NEW YORK -- The game itself was a relatively stressful affair, a 2-1 score heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. Jake Marisnick had just struck out to strand two men on base in the top of the inning, bringing on beleaguered closer Edwin Díaz to try for a
NEW YORK -- The game itself was a relatively stressful affair, a 2-1 score heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. Jake Marisnick had just struck out to strand two men on base in the top of the inning, bringing on beleaguered closer Edwin Díaz to try for a save against one of the best teams in baseball. And just at that height of tension --
“Hello, Haj,” Keith Hernandez said, welcoming his 17-year-old Bengal cat onto his lap. Hadji instead chose a perch on Hernandez’s shoulder, remaining there for the final three outs.
Such scenes have become reality for longtime Mets broadcasters Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Hernandez, who would have recently entered their 15th consecutive season in the booth, if not for the fact that there is currently no baseball. Cohen, the play-by-play man, is sheltering at 安徽快3开奖直播 with his wife in Connecticut. Darling is in Port St. Lucie, Fla., while Hernandez is also holed up in his offseason Florida 安徽快3开奖直播.
The three are as synonymous with the Mets as anyone in the organization, having earned a perennial reputation as one of the finest broadcast teams in baseball. And so with no games to call this month, they are lending their voices to one of SNY’s quarantine projects: a simulated season using "MLB The Show."
After the trio provided opening commentary for the season's initial game, on what would have been Opening Day, Cohen suggested trying live play-by-play. Once the technical hurdles were cleared, for a game at what Cohen took to calling “simulated Minute Maid Park” in Houston.
“It felt normal because we had a normal Gary, Keith and Ron conversation in the course of the game, with little asides that related to the fact that we were actually watching a video game,” Cohen said in a phone interview. “But for large chunks of the game, it just felt like calling a normal game.”
To start, all three broadcasters fired up their computers to watch the action on Zoom while communicating via the same program. The broadcast required adjustments for Cohen, Hernandez and Darling, who have worked together long enough to develop a certain cadence -- when to chime in, when to stay quiet and when to defer to others in the booth. But they found those patterns mostly unaltered in a digital world; a quick glance from one to the other said as much on Zoom as it does in the booth.
“I’m not all that versed in video games, and neither are Keith and Ron,” Cohen said. “But the verisimilitude is good enough that there are times during the game when it sucks you in, and you almost felt like you’re watching a real game. And so it felt very normal. And then every once in a while, because the pacing is different or because there are little quirks about the players or the way their bodies move or something that doesn’t quite ring true, then it kind of takes you back to the spot where, ‘Oh, we’re watching a video game.’”
Case in point: when virtual Brandon Nimmo drew a walk to lead off the game, Cohen made note of the fact that Nimmo jogged, rather than sprinted, to first base. Moments later, virtual Jeff McNeil took a first-pitch fastball for a strike -- something seemingly outlandish to anyone who has watched a Mets game the last two years.
There were also less subtle clues that not all was ordinary: Hadji finding the microphone, or Darling’s 3-year-old son making his presence known in the background.
“Keith had the audacity to say, ‘No family in the booth,’” Darling said, laughing. “When he goes to San Francisco, his brother, he’ll always visit the booth.”
In other words, the whole project took some getting used to. Hernandez said he felt “like an alien that had studied Earth, and studied broadcasting baseball games, and came down and tried to do it.” And yet, he enjoyed the experience for its ability to inject some normalcy into his life.
They all did. Had this been a typical spring, Cohen would have been calling college basketball games deep into March in addition to his Mets duties. Instead, he is at 安徽快3开奖直播, left to wonder if nationally-ranked Seton Hall might have made a run. Darling never flew 安徽快3开奖直播 from Florida, where he’s been spending most of his time with family. He recently read “The Splendid and the Vile,” a non-fiction narrative about Winston Churchill. Hernandez is piecing together a 2,000-piece puzzle of Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany.
On occasion, the three virtually unite for a “Beyond the Booth” Facebook segment with sideline reporter Steve Gelbs (the next one is scheduled for Thursday at 4 p.m. ET), which Mets fans seem to appreciate. Tuesday’s “MLB The Show” broadcast was SNY’s most-watched live stream ever on Twitter or YouTube, generating 300,000 video views.
“We’re giving entertainment to the fans,” Hernandez said. “Evidently, there are a lot of people out there, and I’m sure it’s not just Mets fans, that are missing the heck out of baseball.”