For those of you who have not already heard, Mets radio announcer Tom McCarthy has defected back to Philadelphia where he is originally from to do play-by-play for the Phillies.
The man you see pictured above is not Tom McCarthy, but Ted Robinson, the guy McCarthy replaced on WFAN. For those that remember Ted Robinson’s short time as play-by-play voice for the Mets, you will remember that McCarthy put you to sleep with his dull voice. This wasn’t surprising since up to that point McCarthy was most famous for doing tennis play-by-play, and it sure sounded like it.
I remember listening to games on the radio and being openly aggravated when it wasn’t Gary Cohen’s innings to call, because that meant it was Robinsons.
When the Mets hired Robinson they made a big deal about him growing up in the New York area. They dumped him shortly after the season was over, and brought in McCarthy, who they also played up as being from the New York area. McCarthy always came across as the Mets trying too hard to put in a Gary Cohen clone in the booth, but after Ted Robinson, he was just fine.
However, whenever you bring in a new play-by-play guy, there is always a “WTF?!?!” feeling for the fan. Who is this guy, and what gives him the right to comment on my team? Now with McCarthy gone, the Mets will be looking for a radio play-by-play guy for the third time in five years.
For many, listening to games on radio is still as pure a way to enjoy a baseball game as there ever was, and this is of course an important decision.
The most obvious choice to replace McCarthy is Ed Coleman. Coleman currently does yeoman’s work on the Mets pre-game and handles on-field and locker room post-game interviews. Coleman also fills in when Howie Rose or whoever is the other announcer goes on vacation. Coleman is solid, has a good voice, and knows the Mets well. Plus, he has already been passed over once for the Mets play-by-play job. Only thing that scares me about moving Coleman to play-by-play full time is that it opens up the Mets pre-game spot, which is where most of the heavy lifting is done, to be filled by someone of lesser quality.
The Gary Cohen Paradox means that the strongest move would be to return Gary Cohen to radio(where he is stronger), and pair him with Coleman, while returning Howie Rose to television(where he is stronger), and pair him with Keith Hernandez/Ron Darling(but I’m more of a Keith guy).
We’re in the minority on this, and it’s probably not going to happen. So who gets the Mets play-by-play job next season? First off, we listened to Mike & the Mad Dog yesterday offer up former intern Chris Carlin for the job. Yuck! Carlin has a horrible, horrible, play-by-play voice and does not know anything about baseball. Likewise Evan Roberts, or Bob Wischusien(former WFAN host, Jets radio play-by-play) should also NOT be considered for the same reasons.
The name that comes to mind to replace McCarthy play-by-play wise is Ian Eagle. Eagle is a former host on WFAN, and currently does New Jersey Nets T.V. play-by-play, as well as the NFL on CBS.
Eagle is everything the previous names aren’t. Solid play-by-play, good voice with tremendous inflection, and not over-the-top or show-boaty, as so many announcers tend to be nowadays.
If the Mets choose to give the spot to Coleman, they then could bring in Don LaGrecca of 1050 ESPN radio(formerly of WFAN, and a Met fan) who currently co-hosts the Michael Kay show, and also does the New York Jets pre-game show on radio, to do the Mets pre-game.
Most likely, the Mets will either bring in someone from out-of-state who knows nothing about the current Mets, but grew up in the area in 1974. Or they will play it safe and promote one the SNY boys(Cotter, Burkhardt) to do Mets pre-game and move Coleman into the booth. Or finally, they may actually bring in someone of the Chris Carlin, Bob Wischusien ilk, and will make being a Met fan that much harder for everyone.
And just so you know, we graduated with a broadcast journalism degree from one of the top communications schools in the country, so we know a little about this stuff. At least enough to know we never wanted to do it for a living.
(Actually, the strongest move would be to hire T.A.N. as game analyst, but the Mets will never be that enlightened).