From the very start, listening to a New York Mets game was a pleasure.
Listening to New York Mets broadcasts over the years and growing up in the 1950s and ’60s provides me with a different perspective than many others who may also contribute to this and other websites.
As a New York Yankees fan, I grew up listening to Mel Allen, Red Barber, and Phil Rizzuto on WPIX (now PIX11). Then came Jerry Coleman, Frank Messer, and Bill White. What a great history of TV and radio play-by-play announcers.
I remember that I had to turn the TV on when the broadcast began so I could sing along with the baseball and Ballantine opening credits just before Mel Allen said “Hello there everybody”. It was a great time to be a Yankees fan especially because I was just a little bit too young to remember either the Dodgers or Giants playing in New York. They moved to the left coast when I was just six years old. The Yankees were the only game in town.
And then. . .
When I turned 11 years old, my beer preferences changed. It was no longer baseball and Ballantine because as of now “My beer is Rheingold the dry beer” as the New York Mets were born. We were introduced to Ralph Kiner, Lindsey Nelson, and Bob Murphy. And Kiner’s Korner. And WOR-TV Channel 9. And Casey Stengel. And, of course, The Polo Grounds. Later on, we had Shea Stadium. And Gil Hodges. And Tom Seaver. And 1969.
This was long before ESPN or the Internet. There were few choices if we wanted to know the scores of the other games. We could wait until the bottom of the 7th inning when our home team announcers would read the “out-of-town scoreboard”, wait until the 11 o’clock news to see people like Bill Mazer, Sal Marchiano, Russ Salzburg, Jerry Girard, and later Warner Wolf among others or pick up the morning newspaper such as the New York Times, Herald Tribune or Daily News for our sports scores fix. The New York Post was an afternoon paper in those days.
I currently live in Florida which gives me a unique perspective on local TV announcing throughout the United States. My current favorite, other than the New York Mets would be listening to the San Francisco Giants. I can barely listen to the Miami Marlins announcers but have no choice as to when the Mets play the Marlins they are my only local option.
I am happy to be able to tell all of you who still live in the local New York City area how lucky you are to be able to hear Keith, Ron, Gary, Howie, Wayne, and Steve in the broadcast booth and on the field for each and every Mets game. Consider it a gift to all of you from the baseball Gods who I believe will eventually put some of them in the broadcasting wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
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I look forward to sharing some memories with you over the offseason. I hope you can appreciate and enjoy these memories.