Keith Hernandez could have spent October watching the Mets' postseason games from the quiet and comfort of home, like most of the rest of us. But after a nine-year wait since their last playoff appearance, that simply would not do.
"I just felt that we should be a part of it, because we are part of that Mets family and we're out there every day doing the broadcasts," Hernandez said, referring to himself and his SNY colleagues Gary Cohen and Ron Darling.
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"I called [SNY executive producer] Curt [Gowdy Jr.] and said, 'Curt, I'd be willing to do pre- and postgame' ... I'm very excited. I've done studio before. It'll be fine. I'll be on a panel, I gather. I'll be able to add my two cents; it's that simple."
Much of Hernandez's prior studio experience came during the 2000 World Series, which he worked for MSG.
For the division series against the Dodgers that starts Friday, the plan is to have him as part of the studio team at SNY's Manhattan headquarters for road games and on-site at a set outside Citi Field for home games.
Cohen will join the on-site team for home games, while Darling will work the games themselves as a member of Turner's No. 1 baseball booth and will contribute to SNY when logistics permit.
In 2006 Hernandez made appearances on SNY's Mets playoff coverage from his home in Florida.
What does he think of the series itself?
"I think both teams have warts, have weaknesses, and their strengths are their starting pitching," he said. "They have two guys [Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke] that are the top of the line. But playoffs are a different animal.
"Everyone talks about the '69 Mets upsetting the Orioles. I always think in terms of the '73 Mets, who were just over .500 and came within a game of beating the mighty Oakland A's in the World Series. Anything goes in a series.
"It's always someone who is under the radar screen that becomes the World Series hero because the other team is intent on pitching very carefully to a star hitter, and it's always someone else that you least expect that does well in the series."
Hernandez recalled in particular Gene Tenace, the MVP of the 1972 World Series for the A's win over the Reds.
"They were all worried about Reggie [Jackson] and Sal Bando, and Gene Tenace was the MVP," Hernandez said. "He was a platoon catcher and he turned out to be the star.
"Our pitchers, our youngsters, are going to have pitch with their two [stars]. They have to be up to it. If I have any concerns right now, it's the offense scoring runs. But they can come out the first game with Kershaw and knock him out in the first. You just don't know."
The fact that local announcers generally are shut out of calling their teams' games during the playoffs -- Darling's situation this fall being an exception -- always is a source of frustration for both fans and the announcers themselves.
But Hernandez said being a relatively small part of it beats being no part of it at all.
"I'll be happy to watch the Mets in the playoffs," he said. "I'm very pleased about it and very curious how it plays out. It's been nine years, and it's exciting."