sure Fran Healy would have made himself available (I doubt he’s busy these days). Gary Thorne was in the booth too for awhile. Or maybe a clip from when he had Lindsay and Murph on Kiner’s Korner.
All and all though, SNY did a nice job on this special. Ralph Kiner is such a huge part of this team’s history it great that SNY and the Mets organization embrace them the way they do.