Recently, my colleague Gregg (Gregga) posted a fine piece on Ralph Kiner. In it, he mentioned how Mr. Kiner still provides excellent insight and colorful stories about players past and present, despite being a young man of 86 years of age. Seeing Mr. Kiner on SNY this past Thursday brought back memories of my youth. I remember arguing with my parents after watching a Mets telecast because they wanted to change the channel while I wanted to watch Kiner’s Korner. It’s been quite some time since Kiner’s Korner was a regular feature after Mets broadcasts. Mr. Kiner’s age and SNY’s postgame coverage have all but eliminated the need for the show.
Last night, as I was about to watch the first game of the Subway Series, I was thinking about Mr. Kiner’s appearance in the broadcast booth during Thursday afternoon’s game. The tarp was on the field and an ark-like object was barely visible in Flushing Bay. SNY was going to its rain delay programming, which in this case was a Mets Classics episode featuring a 1999 matchup between the Mets and the Yankees. It’s not the first time SNY has chosen to show a Mets Classics episode while waiting for a game to be resumed. I have something I’d like to add to the SNY suggestion box. How about showing classic episodes of Kiner’s Korner during rain delays instead of a Mets Classics episode?
Mets Classics is a fine program. I’ve found myself watching entire episodes at times, smiling at the moments that I cherished as a young Mets fan and remembering what I was doing when the events on the field were taking place. However, some of these games have their “classic” moment in the late innings. By showing these games during rain delays, viewers could miss the moment they wanted to see the most. After all, SNY isn’t going to keep the Mets Classics episode on when they have a live game about to resume. Since I know this is a possibility during rain delays, I usually switch to another channel or sit at the computer planning out my next blog, occasionally checking to see if the game has resumed.
If SNY wanted to keep my attention while raindrops kept falling on their heads, wouldn’t it be wise of them to show a program from start to finish, perhaps a shorter program that has a better chance of being aired in its entirety before the rain delay comes to an end? Mets Weekly sometimes fits the bill, but that can be seen numerous times a week. Wouldn’t a classic episode of Kiner’s Korner, one that hasn’t been seen on any network in quite some time, keep the viewers from wandering away from the TV, especially the ones who grew up on the show like I did? Are you listening, SNY? It’s all about the ratings, and I believe Kiner’s Korner Klassics (if they can intentionally misspell “Korner” to get the alliteration, then I can misspell “Klassics” to get the same effect) would produce higher ratings than an episode of Mets Weekly or a sure-to-be abbreviated episode of Mets Classics.
Ralph Kiner is a beloved figure in Mets history. He is loved and respected by fans, players and fellow broadcasters. He has been a Mets broadcaster since their inaugural season (1962) and has one of the few areas of Citi Field named after a Mets personality, the Ralph Kiner Television Booth. With this much admiration, a man like this deserves our attention. He had my attention in the 80’s when I was watching Kiner’s Korner. He certainly had former Cardinals pitcher Ricky Horton’s attention. (For those of you who don’t know, Ricky Horton grew up watching Kiner’s Korner as a child. When he reached the big leagues, he made it well-known that one of his lifelong dreams was to appear on an episode of Kiner’s Korner. Despite pitching for three pennant-winning teams and one World Championship team (1988 Dodgers), he never made it onto the show during his short major league career (1984-1990). To this day, despite the fact that he owns a World Series ring, he probably still laments never being a guest on Kiner’s Korner.)
SNY should realize that Ralph Kiner still has a fanbase. His brief guest appearances in the broadcast booth that bears his name are among the most entertaining moments of a Mets telecast. His recollection of players from a bygone generation is still excellent and his firsthand knowledge and discussion of events that took place on or off the field during his playing years makes for excellent television. If the fans love him to this day, wouldn’t it make sense to think they’d love to see those episodes of Kiner’s Korner aired during rain delays? We know the footage still exists because SNY shows clips of those episodes during Mr. Kiner’s appearances in the booth. If entire episodes are still intact, I know I’d keep the channel on during rain delays. What do you think, my fellow Mets maniacs? Would you watch classic episodes of Kiner’s Korner if they were aired during rain delays? If so, say it loudly so that SNY can hear you!