Monday, April 17, 2006

New Painter Of Word Pictures for Mets Radiocasts Makes An Impression

Tom McCarthy, Battle-Tested in Philly, A Cool Customer In Flushing Hot Seat
New Yorkers have been fortunate to have not had to endure baseball broadcasters in recent generations who are relentless homers that look at the diamond with rose-colored glasses even when the Mets and Yankees are stinking up the joint.
Of course, the obvious exception was Phil Rizzuto, but the Scooter was excused because, well, he was the Scooter, you huckleberry.
The latest addition to the Mets' radio booth keeps the high quality of those broadcasts firmly intact. Tom McCarthy, ex of Phillies broadcasts, replaced Gary Cohen, who has made a seamless transition to SportsNet NY for the Mets TV games.
Cohen and Howie Rose had created a warm rapport over the last two years on radio, melding an intimate knowledge of the team with a smooth, authoritative call of the game and an unforced sense of humor. These were two guys who had grown up watching the Mets, and sometimes sounded like they were pinching themselves for having the jobs they did, but never let their professionalism flag or call attention to themselves more than what was on the field (John Sterling, call your office).
McCarthy and Rose are still navigating their chemistry, but not by much. There's still a sense of familiarity to be acquired, but McCarthy (also a boyhood Mets fan growing up in Brick, N.J.) pretty much already has the fit of a well-worn glove. A silky voice reveals a broadcaster who does his homework, and look out for just the right detail and when to feed off an observation made by Rose.
Besides calling a game, Rose and Cohen were two guys who just liked to talk about baseball. The pair possessed an easy banter, a stark contrast to the many years when Cohen shared the booth with the beloved Bob Murphy.
Rose loses none of that with McCarthy, who may find himself with his biggest audience yet, now that he's covering a team that, as of this early writing, just happens to have the best record in baseball.

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