Ron Darling: Keith Hernandez qualified to be a critic of Mets' hitting philosophy

Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Gary Cohen of

Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Gary Cohen of SNY. (Credit: SNY)

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Fired Mets hitting coach Dave Hudgens used the word "naysayers" when describing the SNY announcers -- including Keith Hernandez -- who have criticized the team's batting approach.

SNY announcer Ron Darling had another word Tuesday night to describe Hernandez: Expert.

"If you look at Keith's career," Darling told Newsday, "Keith was the poster boy for what they do. He's already done it. These guys aspire to do it. I think that Keith is probably the best person to talk about how you get on base, but at the same time the aggressiveness with which you can do that. So I don't know anyone better to speak about it."

Darling was asked before Tuesday night's game about comments Hudgens made to Newsday after his Memorial Day firing.

Said Hudgens: "The naysayers, the guys who disapprove of us, the guys who I listen to on TV all the time, those guys that know everything about the game, I'm just amazed at it . . . I just shake my head at the old-school guys that have it all figured out. Go up there and swing the bat. Well, what do you want to swing at? It just confounds me. It's just hilarious, really. That's one thing. I'm glad I don't have to listen to those guys anymore."

Hernandez, who did not broadcast Tuesday night's game against the Pirates, declined to respond when contacted by Newsday. He is next scheduled to broadcast a game Thursday night in Philadelphia. Though Hernandez decided to stay quiet for now, a source close to the former Mets first baseman said "he was mildly amused" by Hudgens' comments.

As for the Mets' hitting approach -- which involves taking pitches until you get the best one to hit -- the source said Hernandez "vehemently disagrees with the strategy."

Hernandez, who had 2,182 hits in a 17-year career, can often be heard expressing exasperation when a Mets batter takes a pitch down the middle.

Hudgens, who had one hit in an eight-game major-league career, did multiple interviews Tuesday. On "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN Radio, he said he would hear the broadcast during games when he was in the video room while the Mets were on defense. "I have respect for those guys as players," he said. "Keith Hernandez is a great player, a Gold Glove guy and World Series champ and a cusp-of-the-Hall of Fame-type of player. I just didn't like all the negativity all the time." With Gene Morris

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