FEATURE

Outta Here!

How Mets announcer Gary Cohen ’81CC went from the kid in the stands to the man at the mic.

by Paul Hond Published Fall 2017
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Afterward, Cohen says, “I have less contact now with players than I did thirty years ago. The nature of the player-media relationship has changed drastically. There’s a much greater wall now. If you visit the clubhouse when the media’s allowed in, you might find five players. It didn’t used to be like that. It’s no one’s fault; it’s just the way things have evolved. I spend less time in clubhouses now, but I make sure I’m there every day, because if I say something that offends somebody I want to be there, to be accountable.”

But, he adds, “I’ve been through nine managers since I’ve been here, and Terry Collins is by far, by far, the best to deal with.”

Other things have changed. Over the past twenty years, the use of sophisticated (and, for some fans, incomprehensible) statistical analysis to evaluate players has become de rigueur. “It’s foolish to ignore it,” says Cohen, “because ball clubs are using advanced statistics to determine who to sign, who to trade for, and who to play, so you have to pay it some mind.

“But I don’t think the fans care so much about numbers on a spreadsheet. In all the years I’ve been doing this, no one’s ever come up to me and said, ‘X player has higher WAR [wins above replacement] than Y player.’ No. It’s always, ‘What’s David Wright really like?’

“That’s what people want to know about: the human beings behind the game. They want to feel a connection. They want to feel in touch with the humanity.”

 

Cohen heads back around the corridors and refreshment zones of Citi Field to the SNY booth. The booth is crowded with producers, directors, camera people. Hernandez and Darling are in there too. Hernandez, ever the life of the party, is cracking jokes. Everyone’s laughing. No pregame jitters up here.

So the evening begins. In a moment, Cohen and his partners will take up their microphones, look into the camera, and leap into another night of baseball.

“The season is a marathon,” Cohen says. “You dive into the deep end of the pool in April, and you come up for air in October. That’s it. You just try to stay healthy and make it through the six months. By the end, everyone’s tired.

“But once the first pitch is thrown, the adrenaline kicks in. You find your way through it for the three hours, then you crash.”



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