Friday, July 27, 2012

Mets Announcers at the Olympics

This is an udpated post from one I did in 2010.

With this Summer Olympics starting this weekend, I decided to take a look anad see which past and present Mets broadcasters have worked at the Olympics. I found a few more than I had expected. It wouldn't surprise me if there was an omission from this list. If you don't want to do all that reading, head down to the bottom of the post for a few sound bytes from a current Mets announcer calling an Olympic sport.

  • Jiggs McDonald - Best known as a Hall of Fame Hockey broadcaster and voice of the Islanders on TV from 1980-81 through 1994-95, he called Mets games on SportsChannel in 1982.
    He called Ice Hockey at the 1998 Calgary Winter Games for ABC and at the 1992 Albertville and 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games for TNT, and also Basketball for CTV in Canada at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Games.
  • Don Criqui - Known for his work calling NFL and College Football and College Basketball for NBC and CBS TV and Radio, he was listed as a fill in announcer for the Mets in 1991 (which I don't really remember, but have seen his name listed in some announcer lineups and it was noted in the NY Times).
    He called play-by-play for Swimming at the 1988 Seoul Summer Games and Water Polo at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games for NBC and hosted NBC's Olympics Triplecast PPV broadcast at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Games.
  • Kenny Albert - Best known for his work with the NFL and MLB on FOX and Rangers on the radio, he was a fill-in announcer for Bob Murphy during the summer of 2001 on WFAN.
    He's called play-by-play for NBC's Olympic Ice Hockey coverage at the 2002 Salt Lake City, 2006 Turino, and he will reprise that roll at 2010 Vancouver Winter Games for NBC.
  • Ed Coleman, Mets fill-in announcer and host of Mets Extra on WFAN.
    He "did some radio work" at the 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona Summer Games for NBC Radio and the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games for CBS Radio.
  • Howard Cosell - best known from his work on Monday Night Football and Boxing on ABC, he was actually the first pre-game host for the Mets Radio broadcasts in 1962 on WABC Radio.
    He was part of ABC TV's Olympic coverage in the 1972 Munich Summer Games and called Boxing at the 1976 Montreal and 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games
  • Tim McCarver - Known at one point as the best analyst in Baseball, he's been a lead analyst for ABC, CBS, ABC again, and FOX and was a Mets broadcaster on WOR/WWOR and SportsChannel from 1983 to 1998.
    As part of ABC Sports in the late '80s, he called Freestyle Skiing and served as a reporter at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, and as part of CBS Sports the early '90s, he was a co-host of CBS's primetime coverage of the 1992 Albertville Winter Games
  • Gary Thorne - Best known as ESPN and ABC's lead NHL announcer, he was a Mets Radio announcer from 1985 to 1988 on WHN/WFAN and a Mets TV announcer on WWOR, WPIX, and FSN New York from 1994 to 2002.
    He called Speed Skating for CBS at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games, Canoeing and Rowing for NBC at the 2000 Sydney Summer Games, and Ice Hockey for NBC at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.
  • Ted Robinson - Best known as the lead Tennis commentator for NBC and the Tennis Channel, he was a TV and Radio announcer for the Mets from 2002 to 2005 on WPIX, FSN New York, and WFAN.
    He holds the record for past/present Mets broadcasters making his 7th Olympic broadcast appearance, having called Short Track Speed Skating, Freestyle Skiing, and Giant Slalom Snowboarding for CBS at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games, and for NBC, he called Baseball at the 2000 Sydney Summer Games, Short Track Speed Skating at the 2002 Salt Lake City, 2006 Turino, and 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, Diving and Canoeing at the 2004 Athens Summer Games, Diving again at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Games.
  • Gary Cohen - Best known for his work calling New York Mets baseball, he's been the TV voice of the Mets on SNY and WPIX since 2006 and was a voice of the Mets on WFAN from 1989 to 2005.
    He called Ice Hockey for CBS Radio at the 1992 Albertville, 1994 Lillehammer, and 1998 Nagano Winter Games, including all 3 Gold Medal contests

Here are some sound bytes of Gary Cohen at the 1998 Winter Olympics.
A disclaimer. These broadcasts are probably the copyright of the IOC, USOC, CBS Radio and/or WFAN. I recorded them using an old fashioned walkman plugged into my computer in 1998, live, as the events happened.

Gary Cohen at the 1998 Olympics Men's Ice Hockey tournament (CBS Radio):
Czech Republic wins the Men's Ice Hockey Gold Medal

Czech goalie Dominik Hasek with 3 great saves against the U.S.

Mike Modano scores for Team USA

Mikhail Shtalenkov with a save for Russia

Petr Svoboda with a goal for the Czech Republic

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hall of Fame Mets Broadcaster

I feel somewhat obligated to write about former Mets broadcaster Tim McCarver being inducted into the broadcaster's wing in the Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend. So congratulations to Tim McCarver.

