Talk about a Father's Day gift. As reported late last week by Newsday's Neil Best, Jerry Seinfeld is in the booth with Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen broadcasting the Mets vs. Tigers game.
I'll take you through the action in the booth - with a side of game commentary - while Seinfeld kicks it with his former sitcom "co-star."
Top of the 7th inning
Mets lead, 2-0
Final vote: Fans agree that Jerry shouldn't have helped Hernandez move on Seinfeld by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent.
Seinfeld's analysis of the knuckleballer's performance: "R.A. Dickey pitching a WHALE of a game for the Mets, getting NO attention from us." Spot on.
More commentary by Seinfeld, this time on the prowess of the knuckleball: "Look at that silly ball. It just floats around."
By the way, Seinfeld is packing it in at the stretch, as was predicted right here!
After I taunt him, Seinfeld makes a "very perceptive" - according to Hernandez - observation about Dickey: "Look at how far to the right he stands on the rubber."
And that's it for Seinfeld, as Dickey continues motoring along into the seventh pitching shutout baseball.
Said Seinfeld, "This was an honor. It was an honor to be a part of your booth. It really was.
"Thanks, Mets fans!"
That's it for me, too. Enjoy the rest of the game, and comment on Seinfeld's broadcast cameo below.
Bottom of the 6th inning
Mets lead 2-0
Everybody's new favorite Mets' play-by-play voice starts the inning off with some facial hair banter. He wonders how MLBers change their look every day.
Seinfeld to Hernandez: "You can't tell me these guys don't have a shot this season." Seinfeld clarifies that he means to play "meaningful October baseball." Hernandez says they aren't as talented as the 2006 team. Seinfeld replies, "What's talent?" Ladies and gents, the different between an analyst and a fan. (Not to take anything away from Seinfeld. He has reminded Cohen multiple times that he is too much of a fan ever to make a career in the booth.)
Candidate for best moment of the broadcast:
"There's nothing wrong" with falling asleep at work, Seinfeld said. "When a guy's head hits the desk, you know you are getting every last nickel out of that guy." Classic Seinfeld humor. (By the way, that was Seinfeld on Hernandez nodding off during a game.)
The comedian calls a breakout inning, spearheaded by Jason Bay. Bay thanks him by promptly grounding into a 6-4 fielder's choice. Two outs.
Francoeur backed that up with a ground out of his own. Seinfeld may be a comedian, and may be able to moonlight as a broadcaster, but he's no Nostradamus.
Top of the 6th inning
Mets lead, 2-0
Kevin Burkhardt asked the Mets clubhouse who would play the different characters on Seinfeld. From various members of the team, Rod Barajas would be Kramer, and Jeff Francoeur would play Jerry.
Seinfeld's favorite Met? Tommy Agee. Hernadez's? Mookie Wilson.
Back on the Ron Darling issue, Seinfeld admits he really misses him in the booth. Meanwhile on the field, "David Wright making a nice 360-putout at first base." Seinfeld's words, not mine. Two outs.
Dickey continues to cruise, registering the third out of the inning. After the bottom half of the inning, Seinfeld will be at four innings on the broadcast. Any predictions as to how long he'll last? I'm guessing seventh-inning stretch.
Bottom of the 5th inning
Mets lead, 1-0
"I can't help you move! I'm sorry I can't I just can't!"
SNY broadcasts one of the greatest Seinfeld moments ever ... Jerry's reaction to Hernandez asking Seinfeld to help him move.
SNY's text poll for the night plays off the episode, asking fans, "Do you think Jerry made the right decision in not helping Keith move."
Seinfeld follows the question of the day up with another great play-by-play call:
"R.A. Dickey with another line drive, this time 20 feet!"
Of course, it was another harmless dribbler. Two up, two out, but Reyes at the plate.
Right after Seinfeld calls the 2010 Mets "One of my favorite Met teams," Reyes blasts a home run.
Cohen: "And it's outta here!"
Reyes, by the way, is now a double short of the cycle.
As Pagan flies out to end the inning, Seinfeld and Hernandez continue on a conversation into commercial. A little awkward sounding, considering there was no official "throw" to the break. Still, the trio is delivering.
Top of the 5th inning
Mets lead, 1-0
Seinfeld gives a hint as to his favorite Mets moment. 2006.
The answer? Endy Chavez's catch against the Cardinals.
