TODAY'S PAPER
Good Evening
Good Evening
SportsMedia

Mets radio announcer Howie Rose joins Twitter 

Mets radio broadcaster Howie Rose

Mets radio broadcaster Howie Rose Credit: Neil Best / NEWSDAY

Howie Rose finally cracked on April 11, one month into the sports world’s shutdown and two weeks after what would have been baseball’s Opening Day.

The longtime Mets radio play-by-play man joined Twitter. His first post went like this:

"A while back, I was asked what it would take to get me on Twitter. 'Hmm, I said. A global pandemic ought to do the trick'. Well, here I am. What do I do now?"

Fans immediately embraced the idea, and by later on April 11, Rose was tweeting:

"Thanks for all the first day follows and the really nice words. I thought this was Twitter. I must be in the wrong place."

He since has embraced the platform with a mixture of wisecracks, nostalgia and information, and has enjoyed the distraction from the grim reality of a suspended baseball season.

“I can’t believe the reaction; I mean, it’s just been hysterical,” Rose said on Tuesday from his home in Florida, where he is riding out the COVID-19 pandemic.

What caused him to finally join the social media circus?

“Sheer boredom would be the glib way to answer it, but the God’s honest truth, and I mean this, is from March 26, which was Opening Day, on, I have just felt this incredible void,” he said.

“Until I stopped doing the Islanders [in 2016], I didn’t have an offseason, so I’ve learned to really enjoy the offseason. As it’s getting closer to spring training and Opening Day, you’re sort of working backward against the calendar, but then Opening Day comes, and if I’m not at the ballpark behind the mic, I don’t know what to do.

“The reality of the situation we’re all in is it’s so open-ended, having no idea when we’re going to get back to anything baseball-related, never mind normalcy, that I just felt disconnected. Broadcasting at its root is all about making a connection, and sometimes you have to be able to feel it almost in a visceral way.

“I think Gary [Cohen] and the rest of us who broadcast Mets games really feel that we’ve made a strong connection to the fans and that we’re all within this community.

“So I felt the need to sort of commiserate within that family, and largely, that’s what Twitter has been for me. To be honest with you, it’s been therapeutic or cathartic. Both, really. Because I’ve really enjoyed it.”

His most popular tweet came in response to an MLB video that featured Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright and his family encouraging people to “flatten the curve” on COVID-19 cases.

It went like this:

"Wish his curve would have flattened 14 years ago."

“People almost unanimously have been so nice and so welcoming,” Rose said. “I know that will change sooner or later, but what they have to understand, too, is I’m not in this to be someone who’s going to tell salacious stories or reveal any state secrets or put anybody in a bad light by anything I say on Twitter.

“I just want to have fun and enjoy the medium for what I think it was intended to be.”

Before signing up, Rose had worried about getting carried away — as many do — and posting something that would get him in trouble.

“My fear was always that I’d take that second sip of my second glass of wine and think, ‘Yeah, I can get away with this,’ and then it’s, ‘I shouldn’t have done that,’ ” he said.

“I think if they come up with a technology where when you go on Twitter and you’re about to tweet, you have to use the breathalyzer, and if you blow out more than the prescribed Twitter limit, it locks up and you can’t send, I think that’s brilliant.”

Rose plans to keep posting when baseball resumes, but unlike some announcers, he never would do so in-game.

“No, no, no, my focus has to be on the game,” he said. “I’m not good at multitasking anyway at this stage.”

Rose has been keeping busy taking walks with his wife and daughter, going on long bicycle rides and “reading almost voraciously.” He also has grown a beard.

“My wife loves it; it’s crazy,” he said. “I think she thinks she’s with another guy. But that’s cool . . .  I’m uncomfortable doing it while I’m working, but I’ve always felt like as much of my face as I can hide, the better. To be able to finally accomplish that and see people say they like it just reinforces everything I’ve always felt.”

Rose also has been making occasional appearances on WFAN radio introducing vintage replays with a pregame show of sorts. He has tried to enhance them with off-the-beaten-path interview subjects.

For example, for Wednesday night’s 50th anniversary replay of the 19-strikeout game in which Tom Seaver fanned  the final 10 Padres, Rose will speak on his 6:30 p.m. show to Al Ferrara, who was the first and last of those last 10 strikeout victims — and also homered off Seaver in that game.

“I thought that’s a different way to approach it,” said Rose, who attended that game at Shea Stadium as a 16-year-old. “That’s what I’m trying to do with these things. I just want to have fun with them.”

Rose said the game will be a rare opportunity for younger fans to hear a full regular-season game called by the Mets’ original announcing team of Ralph Kiner, Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy.

Like most of the rest of the country, Rose is eager to get back to his regular job. But he also is supportive of the way Americans have reacted to fighting the virus’ spread with wartime-like commitment.

He said, “We’re all Rosie the Riveter right now.”

New York Sports