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Joe's MLB on TV Report - Mets

Broadcast: New York Mets on Sportsnet New York (SNY), Mets at Atlanta, 5/20/08 (game 1 of day-night DH); Play-by-play: Gary Cohen; Analysts: Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez; Reporter: Kevin Burkhardt

It figures that the first game I sit down and watch, pen in hand, features the despised "three in a booth"setup. Fortunately, there wasn’t too much overlap. For the most part Darling analyzed the pitchers’ performance while Hernandez stuck with the hitters. And reporter Burkhardt was only called upon once, to talk about his chat with Billy Wagner about Wagner’s relationship with ex-Met Tom Glavine, that day’s starter for Atlanta. Still, if I had my way they’d go with Darling. Hernandez is the weaker link in the booth.

When Cohen brought up the subject of Mets manager Willie Randolph’s published comments about racism possibly playing a part in media coverage of his managing, Darling was more critical about the latest Mets off-field distraction, while Hernandez mostly repeated that he was “surprised” at the comments. When Glavine was surprisingly removed for a pinch-hitter after six innings despite retiring the last 17 Met batters he faced and having thrown just 82 pitches, Hernandez said, “I am not gonna second guess Bobby Cox…” Well, why not?

I also got the impression that Hernandez would have been more of a cheerleader had the game been more exciting and in the Mets’ favor. Cohen, whose play-by-play calls were solid, correctly pointed out a first-inning baserunning mistake by Atlanta’s Yunel Escobar while Hernandez was overly impressed by what was really a simple play by Jose Reyes to throw Escobar out at third.

In the bottom of the 8th, with Atlanta on the way to a 6-1 win, the broadcast deteriorated into inane discussions of pi -- as in 3.1415926 (etc.) -- and Hernandez’ diet. Still, I enjoyed the broadcast. The graphics were pleasant, and not overwhelming. The camera work was sharp, no plays were missed, and I don’t recall a single unnecessary replay. All in all, SNY did a fine job. Grade: B-plus. -- Joe Guckin