As a broadcaster, currently, I think he's past his prime, and has been for at least a few years. But it's hard for me to judge because I can't remember the last time I listened to an MLB on FOX broadcast that wasn't on mute, and that's the only place to hear him these days. But as a younger broadcaster (being earlier in his career, which started over 30 years ago), he was a good listen.

His broadcasting career started in Philadelphia where his playing career ended in 1980 (I'm trying to figure this one out because Wikipedia says he both played and broadcasted in 1980, including playing in early October). He moved to the Mets where he was a fixture on Mets broadcasts for 16 seasons on Channel 9 and SportsChannel. He moved to the Yankees for 3 seasons and the Giants for a final season in local broadcasting in 2002. He's been a network broadcaster for almost his entire broadcasting career, staring with NBC's b-games in 1980, then re-joining the network TV landscape in 1984 as part of ABC's b-games before moving to their top crew for the 1985 World Series (working with Jim Palmer and Al Michaels, and with Keith Jackson in the 1986 NLCS), continuing until 1989. He became the top baseball analyst at CBS with the new TV contract in 1990, moved back to ABC with the 2 year Baseball Network contract in 1994, and then became FOX's top baseball analyst with the next new contract in 1996. He's been paired with Joe Buck on FOX's top team ever since. With all that, he's been part of post-season TV coverage since 1984.

He also appeared on ABC's coverage of the 1988 Winter Olympics (Calgary) and was even a prime-time co-host for CBS's 1992 Winter Olympics (Albertville) coverage.

But back to his days with the Mets (the connection to this blog). He worked with Fran Healy, Steve Zabriskie, Rusty Staub, Gary Thorne, Bob Carpenter, and of course, Ralph Kiner. The days of Kiner and McCarver on Channel 9 were a fun time for Mets broadcasts, and I actually thought the trio of Gary Thorne, Ralph Kiner, and Tim McCarver (from 1994 through 1998) was the best TV team the Mets had (at least until 2006). We have to remember the younger, more vibrant Tim McCarver, along with a younger (and still calling play-by-play) Ralph Kiner and a more tolerable Gary Thorne. They were a good trio, even though their broadcasts were becoming more and more limited by the gradual shift from Channel 9 to SportsChannel on cable.

McCarver was a good broadcaster back in his day, and this weekend's induction is certainly well deserved, and maybe a few years overdue. I also don't think this will be the last time we celebrate a Mets broadcaster being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Stick a fork in them they're done

Ya, I said it. The Mets are done. 2 weeks before the non-waiver trade deadline. The team is toast. They don't have the depth to overcome the injury to Dillon Gee. The bullpen is falling apart (heck, I forgot that the closer is out and has been for what seems like forever now). They're a bit weak in the outfield with Bay (welcome back to Jason Bay, btw) and Duda. Hairston really isn't the answer.

I think the team has run out of gas. They've done this for a couple years now, giving us the illusion that this year will be different until sometime in July and then they come back down to earth. But with the 2nd Wild Card now, it changes the dynamic of the trade deadline and playing "hard" in September, and the Mets are part of that equation, but the Mets really really don't look like a playoff team, and I don't think they're built like on.

And the attitude around the Mets really is different with Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson. There could be a trade in the next 2 weeks to change things, but I think they'd have to give up the future in order to play for now, and I don't think that's wise (and I'll be anything that Alderson agrees with that).

Scrap it. Valdespin puts the Mets ahead with a 3-run PH HR in the top of the 9th.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

All-Farce Game

I didn't watch the All-Star Game last night. Nor did I watch the Home Run Derby the night before. I stopped caring a long time ago.

But 2 thoughts.

  1. I heard that MLB Owners Association president Bud Selig might overreact to the Kansas City fans' booing of A.L. HR Derby captain Robinson Cano for leaving out of Kansas City's top slugger from the HR Derby team (apparently, these events took place in Kansas City) by making a rule that the home team has to have an entrant in the HR Derby. Could you imagine if such a rule had been in place in a fantasy world in which the Mets hosted the HR Derby in 2009, in a season when, in reality, Gary Sheffield led the team with 10 Home Runs (move over Home Run Baker)?
  2. One extra thought...when the hell did the HR Derby have player-captains choosing the squads? That sounds almost as ridiculous as having fans choose the starters for the actual All-Star Game.
  3. The other thought, as promised, is actually the tweet of the night, that I had in reply to something that MLB said after the game last night...

    I heard the NL won last night. I think I heard that it's now 3 in a row. But please, for the love of God, don't make this game actually mean something in the grand scheme of the season.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's startin' to come together

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