Leftover stuff from Keith Hernandez that I didn't get into the newspaper version of my story about SNY's Mets announcers:

Hernandez said he gets along well with Gary Cohen and Ron Darling. That's quite an accomplishment after spending many months every spring and summer sitting very close to them in the comically small home-team TV booth at Citi Field:

"I would say 99.9 percent of the time [there are no problems]," he said.

At worst, someone might say or do something that rubs someone else the wrong way. "And 'rubbing the wrong way,' might be an extreme way to put it," he said. "Sometimes you might be sick or not in the most patient of moods, but we're not spending 24 hours a day together."

It helps that every game is unique. "It's not like doing a rock concert and playing the same songs in a different town," he said.

Here's Hernandez on the Mets' prospects for 2010:

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"I always like a team that's come off a bad year and players that have come off a subpar year and have track records, because they'll work hard in that offseason to have a bounce-back year.

"The Mets have five guys with the potential to be the Comeback Player of the Year.

"I think this team is going to hit and score runs and be fine offensively. But health is important.

"To me it all boils down to pitching. If I could have both, I'd take a team like the '69 Mets with great pitching as opposed to an offensive team with mediocre pitching."

Hernandez on the challenge of working meaningless games late last year:


"It's much more fun when they win and they're competitive and it's down to the wire, and we had that three of the last four years. When you're playing it out like last year, there's not the intensity and you can be more relaxed.

"Guys in the truck would say, 'These are the games now where you have to hold the audience.' But ultimately we're not going to bring the audience. The team is what gets people to sit down on their couches and come to the ballpark."

Former Cardinal Hernandez on Mark McGwire and steroids:
"I don't think he should be banned from baseball and coaching. If that's what he wants to do he should be doing it, and good for him.
"But you know know how I feel about guys who did steroids, and my opinion will never change on it. I feel they knew what they were doing and why they were doing it and it was dishonest.

"They put a stain on the record book that will forever be a brown spot on every page. They should never be under consideration for the Hall of Fame."
I'm off-line the rest of the day.
Enjoy the return of the Islanders, Rangers and Devils. Let's keep that Olympic hockey ratings spirit going, people!