By Mike Steffanos
I mentioned last night that I would be psyched to be able to know Keith Hernandez is doing color for 150 Mets game. Actually, the number will be more like 110 -- still quite a difference from the 32 he did last year.
Daily News: We like Keith
Bob Raissman offers another profile on old/new Mets TV analyst Keith Hernandez, who had become the forgotten man when Fox Sports New York/MSG Network broadcasted Mets games. Hurt in the past by his blunt honesty, Keith has been assured by his new bosses, Jon Litner and Curt Gowdy Jr., that honesty is something that they are looking for from their analyst:
I don't think it's going to be a problem. All I've heard from Curt and Jon is (they want) honest analysis.
...I think everyone knows I'm honest in the booth. I've learned over the years you can be honest and not beat someone over the head. ...But you have to be honest. If we throw some bull---- out there it's not going to fly.
Of course, in a situation where Fred and Jeff Wilpon are the primary owners of the Mets new TV network, there is a chance that there might be some pressure on Hernandez' bosses for him to tone his honesty down. Hernandez isn't going to lose sleep over it:
Time will tell. We'll cross that bridge when the time comes.
I'd be surprised if the Wilpon's pressure SNY's bosses much on Hernandez. They usually pay attention to what Met fans are saying, and I believe they understand that Fran Healy type baseball analysis isn't going to help their new network fly. I think Hernandez is smarter than he was in 2002 when he accused the Mets of quitting on Valentine -- which was obvious to all of us watching. I think he would say the same thing if it happened today, but find a more diplomatic way of saying it.
The audience in the New York area is more sophisticated than they are in a lot of places, and know when they are being served up pabulum by a sports announcer. Keith Hernadez and Ron Darling seem likely to provide Mets fans with more substantial nourishment.
One more thing if I might -- some people have interpreted some of the things I said about Tom Seaver as being anti-Seaver. I didn't mean to come across that way. Seaver was my first Mets hero as a kid, and he is an intelligent and articulate man. What became obvious was that leaving his home, family and vineyard in California became somewhat burdensome to Seaver. He wasn't putting much effort into analyzing games, or even keeping up with what was going on during the week. In fairness, it is virtually impossible to cover a team part-time, which is why SNY insisted on full-time announcers. The network is still seeking a role for Seaver, and I hope they find one that works for all concerned.
TCPalm.com: Why David Wright still attends mini-camp
Frank O. Schaeffer quotes David Wright on why he still attends mini-camp every year, which is geared more towards young minor-league ballplayers, and attended by few major-leaguers:
It's just part of my routine. Every year since I joined the organization I've come to mini-camp. I'd like to think I won't change just because I had a little success in my first year and a half in the big leagues. I still enjoy coming down here. To me, coming to mini-camp gets you focused on spring training.
One of my first seasons in the minor leagues, I remember coming to mini-camp and seeing Mike Piazza out on one of the back fields at like 8:30 in the morning, when he wasn't due to be here until 10 or something. That just showed me, wow, there's Mike Piazza, the greatest hitting catcher ever to play the game and he's out there early working to make himself better.
When I'm home, in Virginia or New York, I can get plenty of swings and plenty of time in the gym, but it doesn't feel like baseball season. But when you come to Florida it gets you focused. You're around the guys again in the clubhouse. It's the way your spikes feel when they dig into the ground. It feels like baseball season.
I remember reading about Wright the year before he got called up to the Mets. They were concerned because his road splits were so much better than his home splits. What they discovered was that his workouts were so strenuous when the team was home that he was tiring himself out too much before the game. On the road, he wasn't able to work out in the same way, so he was fresher for those games.
They got him to tone down the workouts, but the point is simple. You're born with ability, but your work ethic often determines what you do with that ability. David Wright really seems to combine star caliber ability with a blue collar mentality. Not only is he good, but he's easy to root for.
Mets.com: Ron Darling Chat
Just a reminder that there will be a chat with Ron Darling on Mets.com at 2PM. If you miss the chat, look for a transcript to be posted later on.