Bill Webb, the lead television director for Mets games for nearly four decades, will not return full time to SNY for the coming season, the network said on Tuesday.
Webb, 65, has been battling cancer and missed an extensive number of games in 2015 and ’16 for both SNY and Fox. His illness forced him to skip the Mets’ appearance in the 2015 World Series and injuries from a fall kept him out of last year’s Series. He has worked 17 World Series overall.
SNY responded to an inquiry from Newsday about Webb on Tuesday morning with this statement:
“Bill Webb is a hall of fame baseball director who has contributed greatly over the years to Major League Baseball as well as Mets television broadcasts. We certainly appreciate the valuable contributions he has made to SNY over our first 11 seasons.
“With that said, Dan Barr, who has worked alongside Bill in our truck since 2006, and has directed more than 100 games each of the past two seasons, will now slide into the lead director’s chair.
“We have great fondness for Bill and have left the door open for him to return to direct a select number of games if he is available.”
SNY’s first Mets spring game of the season is scheduled for Saturday.
Webb was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in November. He helped establish the look of 21st century baseball telecasts, marked by quick cuts, extreme player closeups and crowd reaction shots.
“There is not any one person more responsible for the look and feel of Major League Baseball on Fox than Bill Webb,” play-by-play man Joe Buck said in 2015. “He is at the top of the list.”
Webb’s departure marks the first change in SNY’s production truck leadership and announcing booth since it began carrying Mets games in 2006.
Producer Gregg Picker, play-by-play man Gary Cohen and analysts Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez have been in place since the beginning. SNY has had three Mets reporters — Chris Cotter for one season, Kevin Burkhardt for eight and Steve Gelbs for two.