View from the Booth with Howie Rose

Howie Rose took over for legendary announcer Bob Murphy, calling play-by-play full time in 2004 for the New York Mets. He then became the lead radio play-by-play voice in 2006. He will anchor the Mets broadcast team for the World Series on 710 WOR, the radio home of the Mets. A fan of the Orange and Blue since their inception in 1962, Howie is proud to ply his trade in the Bob Murphy Radio Booth sponsored by Bigelow Tea, at Citi Field. He took some time out of his day prior to Game 1 of the Fall Classic to answer some questions.

  1. Knowing where the Mets were on that rainy day in July against the Padres, how shocked are you that they’ve made it to the World Series?
The one saving grace to that bad defeat they had is that they were still in close proximity to first place. That might have been a day we all walked out of there thinking, “Why can’t we have nice things?” Washington came in that weekend and the Mets swept them. In doing so they were in a virtual tie for first place, and they then went into Miami and clobbered the Marlins and took over first place undisputed and were never caught. The most amazing part of the season is how the narrative changed so quickly.
  1. What similarities do you see between the 2015 Mets starting rotation and that from the 1969 World Champions?
Those arms that took the Mets to the 1969 championship are the ones that have always been used as the benchmark for pitching excellence in the organization. That year it was Seaver in his 3rd year, Koosman in his 2nd year, Gentry was a rookie, and the guy who bailed them out in the LCS against the Braves and was big in Game 3 against the Orioles was Nolan Ryan, who was only a spot starter that year. He and Seaver both ended up going to the Hall of Fame. It’s still too early to project where this group of Mets starters are headed, but they match up very favorably at this point in their careers with what that staff did at that point in theirs.
  1. Compare the atmosphere at Citi Field during these playoffs with that of Shea Stadium’s Octobers past.
 It’s finally caught up. I remember thinking during the Washington series at the end of July and beginning of August that it was really the first time—particularly the Saturday and Sunday night games of that series—that the place finally began to sound and feel like Shea. And now, here in the postseason, it’s been every bit as frenetic and loud as Shea was.
  1. Describe the job Terry Collins has done this year.
Magnificent in every facet—and not so different than the job he’s done in the previous four years. I don’t think Terry has gotten enough credit for how he’s been able to hold the clubhouse together… keep these players playing hard for him even when they were out of a pennant race. You never hear any players grumble about Terry. He’s become (at this point in his career) a better communicator by his own admission than he ever was. I’m just thrilled for him to get this chance to manage in the World Series—and to get the credit he’s received as the outstanding manager that he is.
People don’t understand what goes on behind closed doors and how fragile the psyche and loyalty of a ball club to its manager can be. Terry never lost them. Even at the worst of times over the past four years, or this one, he never came close to losing that clubhouse because he understood the pulse and he knew what buttons to push inter-personally, and that’s probably an even bigger part of managing than the x’s and o’s and other strategic moves a manager can make.
  1. What do you think happened to Daniel Murphy that’s made his postseason so prodigious?
I think Murph is the product of hard work. The diligent work he’s done with Mets hitting coach Kevin Long (they’ve tweaked a few things) has produced a bit more power. He also had a lot of problems with his legs earlier this year and they’re pretty healthy right now. You derive a lot of power from your lower half, and if those legs aren’t right, that lower half can’t get you to the ball where you need to, and I think that’s a factor, too. His legs are in as good a shape as they’ve been in all year.
  1. Which Met do you think will play a surprisingly important role in this series?
If I knew it wouldn’t be a surprise, right? Jonathon Niese, for example is someone over the years that has only been used a couple of times out of the bullpen but has come up with some big strikeouts this postseason. Maybe he has the ability to reinvent himself a bit as a relief pitcher because of the depth of young starters in the Mets rotation. Maybe he’ll be able to do that in the World Series.
  1. Bob Murphy played such a special role in the history of the Mets franchise. What’s it like to play a similar role for this generation of Mets fans?
 That overwhelms me. I’ve had people come up to me over the past few years—even someone high ranking in the Mets organization has said to me, “you are this generation’s Bob Murphy.” I got goosebumps hearing that; I really did. I understand first-hand what a role Bob Murphy played in the history of this club—as well as his partners, Lindsay Nelson and Ralph Kiner—and to even be considered part of that lineage makes me so incredibly proud. If I’m having one iota of the impact on fans today that those guys had on me, I’m humbled. That’s about the nicest thing anyone can say to me. I can’t get a higher compliment, and I’m so deeply appreciative of that sentiment.
  1. Why are the Mets so important to the fabric of the New York sports scene?
For one thing, they’re so often thought of as an underdog. It’s also understanding what the Mets have meant from the moment they appeared in the National League in 1962—at first replacing two teams (Dodgers & Giants) and galvanizing the disenfranchised fan bases. If you get that sense of history, you know what they mean to fans that go back that far. Because they haven’t been in the postseason every year, there’s a real appreciation for those years when they do get there. To see how they’ve energized the fans of this city… to see people now wearing their Mets colors and chanting “Let’s Go Mets!” at rallies or in bars and restaurants, and responding to the run this team is on, and knowing how many deep-seated Mets fans there are who are now strutting their stuff for the first time in several years… it’s a great feeling. If they can finish this off, the players are going to see something that they can’t even imagine yet—and that’s a ride down the Canyon of Heroes. To hear the fans chanting “Let’s Go Mets!” at a recent hockey game, have the organist play “Meet the Mets,” and to have the crowd respond to that is a tremendous feeling. I think the players now appreciate what the Mets mean to the city in a way that they never could have before. And that’s such a big part of what’s on the table for them in this next week or so.

      Bigelow Tea is proud to sponsor the Bob Murphy Radio Booth at Citi Field.