Keith Hernandez (left), Gary Cohen (center) and Ron Darling (right) Edit by Liam McGuire, Comeback Media.

With Opening Day here, it’s about time we celebrate the New York Mets’ broadcast booth, one that not just Awful Announcing’s readers but many fans across the sport consider to be the best in baseball. While Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling might not be spring chickens anymore, with Hernandez even talking about his own mortality, opining that he doesn’t know how many years he has left, their commentary remains immortal and a must-listen at that.

Even for those who can’t stomach watching the Mets play — and we’re talking about most Mets fans here — they’re a delightful listen. Gary, Keith, and Ron’s magic lies in their ability to elevate the broadcast beyond just the game itself.

For die-hard Mets fans, even enduring an 8-0 loss to the Washington Nationals becomes more bearable with these guys at the helm. They might crack open some old trading cards during a lull, but their genuine passion and insightful analysis always shine through.

Gary, Keith, and Ron have a unique ability to make their broadcasts so much more than the game itself. When there’s a game to be had, they can draw in viewers with their unique ability to combine their acute baseball knowledge with humor. Cohen is almost like the Ian Eagle of baseball and probably the sport’s best play-by-play voice. Darling and Hernandez each offer a different perspective, with one giving an old-school pitching background and the other giving an old-school hitter background.

However, Hernandez offers comedic value with his peculiar vocabulary and technology troubles. Darling is almost portrayed as the voice of reason, but more often than not, he’s getting in on the fun as well.

Another element of the SNY broadcast booth is its unabashedness to speak its mind, even when it comes to the Mets. It’s never shied away from criticism or telling it like it is, for that matter. That was even before Steve Cohen’s ownership tenure when the Mets had owners who would probably behave like the Baltimore Orioles.

While the Wilpons still own SNY, that’s kind of beyond the point here. There’s no expectation that Gary, Keith, and Ron will look at anything Mets-related with orange and blue-colored glasses. Unlike some broadcasters, the booth holds the Mets accountable how they see fit, which has led to some run-ins with players. But fans are going to have their favorite broadcasters’ backs over Todd Frazier—just saying.

In 2023, Cohen wasn’t shy about voicing his frustration. He accurately called out the team’s struggles, even using terms like “horrific” to describe their performance.

The booth’s honesty is refreshing, a stark contrast to sugar-coated broadcasts.

Despite their willingness to criticize, make no mistake about it: The booth loves the Mets.

Cohen, in particular, who was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame this past season and long talks about the Mets being the team of his youth, bleeds orange and blue. His voice carries a distinct excitement when the Mets make a big play, whether it’s a home run or a defensive gem.

It’s especially heartwarming when the in-booth camera catches Cohen jumping in the booth, gesturing wildly with his signature pen in hand.

While his calls might not reach the same peak as they did in his younger days, there’s a unique charm to his enthusiastic double “outta here(s)” for some of the bigger home runs in franchise history—whether they be walk-off or game-tying. And while Mets fans haven’t heard that since 2019, there’s always a distinct possibility that it could happen.

Cohen’s infectious enthusiasm has undoubtedly always elevated the viewing experience. He’s so passionate about the team that he makes watching the games and the special plays that much more special. And that’s the difference when having a fan of the team—albeit one who can be objective—in the booth.

And that’s not just for Cohen. Despite the honest criticism from the broadcast booth, Gary, Keith and Ron’s passion for the Mets’ success is undeniable. They’re true fans, and few would be happier to see the team win.

While Cohen (65), Hernandez (70), and Darling (63) show no signs of slowing down, Father Time is undefeated. They’ve been the Mets’ TV voices since 2006, and two decades are on the horizon.

While this isn’t a eulogy for GKR, with another season approaching, let’s appreciate what SNY has to offer. Their approach is a refreshing contrast to others. As someone who grew up with MLB.TV blacking out games when the Mets played the Braves, Nationals, Orioles and Reds in the Charlotte metro market; I know just how good we have it.

So even if the Mets might not be the team to beat in the National League this season, their broadcast booth sure is. And while it may be hard to take solace in something that isn’t as tangible as wins and losses, we can take comfort in the fact that we’re being entertained by some of the best voices the game has to offer

Win or lose, Mets fans can kick up their feet, tune in to SNY, and know they’re in for an enjoyable and insightful broadcast experience, thanks to the irreplaceable Gary, Keith and Ron.

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.