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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Stay Broadcast Team Stay

In the “seventh inning” of Ken Burns’s Baseball — the installment titled “The Capital of Baseball” — the viewer learns that New York was the epicenter of the universe in the 1950s, at least until two-thirds of the Metropolitan Pastime’s contingent was about to be packed up and shipped west. It’s within that portion of the documentary that Burns brought in John Turturro to voice the letter a concerned citizen wrote to Mayor Robert Wagner as the dastardly deeds were being done in 1957:

I am a man of very few words so I will come straight to the point. I voted for you. I pay your salary. I WANT THE DODGERS IN BROOKLYN. I don’t want any excuses from you or any of your men at the City Hall. I WANT THE DODGERS IN BROOKLYN and you can do it by building the sports center. You had better get it built or you’ll not get a vote from me.

Just as John Turturro channeled the sentiments of disgruntled Wagner voter R. Cucco twenty years ago, his same I-mean-business tone would suit my sentiments presently where the machinations of WOR and, apparently, the Mets themselves are concerned.

I am a man of sometimes many words but I will come straight to the point. I am a loyal consumer of your product. I WANT HOWIE ROSE AND JOSH LEWIN DESCRIBING IT TO ME ON RADIO. I don’t want any excuses from you or any of your people at Clear Channel. I WANT HOWIE AND JOSH BROADCASTING METS GAMES and you can do it by signing them to contracts for the 2014 season and many seasons beyond. You had better get it done or…

Oh, damn, this is where my 50,000 watts of Turturroan indignation turn to static because I am a consumer of your product and you SOBs (that’s Students of Broadcasting, I hope) probably assume a fan like me might raise a fuss over disagreeable details but will ultimately tune in when I need to hear the Mets on the radio because, well, I need to hear the Mets on the radio. You smugly believe that since I put up with Tom McCarthy for two years and Wayne Hagin for four more that you can, for reasons not at all understood by me, potentially replace an announcer I’ve come to enjoy and not pay a price for it.

The price is my goodwill, but perhaps that’s not dollars-and-sensical enough for you to care.

That’s too bad. If you don’t keep Howie and Josh together, I will view it and hear it as an abuse of my trust. It may not mean a thing to your pocketbook in the short term, because I can’t swear I’d ease my foot off the going-to-games gas pedal in any meaningful way or even resist the temptation of orange-and-blue merchandise if there’s a spiffy new item that catches my eye. Yet I will be genuinely pissed off. And I’ll remember it. And somewhere along the way, you’ll have whittled away at our team-fan relationship.

I only know what I read in Capital New York, but the pieces of the story that have emerged — that new flagship WOR wasn’t necessarily anxious to retain Howie Rose (perhaps because they believe putting a shiny 710 stamp on Met broadcasts supercedes Met listeners’ needs) and that Jeff Wilpon hasn’t rushed to secure Josh Lewin’s services (perhaps because Josh’s sparkling chemistry with Howie and his own quick wit elude the COO) — are, as they say in chin-stroking journalistic circles, troubling.

The Mets said they were going to WOR, but I look at Howie and Josh not confirmed to the world at large as the Mets broadcast team of record right now and well into the future, and I’m pretty sure WTF? is the real frequency over which ownership and its new radio partners are intent on transmitting.

14 comments to Stay Broadcast Team Stay

  • BlackCountryMet

    When I heard this rumour on one of the podcasts, I was gobsmacked. Why would you possibly get rid of one of “the Voice of the Mets” or separate a superb broadcasting team. Yeah, add Cliff Floyd if needs be(i hear he’s quite good) but Howie Rose IS the Mets on the Radio, anyone else would be wrong

  • ljcmets

    Sounds to me like WOR is quietly unhappy it had to settle for the Mets instead of the Yankees and views the Mets as a chance to develop its own “brand name” announcers under the radar, apparently to the point of replacing Howie. To me that shows the station is really not looking at the Mets as any kind of long-term proposition. The Mets’ management may have had to put the other announcing positions in play, including Lewin, to get the station’s commitment to retain
    Rose.

    Given the track record over the last several years, it’s not
    likely, but just barely possible, that the team intervened and
    did the fans a service. However, what I will never understand is the Mets’ front office leadership, up to and
    including Fred but certainly encompassing both Jeff and Alderson, discussing or hinting at business and player moves
    before they happen. “We want an ex-player in the radio
    booth.” “We’re
    looking to trade a first baseman.” “We’re buyers, not sellers.”

    Perhaps the front office believes that they are softening the blow against potential controversy, but the opposite effect is true. At best, you’re exposing disagreement or uncertainty in top echelons of management; at worst you end up with an Ike/Ron Davis stuation. Just do what you want/need to do and then announce it, do your damage control, and move on. Stop talking for the love of Pete.

