A key element missing from the Mets radio broadcasts

Games on SNY have more than images to differentiate from the WCBS broadcasts.
New York Mets v Miami Marlins
New York Mets v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The retirement of Howie Rose from New York Mets radio broadcasts isn’t imminent. However, he will be taking a step back further this year. This means fewer opportunities to hear Rose to tell us to “put it in the books” after a Mets victory. 

Less travel for the sportscasting icon, as former partner Wayne Randazzo pointed out, hopefully just means Howie can stay in his spot more regularly.

We’d still get 81 games from him if all he did was call the home games. This did have me thinking about the future of the Mets on the radio and the one element missing from it.

The Mets radio broadcasts are missing the voice of a former player

A natural transition regularly occurs with many athletes once they are done playing. Heading from the field to the booth provides them with employment and an opportunity to be around the game longer. This has allowed exposure for Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez to a younger audience not old enough to have ever watched them play. They bring a different perspective to the game that someone who never played it at the highest level can.

That’s not to say professional athletes run circles around the broadcasters who haven’t picked up a bat outside of a souvenir shop. Just as Chris Farley needed David Spade, Darling and Hernandez benefit from having Gary Cohen—although he plays a good goofball character at times.

The radio broadcasts have a different feel. The shenanigans are there at times. The insight, however, comes strictly from one vantage point.

There are probably a couple of reasons why the broadcast hasn’t gone in this direction. We live in a different time where athletes get paid enough during their playing days where a second-career after is more of a hobby than to put food on the table. Players on the level of Darling and Hernandez rarely step into the radio booth these days. Less accomplished ones might, but with the growth of podcast platforms, staying at home and having more freedom online is much more satisfying than all of the work involved as a baseball broadcaster.

Daniel Murphy showed up this spring on SNY for more than a quick chat. A candidate for a future broadcasting gig somewhere, the radio isn’t the place he’d be likely to land; although with Rose taking more games off this year, a series or two paired with Keith Raad would be interesting to hear.

Mets games never feel the same on any platform when any of the backups are in the lineup. Less Howie Rose for the upcoming season is a chance to experiment with a missing element. And if we end up with the Mets version of Jason Witten on the broadcast, the plug can be quickly pulled.