Some weeks ago I posted an article about the best announcers in Mets history. In boastful language, I asserted that the broadcast we listen to/watch every day is second to none. After listening to today's version, with much regret, I admit I was dead wrong.
To put the discussion in context, the change in the Mets' radio home is nothing new. They have been on WHN (when it was a Country music station); WMCA 570, who biggest claim to fame was being the first station on the AM dial; then back to WHN, then WFAN (first on 1050 and then on 660). Through it all, the Mets' radio broadcast was professional and high quality. Until today.
Howie Rose, who splits his time between the Mets and the Islanders, is obviously still doing hockey. That left the microphone open for, of all people, former GM Steve Phillips to accompany Josh Lewin in the radio booth. I was on the road driving for a little more than an hour and I caught the middle innings of today's game. Ordinarily, this would be a welcome treat - baseball on a Sunday afternoon in the dead of a very long winter. Unfortunately, what WOR 710 put on the air today was the worst broadcast of a Mets Game I have ever heard by our announcers.
First, Steve Phillips??? They had so many other choices. Ed Coleman should have been brought over, but they left him at WFAN. There were rumors all winter about Lewin being odd man out and that Cliff Floyd was being considered, as was former outfielder Darryl Hamilton. For whatever reasons, WOR decided to maintain continuity and stick with Rose and Lewin. Recognizing that there will be 10-15 days throughout the season that one or the other won't be in the booth, Spring Training is the perfect time to audition a new voice to see if it clicks. If today was any measure, the Phillips Experiment was an unmitigated disaster.
Phillips spent 45 minutes praising the Cardinals' farm system. He didn't mention the Mets' minor league system. He made the same point about every pitcher brought into the game: "command of the strike zone is important for this young man." No kidding? It sounded like he was making an audition tape for a different franchise. It was awful.
Next time, I think they should pull someone from the crowd - whether the individual wants to or not - and have Lewin teamed up with a total stranger. At least they can spend a few innings getting to know each other, rather than trading inane cliches and making the same repetitive point for four innings. Better yet, open the wallet and pay Howie Rose to do only Mets games.