New York Mets fans have been blessed with a broadcast booth starring Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling for nearly two decades. But the beloved trio almost didn’t make it through year one.
During the Mets Sunday afternoon series finale against the Padres in San Diego, Cohen referenced Chicago Cubs manager David Ross getting caught by a hot mic while yelling at the home plate umpire earlier in the day.
“Nothing we fear more in the booth, you, I, and Keith. Hot mic,” Darling responded. “This is our office. This is where we work. We feel like we have some privacy here….I think our booth is more of a what you see here should stay here.”
Sounds like wishful thinking. To further prove there is little privacy for a sportscaster in the booth, we’re now sharing and writing about Darling’s hot mic fear.
After offering the sound advice of ‘always assume every microphone is hot,’ Cohen noted calling a game with Darling and Hernandez often feels like a private conversation, it just so happens that a lot of people are paying attention.
“And I do feel that way, and that’s gonna get one of us in trouble,” Darling predicted. “And I’m including No. 17.”
“We’ve said that for 18 years,” Cohen added with a chuckle. “But somehow, we’re all still here. I mean, this city, sometimes has been a stumbling block.”
San Diego being a stumbling block is in reference to an embarrassing gaffe by Hernandez more than 17 years ago. During a trip to San Diego in April of the trio’s inaugural season on SNY, Hernandez saw a woman trainer in the Padres dugout and said, “I won’t say that women belong in the kitchen, but they don’t belong in the dugout.” Hernandez later called the trainer to apologize.
“To be a fly on the wall in the meetings that happened on 6th Avenue 18 years ago must have been something,” Darling said.
“It was very early in our tenure,” Cohen added with a laugh. “And it was almost the end right there.”
“It was,” Darling concurred. “It almost lasted eight days!”
Cohen, however, scoffed at the notion that Hernandez didn’t join the SNY booth on their latest trip to San Diego because of previous offenses. Hernandez has made several trips to San Diego with the Mets since the 2006 gaffe.
“He’s completely evolved since then,” Darling said of his co-analyst, a statement that garnered some surprise from Cohen.
“Really?” Cohen asked. “He just has a little bit more of a filter is what you’re trying to say.”
Did Hernandez mind Cohen and Darling rehashing arguably the biggest blunder of his media career on a day where he wasn’t in the booth? Hernandez probably has no idea they were talking about his 2006 gaffe, because earlier this year, the Mets Hall of Famer told Tucker Carlson he doesn’t really watch baseball when he doesn’t have to.
After choosing to stand by Hernandez less than one month into his SNY tenure, the trio has gone on to become arguably the most popular TV booth in Major League Baseball during their more than 17 years together. And their reign should continue, with SNY signing Hernandez to a three-year contract extension prior to the start of this season.