With the Mets’ first spring training game a month and a day away, WOR, the team’s new radio home, has yet to decide who will broadcast Mets games this season. The last two seasons have featured the iconic Howie Rose, along with relative newcomer Josh Lewin. The latter took over for Wayne Hagin after the 2011 season. While it’s widely believed that Rose will return, Lewin’s fate is up in the air. Reports have circulated that the Mets may want to have a former player in the booth with Rose. Darryl Hamilton and Cliff Floyd are considered to be candidates to join Rose in 2014.
I like the combination of Rose and Lewin. They have a folksy camaraderie that comes across very well on the air. They embody what baseball should be on the radio, a ballgame surrounded by conversation. On radio, baseball isn’t meant to be nonstop action. The game needs a backdrop, like soft music that goes along with the Sunday morning crossword puzzle. The reaction of the fan base to a possible new radio team has been strong, and decidedly negative. This is understandable, and I’d prefer to have Rose/Lewin back as well.
However, WOR may be looking to put their own stamp on Mets baseball by adding a former player to the booth. Twenty years ago, this would not have been innovative. In 2014, it would be. Many teams have gone to only professional broadcasters in the radio booth, perhaps as a cost-saving measure. Adding Floyd or Hamilton would give the Mets broadcasts an entirely new, and somewhat unique feel. I don’t think that would be a bad thing. It would just be different.
The shape of Mets baseball on radio had already changed with the announcement that Ed Coleman will remain with WFAN. We don’t know who will do the pre and post-game shows. We may have to adjust to a new broadcast team. If we do, I say give it a chance. It may not be Howie and Josh, but it may be enjoyable in its own way. And there’s one thing that will definitely make any broadcast team enjoyable, winning baseball. The Mets are working on that too.