Through bad Mets games, Ron Darling played own game in booth

By on April 2, 2015

Gary Cohen (c.) and Ron Darling (l.) probably looked like this when they forgot to mention Arkansas. Keith Hernandez was cool with it, of course.Howard Simmons, New York Daily News/New York Daily News

Gary Cohen (c.) and Ron Darling (l.) probably looked like this when they forgot to mention Arkansas. Keith Hernandez was cool with it, of course.

How bad were the 2009 Mets?

They were so bad that Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen would play a little game to keep themselves entertained — because the team sure didn’t — during the dog days. And it’s probably the nerdiest game ever.

Darling explains in the latest Sports Talk podcast with Newsers Bill Price and Bob Raissman that the SNY trio decided, with 50 games to go in the season, that they would work the name of a state into the broadcast. But not just any state. They had to name the states in the order in which they were entered into the union.

“So, of course, Delaware being first,” Darling said, “and Hawaii being last.”

Sure, Ron, everyone knows that.

RELATED: METS’ DANIEL MURPHY STILL IFFY FOR OPENING DAY

Anyway, they started it on Game 112 of the season. Here’s how Darling tells the tale:

“I think it was 2009 — the first year that the Mets really didn’t have a very good ballclub — and we were trying to figure out ways to spice up the broadcast. So in the last 50 games of the year, just for our own mental stability, to inject into every broadcast the states in order as they came into the union.

“So when we would do the games I would always write on the top of my scorecard the state of that day. And we ended up getting sidetracked (in one game) and the state that day was Arkansas and it was two outs in the bottom of the ninth and Frankie Rodriguez, I believe, was pitching, and I point to my scorecard to Gary and he turns white and I turned as white as my face can turn.

“There was a foul ball, straight back, and we quickly talked to Kevin Burkhardt during the game that you can either be a Bon Jovi fan or a Bruce Springsteen fan if you’re from Jersey — you can’t be both. And Kevin was a Bon Jovi fan and Gary and I, both older, were Springsteen fans. We had that conversation earlier in the game.

“So, somehow it was interjected ‘So Kevin, you’re still sticking by Bon Jovi?’ and Gary let out that he was still sticking by Springsteen and, in fact, his favorite song was ‘Mary Queen of Arkansas.’ (Then Gary said) ‘Here’s the pitch, and the Mets win the ballgame.’”

Darling’s memory of the game is amazing. Arkansas was the 25th state to enter the union, so that would set them at game 137. Sure enough, the Mets’ 137th game that season was a 4-2 win over the Cubs when Rodriguez got Kosuke Fukudome to ground out on the first pitch he saw — with a runner on second base — for the save.

Darling also talks about these 2015 Mets, how he stunk as an announcer behind the mike in Washington in 2005 and why he’s dabbling in play-by-play this spring.

You can hear it all in the Daily News Sports Talk podcast, which you can (and should) subscribe to on iTunes.

ON YOUR PHONE? LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE

Tags:
ron darling ,
gary cohen ,
keith hernandez

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