#StickToBaseball? That’s not something which SNY’s New York Mets broadcast team of Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez are interested in on a nightly basis. Not when there’s so much time to fill during a game that lends itself to long pauses and wandering thoughts.
Some fans and viewers might not care for that from their home team announcing crew, preferring them to call the action on the field. But Mets fans not only enjoy their candid assessment of the team in action, but relish those times when their favorite broadcasting trio goes way off-topic.
Even the most ardent baseball watcher would admit that there are plenty of times during the regular season when a game just becomes boring. And for some announcing teams, that’s when things go bad. They try to force jokes and inane observations, or make fun of people in the stands. Maybe they tell stories that simply aren’t interesting, but it’s an opportunity to use something from their notes.
However, these are the instances during which Cohen, Darling and Hernandez thrive. As the Wall Street Journal‘s Andrew Beaton mentions in his piece on the SNY team, viewers are liable to get tips on preventing collars from curling up when it’s hot and muggy, discussions of yo-yos, explanations of late-1800s art and references to The Hobbit. And there are plenty more to sampe in Beaton’s article.
They’re the moments in a broadcast that Mets fans (and general baseball fans, tuning into the SNY broadcast) have come to enjoy. That comes from a familiarity and comfort among the trio, in addition to a collective intelligence and wit that can’t (nor shouldn’t) be restricted to just talking about baseball for three hours. Having interviewed Cohen, Darling and Hernandez individually for a feature on the team’s 10th anniversary together on SNY, I can certainly confirm that each of them make it easy to talk about more than baseball and get lost in a conversation that was supposed to be five or 10 minutes, but turns into more than 20.
How many broadcast teams can you say you truly enjoy listening to, especially if they’re not covering your favorite baseball club? How many sound like unabashed homers for the team whose games they’re calling, leaving any hint of objectivity outside the booth? No, not everyone is a master storyteller like Vin Scully. But sharing a favorite anecdote and making it interesting for the viewer is something that the SNY Mets trio has become extremely adept with. It’s like finding the most interesting person to talk to at a party, and it happens almost every night.