Cohen, Rose, Randazzo share best Mets calls

May 27th, 2020

NEW YORK -- For decades, the Mets have been blessed with some of the game’s finest broadcasters -- a group that includes current play-by-play men Gary Cohen and Howie Rose, who boast more than five decades of combined experience calling Mets games. caught up with those two and relative newcomer Wayne Randazzo to ask about their favorite calls as Mets broadcasters.

Gary Cohen

Resume in brief: A Mets broadcaster since 1988, he has been SNY’s play-by-play man since the network’s inception in 2006

The game: Oct. 17, 1999, Robin Ventura’s grand-slam single

The call: “McGlinchy, staring in, has his sign. The 2-1 pitch … and a drive in the air to deep right field! That ball headed toward the wall! That ball is … outta here! Outta here! A game-winning grand slam home run off the bat of Robin Ventura! Ventura with a grand slam! They’re mobbing him before he can get to second base! The Mets have won the ball game! Ventura hit it over the right-center-field fence! A game-winning grand slam home run! I don’t know if they’ll let Ventura circle the bases, but it doesn’t matter. The Mets have won it! They’ve won the ballgame! And the Mets will send this series to a Game No. 6 on Tuesday night in Atlanta!”

Why it’s Cohen’s favorite: “I would say the grand-slam single, only because it was the culmination of probably the best game I’ve ever seen. That Game 5 with all of its twists and turns and 15 innings and the rain and great managing on both sides and unlikely heroes in Melvin Mora and Shawon Dunston -- the whole way that that game played out stands out to me more than any other, culminating in a signature play that has no real parallel.

“The art of the job is to come up with the proper words for something that you couldn’t possibly have anticipated and try and match the words to the moment. When Ventura hit the grand-slam single, that happened in three different segments. First, he hit it, and it was clearly deep enough to win the game even if it doesn’t go out of the ballpark. Then it goes out of the ballpark. Then it turns out he never gets to second base. So there were three different things that happened over the course of that same play. The game is won as soon as the ball’s hit deep enough. The fact that it goes over the fence makes it a game-winning grand slam, and then the fact that his teammates don’t allow him to go past first base changes the entire nature of it. So you’re trying on the fly to describe all of those things in the order that they happened as best that you can. That’s the art of it.”

Howie Rose

Resume in brief: Has called Mets games on the radio or television every year since 1994; currently with WCBS 880

The game: Oct. 21, 2015, Mets win the National League pennant

The call: “Here’s the payoff pitch from Familia to Fowler on the way, and it’s … in there, strike three called! The Mets win the pennant! The New York Mets have won the National League pennant! Put it in the books! The New York Mets, for the first time in 15 years, are champions of the National League! They have completed a four-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series. They’re headed to the World Series!”

Rose’s explanation: “If I’m going to be pinned down to one, it’s going to be an almost anticlimactic one given the game circumstances, but when Jeurys Familia struck out Dexter Fowler to end the National League Championship Series, I still get shivers down my spine when I hear myself say, ‘The Mets win the pennant.’ Growing up a Mets fan and aspiring to be a broadcaster since I was probably 8 or 10 years old, yelling words like that on a schoolyard after a big game where you pretended to be the Mets, even long before 1969 -- to be able to have said that into a live mic as a Mets broadcaster in real time is chilling.

“Think of the odds that had to have been stacked against it, and just what it meant to me knowing we were going to be calling a World Series. It wasn’t a play in the way that maybe David [Wright] hitting it over Johnny Damon’s head to win that game against the Yankees [in 2006] was, or even [Johan] Santana’s final pitch of the no-hitter, which was almost surreal because I just never expected a no-hitter. But for those words to come out of my mouth -- ‘The Mets win the pennant’ -- still gives me goosebumps.”

Wayne Randazzo

Resume in brief: Entering his second season as Rose’s full-time partner on WCBS 880, and his sixth on Mets radio

The game: Sept. 28, 2019, Pete Alonso breaks the MLB rookie home run record

The call: “Two balls and one strike, the pitch. Hits it high in the air to right-center field. Hamilton looks back. He’s at the wall. He leaps. It’s gone! Home run! No. 53! And Pete Alonso stands alone as Major League Baseball’s rookie home run king! He hits third base, he pointed at Gary DiSarcina on his way by, claps his hands as he stomps on home plate, raises his arms above his head. He hugs Robinson Canó and now a high five for Robbie as Alonso makes his way to a Mets team that has all poured out of the dugout to greet him. Amed Rosario’s there for a hug. So is J.D. Davis, Marcus Stroman and many others, as Pete Alonso has done what no rookie in Major League Baseball history has ever done. Fifty-three home runs!”

Randazzo’s explanation: “We were at the end of the season, my first year doing play-by-play full-time. I also called Pete’s Mets record-setting home run [to pass Todd Hundley], and Howie gave me some advice that if this type of thing came around again, it could be better if I spent more time describing the run around the bases. Instead of going into the history of the moment, spend more time on what’s happening on the field -- how he shakes hands with Gary DiSarcina, what he does when he gets to home plate, how his teammates handle him when he gets toward the dugout, those types of things. Paint the picture and leave the stuff about the numbers and the history for later.

“Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait five years for my next milestone home run. It was two, three weeks later. So it was a call that I’m happy with, and Howie even mentioned during the broadcast how much he liked the call.”