Howie Rose is approaching three decades in the team’s broadcast booth, first on TV and the last 18 seasons as the primary radio voice of the Mets, most recently on VCBS-880.
And on June 3 at Citi Field, Rose will be among the inductees into the Mets Hall of Fame.
Former players Howard Johnson and Al Leiter and longtime TV and radio voice Gary Cohen will be inducted along with Rose, 69, a Queens native who grew up rooting for the team.
Post Sports+ caught up with Rose this week (stay tuned for more from the latest Mets Hall of Famer, coming online Saturday and in Sunday’s paper):
You’ve emceed this Hall of Fame ceremony many times, so what will it be like to sit on the other side of the microphone for the event?
Howie Rose: The whole thing is surreal to me, and the closer we get to it and the more people reach out and talk about it and judge my attitude toward it, the more introspective I become and the more I think about being that 15-year-old kid sitting in the upper deck of the stadium Shea 1969 and watching the greatest thing I have yet seen in sports unfold. …
What really humbles me is that the ’69 team meant just that much to me for so many reasons. They have really shaped my life and several players have become my friends over the years, several of whom will be there for the ceremony.
That I have come full circle in this regard is beyond my ability to comprehend.
You have such a long relationship with Gary Cohen. What does it mean to go into the Mets Hall of Fame next to him?
Gary Cohen and Howie Rose broadcast Mets games for decades, an accomplishment that will be honored with a spot in the team’s Hall of Fame. Dominick Totino/SNI
HR: That’s cool. It’s the same, I’m sure, as is Lindsay [Nelson]Bob [Murphy] and Ralph [Kiner] when they entered together. They were together for 17 years and now Gary, Keith [Hernandez] and Ron [Darling] they have been living together for 18 years.
I understand all the time, and Gary needs to hear at least this much: People will say to me, ‘You are to this generation what Lindsey, Bob and Ralph were to yours.’ When someone says that to me, it just blows my mind, because I know what Lindsay, Bob and Ralph were to me. They were like family in an avuncular way. That was what they represented. Their voices represented the happy times around the Mets for me, and if people get the same reaction when they hear my voice or Gary’s voice then that makes me prouder than I can describe.
For both of us who grew up sitting in the upper deck at Shea Stadium, we have a lot of the same backgrounds and the same sensibilities and the same thinking that even modern Mets fans have, so that makes us kindred spirits in more ways than one.
After surviving bladder cancer, has your perspective on work changed?
HR: Fortunately for me, from the beginning of the ordeal, the doctors assured me that I could go through this well as much as possible. …
I never wavered in my expectation that when I had surgery in September of ’21 that I would be ready to go the next spring training, and we went from there.
You seem to be enjoying the mentoring role you have for two young broadcasters, Keith Rudd and Patrick McCarthy, who were hired last offseason to fill the radio booth. How comfortable has that aspect of teaching become for you?
Howie Rose pictured in hospital days after undergoing bladder cancer surgery in September 2021 Howie Rose
HR: I love it almost as much as anything else I’ve done. Marv Albert taught me a long time ago that when you’re in business for a while, you have an obligation to pay it forward.
I loved working with Wayne [Randazzo] and watching it develop. I don’t know if he needed my help to get to where he is now [as the TV voice of the Angels]but if I could help him in some way that furthered his development, I’m proud of it.
I remember when I went from radio to television when I went to the Islanders in 1995, SportsChannel had the great Marty Glickman as a coach of broadcasters who, in my case, were going deeper into a different medium than I was used to. I enjoyed working with him so much and he was very helpful. … After going through that process, I know how much it meant to me, and now with the young guys, seeing the fascination in their eyes to be in the big league broadcast booth every night for the first time in my career, it takes me back in time when I was in their position.
But they don’t sound like they’re in awe on air, and when it comes to suggestion or constructive criticism, they’re so receptive. At some point, whenever I’m done with the booth, I’d like to do some kind of scenario where I have the opportunity to mentor young broadcasters because I just love bringing them along.
A year or two ago you hinted that you might retire if the Mets won a World Series in the near future. Is that still the case?
HR: I’m really looking forward to that last call. That’s all I need to finish my career, in a very selfish way.
Rose said the chance to call the final out of the World Series is something he wants “more than anything.” Photo courtesy of Howie Rose
I’ve had the opportunity to make some calls that have held up and resonated, but none of them compare to the chance to announce the Mets as world champions, in real time, on the air. That’s what I want more than anything. I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s all I hold on to, but it’s a big part of it. I will turn 70 in February. … I don’t know how much longer, but I think I still have a little bit left in me.
It’s not like if they win the World Series, I’m done. What. am I going to retire and then miss all the pageantry of next year’s Opening Day and raising the banner and handing out World Series rings? If they win the World Series, it’s that year and at least one more.
I would like to play games representing the defending world champions, not the wannabe world champions.
Want to catch the game? The Mets schedule with links to purchase tickets can be found here.
Calling foul on high swings
Francisco Alvarez has been among the Mets’ best players this season, but he’s also taking a beating behind the plate, as manager Buck Showalter noted this week.
The starting catcher, by Showalter’s count, was hit with at least five backswings, part of a larger trend throughout the game. Most notably, Dodgers catcher Will Smith expressed his displeasure to Marcell Ozuna after the Braves DH swung him backwards earlier this week.
Francisco Alvarez has had to adjust not only to the entire pitching staff, but also to the long swings of opposing hitters that threaten his health.USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con
“Sometimes I think there should be a penalty for that, as much as it happens,” Showalter said. “The catcher’s in the catcher’s box and the batter’s in the batter’s box, and it seems like some of the same people are doing it … it’s called a catcher’s mitt when the catcher does it, so why isn’t there batter interference?”
Showalter said catching instructor Glenn Sherlock presents him with a scouting report before each series on opposing hitters whose backswings have become a problem for catchers.
“[Catchers] there was a time when I wasn’t even wearing a helmet – can you imagine?” Showalter said. “There were a couple of backswings where I was worried if [Alvarez] will be able to continue.”
dive with ‘E’
One number team officials didn’t overlook when evaluating Ronnie Mauricio was the infielder’s 11 errors this season for Triple-A Syracuse.
But at some point, the Mets will have to decide if Mauricio’s offensive potential outweighs his defensive shortcomings.
Ronnie Maurizio struggled in the field at Triple-A, making 10 errors at shortstop and second base. Getty Images
Mauricio moved from shortstop to second base, and made six errors in 24 games at second base after making five in 20 games at shortstop.
Mauricio is also batting .348 with a .586 slugging percentage — numbers that resonate louder than his error total.