Following yesterday’s report by the Post’s Andrew Marchand that Mets radio voice Gary Cohen would become the play by play announcer for the new SportsNet New York channel, the Times Richard Sandomir has a few more details, along with a priceless quote from Howie Rose.
“He’s always been such a radio chauvinist,” Howie Rose, Cohen’s partner on WFAN Radio the past two seasons, said yesterday after Cohen’s hiring was announced. “And he’s frankly perfected the art. I understand the love of the medium, but you have to search hard for people who have a deeper intrinsic love for calling baseball on radio.
SNY officials say they know what they have in Cohen: a superlative announcer with a penchant for bracing candor. Cohen said that the Mets never asked him to curb his sometimes tart criticism in 17 years, and if that’s not the style that the Mets-owned channel wanted, why hire him?
“We want honesty,” Gowdy said. “We don’t want negativity. We want honesty. He knows that. We’re getting the same guy who was on radio. I don’t know many people who didn’t applaud his honesty.”
Cohen will call 150 games – 125 on SNY and 25 on a broadcast station that has not been decided on – but not being around for the other 12, which will be on ESPN and Fox, will no doubt bother him. He said he felt that he missed a little of last season’s rhythm by calling only 155 of the 162 broadcasts. Kay called 135 Yankees games on YES and Channel 9 last season.
“Frankly, I never understood the value of doing less than all the games,” Cohen said. “Baseball is a great soap opera.” About the downside of missing those seven games, he said, “Everything today connects with what happened yesterday, two weeks ago and 15 years ago; that’s the beauty of doing play-by-play on radio is that you’re there every day. It’s the consistency.”
Rose said that Cohen, a fellow Queens native, believed that the “only problem with a 162-game season is it’s not a 175-game season” and the “only problem with a five-hour game is that it didn’t last six hours.”