The banter between Seinfeld, Cohen and Hernandez is getting a little bland. Uninteresting unless you are in the booth. They are still on the "Try to guess my favorite Mets moment" game. On the field, just about as bland - good news for the Mets. Dickey is still moving along, with a shutout now through five innings after again retiring the side in order.
Bottom of the 4th inning
Mets lead, 1-0
Some pre-programmed content - sort of - for the bottom of the fourth. Seinfeld, Hernandez and Cohen will guess each other's favorite Met moment. Exhilarating stuff!
Flyball hit to Johnny Damon in centerfield prompts this response from Seinfeld:
"Is that Johnny Damon in center? What is he doing out there!?"
Seinfeld's stint in the booth is flying by. One-two-three inning for Bonderman leads us to the fifth.
Top of the 4th inning
Mets lead, 1-0
Second Seinfeld clip: The at-first-awkward, then-pretty-passionate Hernandez and Elaine kiss on Seinfeld.
Hernandez admits - and not so sheepishly - that the scene took more than a few takes.
Seinfeld and Hernandez have natural chemistry - perhaps aided by their working together on T.V. - as they banter about Ike Davis' early big league success.
Meanwhile, Brandon Inge gets a two-out base hit against the - once again - very sharp Dickey.
At last! Seinfeld addresses the largely-publicized Lady Gaga spat. Seinfeld first admits, "I didn't really get upset first of all." He continued, "I'm very protective of my Mets fans. I love my Mets fans. And I did not like the finger." Case closed?
Four shutout innings for Dickey, and a solid half-inning from Seinfeld.
Bottom of the 3rd inning
Game tied, 0-0
Oops! By the way ... Tigers didn't push anybody across in the top of the inning.
First Seinfeld clip was Hernandez telling Seinfeld how big of a fan he was in his cameo appearance on the 1990s sitcom. (Can't find the clip on YouTube right now ... it was the scene in the locker room, right after Costanza had scoffed at the idea that a pro ballplayer would recognize a lowly comedian.)
Speaking of firsts, by my estimation, first funny moment on the broadcast so far. Dickey hit a dribbler in front of home plate, prompting Seinfeld to say "Healthy cut by R.A. Dickey," and equate what was essentially a swinging bunt to a nice "line drive."
It seems Seinfeld has tried to be very complimentary - and he has been genuine - toward both Hernandez and Cohen. However, it also seems Seinfeld is here to call the game, not talk showbiz. He's entertaining questions from his broadcasting partners, but keeps trying to get back to the action on the field. Where, by the way, Jose Reyes is on first with two outs after another single. As Hernandez just said, "Jose is hot."
Interesting tidbit about the comedian ... Seinfeld became a Mets fan around 1967 or 1968. He also said he enjoys the Mets' losing image.
David Wright rips an RBI double, and for the first time, Cohen jumped in to steal a call from Seinfeld. No surprise, considering you'd assume SNY wants the run-scoring clips for any highlight shows. The exchange:
Seinfeld: "Oh and that's fair!"
Cohen jumps in: "Reyes comes in, Pagan stops at third, Wright with an RBI double, 1-0 New York."
While Cohen's call was smooth, I wish I could have heard Seinfeld in the heat of the moment.
Just before the end of the inning, Seinfeld begs the question, "When are we going to talk about Lady Gaga." Looks like we have some fun to look forward to in the top of the fourth ...
Top of the 3rd inning
Game tied, 0-0
Jerry Seinfeld has entered the booth.
To catch up on the game action, nothing much to report. Both teams failed to score in the first, leaving runners in scoring position, and the game remained scoreless after a quick second inning.
On to the important stuff, though ... booth commentary! Plenty to expect from Seinfeld - a notoriously diehard Mets fan - including pop culture discussion (the Lady Gaga saga), 1990s hit series (Keith Hernandez on Seinfeld), and of course, R.A. Dickey (and his knuckleball).
Seinfeld, donning a dapper white suit, opened with, "This is a gigantic thrill and an honor for me," and followed it up with a great deal of praise for Gary Cohen, and then a weak play-by-play call. (Something along the lines of "And the ball might be cau ... base hit.")
Calling the opening half-inning awkward might be an understatement, although you can't blame the newly-formed three-man broadcasting team. Seinfeld took the lead on play-by-play - whether Cohen wanted him to or not - and "carried" the broadcast with some forced small talk. His final call, though - "Wright across the diamond to Ike Davis" - wasn't half bad.
Let's see how fast the broadcasting rook can learn.
Photo by Christopher Pasatieri