Thursday, September 05, 2013

Why I Love Ron Darling

Ron Darling pitching for the Mets during the mid-to-late 1980s. He may have been a pretty boy, but he was a tough competitor and occasional bar brawler. They were a wild, arrogant bunch, those Mets, but they could walk the walk, as well as talk the talk.

Darling with Genevieve Finn, the teenaged founder of Genevieve’s Crutches as a teenager, on July 23

By Nicholas Stix

Yesterday, I watched an SNY documentary about Shea Stadium. I’d seen it before, but it was no less emotional an experience seeing it again, even though it should have been much longer, funnier, and more thorough.

Some of the script was annoying, as when it had the narrator say that “Shea rocked as it never had” during post-1969 games. To any Met fan who lived through 1969, that’s ridic.

But the hyperbole was offset by the interviewees.

One of the last speakers was Ron Darling, who has been an integral part of the Mets’ broadcast team for several years, with Gary Cohen and Keith “Mex” Hernandez, both of whom also spoke on camera. Like Hernandez, Darling was a star (righthander) on the team’s last World Series championship team, in 1986.

There are many reasons why I like Darling. He’s a marvelous announcer. About two weeks before the announcement that major league schmuck Jordany Valdespin was announced as having tested positive for PEDs, Darling remarked, “He may have worn out his welcome in New York.” Darling was a very good pitcher, and a great, athletic fielder. I still recall a play he made on a suicide squeeze a few years after ’86. His only shot was to scoop the ball with his mitt, and make a shovel pass to the catcher, without making the transfer. Darling did it, bang, bang, and cut down the runner at home.

Darling said, anticipating Shea’s demolition, “If I could keep one thing, it would be my locker. But not because it was mine, but because it was Tom Seaver’s locker.”


The previous owner of Ron Darling’s locker

1 comment:

countenance said...

They were a wild, arrogant bunch, those Mets, but they could walk the walk, as well as talk the talk.

But let's talk about '85 and '87.

Brings back memories of the second half of the 1980s, when the upcoming season schedule was released, and I circled the Mets games in red.