The real surprise was what happened with the Yankees’ booth, which vaulted from 27th in 2016 all the way to second in 2017. This came as a shock to the folks at Awful Announcing, because the Yankees’ booth, as everyone knows, including Yankee fans when they’re feeling vulnerable, stinks. In fact, Yankee fans might want to skip this next part, because it gets a little mean, but just know that it comes from a vein of bitterness so deep I might bleed out once I open it.
Mets fans are baseball’s unwanted stepchildren, which isn’t hyperbole when you consider that our team exists only because of the bitter exodus of two more esteemed New York franchises. We’re a polyglot mob of sports immigrants — first-generation baseball junkies, Brooklyn Dodgers refugees, ideological Yankees refuseniks, Asian kids from Flushing, first-time-callers-long-time-listeners from Long Island. We’re not like Yankee fans, in other words, many of whom inherited the team from their fathers, who inherited it from their fathers, or who chose it out of some genetic predisposition to front-running.
I grew up an hour due north of New York — solid Yankee territory — but when I started watching baseball, it was the Mets, not the Yankees, who were on the rise. And I was 7 years old, and the Mets’ biggest young star was named Strawberry. That’s all it took. Two years later the Mets won the World Series. That ’86 team was my formative Mets experience, and because of it I’ve always been irrationally optimistic about them, like a puppy that keeps running full speed into a glass door. My optimism was rekindled in the 2000s, during which the Mets have been far less inept than advertised, making three deep playoffs runs so far, including a trip to the World Series just three years ago, which sounds like something I made up but really did happen. (They lost to the Kansas City Royals in five anxious games.) For Mets fans, though, this is always how it goes. The special seasons always seem to arrive out of nowhere and vanish just as quickly, like a really good sneeze.
It’s a psychosis peculiar to Mets fans, and Gary Keith and Ron feel it in their bones. (When I told Gary and Ron, separately, that I was a lifelong Mets fan, they each said the same thing: “I’m sorry.”) The Yankees, meanwhile, have about 17 different ex-player analysts who cycle through their booth like some celebrity pro-am. I have hate-watched their broadcasts for years and I still can’t tell any of their voices apart, even though a few are ex-Mets: David Cone, a former Cy Young Award winner who once stood accused of masturbating in front of two women in the Mets’ bull pen (a lawsuit was later settled) and then won five rings, four with the Yankees; and Al Leiter, who pitched for the Mets against the Yankees in the 2000 Subway Series. Almost all Yankees broadcasters specialize in either vapid wisdom that begins with the phrase “All you young ballplayers out there ...,” or homerism so acute that during a recent game, Ken Singleton, another former Met, whose velvet voice has the emotional range of Vladimir Putin, applauded Aaron Judge for striking out: “He took a chance and it didn’t work out.” The chance Judge took was swinging, which is his job.
So just imagine the shock when this booth somehow leapt all the way to second on the Awful Announcing list in the span of a single year. Shenanigans were declared, a special prosecutor was assigned. According to Joe Lucia, Awful Announcing’s managing editor, here’s what happened: After the booth’s sorry finish in 2016, ESPN Radio’s “The Michael Kay Show” (the “Hannity” of Yankees Nation) tweeted out a “plea” — Lucia’s word, not mine — to flood the site’s 2017 survey with Yankee votes. And it worked. “They definitely stuffed the ballot box,” Lucia told me. In the 2018 survey, the Yankees slipped back to 12th — still ridiculous, but okay. And if you’re a Yankee fan, what are you going to do? Not watch?
“Too many local booths are like the pizza shop down the block that’s cheap and it’s not very good but you still go a couple times a week because it’s right there,” Curtis said. “It’s comfort food.”
When I floated this theory past Keith — that baseball is filled with booths where the guys just sound on autopilot — he didn’t wait for me to finish.
Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/25/magazine/mets-baseball-gary-keith-ron.html768