For years, Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen sat in Shea Stadium's Upper Deck seats like the one I'm sitting in to the left. He was just a Mets fan like you and me, voicing his pleasure (and occasional displeasure) at the goings-on about 130 feet beneath his seat on the Shea Stadium grass.
In 1989, Gary Cohen was fortunate to get one of those seat upgrades I've always wanted. However, instead of moving from the Upper Deck to the Field Level (and getting shown on DiamondVision), he was upgraded to the radio booth when he began broadcasting Mets games for WFAN, joining the voice of summer, Bob Murphy.
Had it not been for Gary's debut in the broadcast booth, 1989 would only have been remembered for the Father's Day trade that sent 1986 World Series heroes Lenny Dykstra, Roger McDowell and a hotfoot to be named later to the Philadelphia Phillies for Juan Samuel and his Soul Glo.
Gary Cohen continued to work in the radio booth until he was selected to become part of the SNY broadcast team when the network broke into the majors in 2006. He joined two other members of the 1986 World Champion Mets (Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez), neither of whom was traded for a hair care product like Lenny and Roger (although rumor has it Keith would have gladly taken that trade rather than playing for the Cleveland Indians in 1990).
Over the past twenty-one seasons (nearly half of the Mets' existence), Gary Cohen has been at the mike for some memorable games. From the joy of the Grand Slam Single to the agony of the 2007 and 2008 season finales, Gary has called it all for the Mets and their fans. His professionalism is second-to-none and his passion for the Mets shines through every time he utters his trademark "outta here" home run call.
Recently, Studious Metsimus wrote a piece encouraging our readers to vote for Gary Cohen to receive the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence. (See link here, o beloved SMFs) Unfortunately, our grand guru Gary did not receive the award. (Sufferin' succotash!) That honor went to Jon Miller.
That's right, SMFs. Jon Miller is the recipient of the 2010 Ford C. Frick Award. To those of you unaware of the fact, Jon Miller is NOT a friend of Studious Metsimus or my colleague. In fact, the first blog my colleague ever wrote on the Mets was a post on Mets Merized Online called "When Jon Miller And Joe Morgan Speak, Mets Fans DON'T Listen".
In it, he described the sentiment felt by a number of Mets fans about their distaste for Miller and his broadcasting team. I personally listen to the Mets game on WFAN whenever the team is playing on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball telecast.
Miller does have an extensive broadcasting résumé, beginning his career doing radio play-by-play for the Oakland Athletics in 1974, the year after the A's defeated the "Ya Gotta Believe" Mets in the World Series. He has also worked for the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco Giants. He is most known to a national baseball audience through his work for ESPN and their Sunday Night Baseball game of the week.
Yes, his body of work is impressive, yada, yada, yada. But we're Mets fans. We don't like it when a broadcaster who's supposedly good enough to win the prestigious Ford C. Frick Award is constantly annoying Mets fans in a way that only Doug Sisk and Armando Benitez could (and perhaps Mel Rojas, especially after facing Paul O'Neill).
All I have to say are two words: Carlos Bel-TRON.
Mets fans immediately cringe when they hear those words because they know I'm talking about the way Miller mangles Don Carlos' name in a feeble attempt to pronounce it properly.
Gary Cohen knows his Mets but he also knows baseball extensively. His analysis of game situations is unmatched and his colorful commentary keeps fans entertained long after Mark Reynolds hits another 450-foot home run into the second deck at Citi Field, a place where no Castillo has gone before. (or maybe he did...)
Why the Frick is Jon Miller going to Cooperstown in late July instead of Gary Cohen? Beats me. Maybe the 2009 season cursed anyone related to the Mets, including Gary Cohen with the voting for the Ford C. Frick Award.
I'd rather look on the bright side. The ceremony takes place on a weekend. That means Jon Miller will probably not be broadcasting the Sunday Night Baseball game for ESPN that weekend. I might be able to watch that game for a change.