    As far as the radio broadcast team, I get all the radio coverage of the Mets over the web, as our local free broadcast affiliate dropped the Mets last year. So unless I absolutely can’t watch on TV, that’s my default although I love listening to Howie Rose. I might catch 10-15 games a year by satellite/web radio. I like Lewin and would hate to see him go, but as long as they retain Howie I’m OK. Don’t go messing with Gary, Keith and Ron though!

  • aqf

    Could the issue with Howie be that he also does the Islanders? If so, I’d surely rather have him for most Mets games than for none of them. I don’t have as much of a feel for Lewin, but I don’t have any problems with his announcing, and I’m very resistant to the idea of change for change’s sake.

  • 5w30

    WOR 710? You mean the station with the kooky morning guy from DC? Old man hate radio between noon and 6p? All the borderline legal informercials on the weekends? And now, the Mets? The bottom line is that Mets radio needs an experienced play-by-play man as the #2 in the booth. We all know Howie doesn’t do all 162 or even pre-season, as he has a TV gig with the Fish Sticks. Josh doesn’t do all 162 either as he’s the voice of the San Diego Chargers. None of the prognosticators (mongo or professional) have pointed out that little fact of Mets life. Lewin is a play-by-play pro. One of the ex-players may do in a limited analyst role when either Howie or Josh isn’t there. Eddie Coleman’s smart … he’s staying with his long-time employer CBS Radio/WFAN. Clear Channel, owner of WOR, all run by Mets minority owner Bob Pittman, is at junk-bond worth.

    • Dave

      I’m with you, 5w30…I usually try to keep my passions of baseball and politics separate, but yeah, it’s annoying enough that the Mets are sharing a frequency with birthers, we can’t lose Howie or Josh because they need an occasional day off.

  • dmg

    why exactly would i seek out the radio broadcast — on a new station yet — if the radio station and mets refused to provide what i seek (play-by-play by howie and josh)?

  • open the gates

    When the Mets have been bad (and, folks, it’s happened), sometimes the only thing that keeps me listening to the games are the announcers.

    Replace Josh Lewin, and the Mets will lose fans. Replace Howie Rose, and the Mets will lose lots of fans. Maybe not right away. But when the Mets are as dreary as they’ve been the last few years, the fans need some reason to keep listening to the radio. Sometimes, Howie is all they’ve got. And now the Mets brain trust [sic] are talking about getting rid of him too.

    Typical.

  • Roger

    I prefer to listen to Mets games at home on the radio rather than watch them on tv because Howie and Josh offer such incredible insight and color. These guys are the best in the business. How could the mets let them go? I am a season plan holder. I listen faithfully. Please, they are treasures. Show some class and sign them.

  • Mike

    Not since the great Bob Murphy, has the “word picture” been painted so well as it has been by Howie Rose and Josh Lewin. Howie Rose is a legend in the broadcast booth.
    In just two short seasons, Josh Lewin has endeared himself to Mets fans as one of the radio voices of the Mets.
    These two professionals are warm, witty, funny, and full of baseball knowledge. My son and I thoroughly enjoy listening to them.
    The chemistry between Howie Rose and Josh Lewin is incredible. This broadcast team should be kept in place as long as they wish to be.

  • Mike D.

    Amen, Greg. And if you feel as strongly as he (and I) do, it couldn’t hurt to drop WOR/Clear Channel a line and let them know. I already have.

    http://www.wor710.com/common/contact/

  • Ed Rising

    I’m also not happy about the Mets moving to WOR radio which apparently is a totally conservative station. I would hope they would add a true sports talk show in addition to a “Mets Extra” type show. Howie Rose is a treasure and the Mets must do right by him and have WOR sign him to a new contract. I honestly don’t listen to the radio as much anymore and not familiar with Josh Lewin. But if he has the chemistry with Howie than what the hell – sign the guy! Cliff Floyd has done nicely on MLB network and I could see him joining Howie – but a new team altogether is out of the question.

  • Dennis

    I hope they keep both as well…..but the idea that the Mets will lose fans because of a change in the broadcast team is ridiculous. They’ll lose fans if they continue to flounder on the field like they have for the past 5 seasons. If they build a juggernaut and win World Series’…..it won’t matter if John Sterling is doing their games.

  • Penacious H

    I echo everyones’ comments. I listen 4-5 nights a week on way home and go out of my way to hear Howie and Josh on weekends too. They are outstanding; I am not sad they need a new post/pre guy as I find Ed too wishy washy and afraid to take a stand. Jeff Wilpon needs to back off and not screw this up the way he did his public statements about Mariano’s retirement, or the stupid Underdog shirts. Enough!

    Anybody know where to send a comment about this to in Mets-land? thanks.