Howie Rose is a god amongst men. When the game of baseball is delivered to your ears by the Brooklyn native, it rivals the most passionate of operatic performances.
No, this is not an exaggeration.
Since 1995, Howie Rose has been broadcasting New York Mets games, whether it be radio or television, and has become synonymous with the team from Queens. He is known as an aficionado of Mets history and his passion for the game of baseball exudes in droves when calling play-by-play for his favorite ball club.
Rose has been a Mets fan since their inception back in 1962 and growing up, the broadcast team of Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson, and Ralph Kiner inspired Rose to hopefully one day become the play-by-play man for the New York Mets. That day eventually came in 2004 following Bob Murphy’s retirement the previous year.
Fast forward to present day, and you could say Howie Rose has had many exciting moments in the broadcast booth, but there are a few that tend to stick out in my mind when recalling the thousands of hours spent listening as a fan.
Mike Piazza’s 9/11 Home Run
Right away I’m taken back to September 21st, 2001 and Mike Piazza’a dramatic home run against the Braves. The call itself was not long, but when Howie yells, “HOME RUN!”, you can hear the overabundance of joy and disbelief that another storybook chapter was written into Mets lore.
Not only was that the game winning home run, but it was the one that helped heal a city after it’s most tragic event occurred a mere ten days earlier. Though not in the clip, after Howie’s call, not a word was said for a full 40 seconds adding even more reverence to an already emotional moment.
Johan Santana’s No-Hitter
Another great call was made on June 1st, 2012 when Johan Santana threw the Mets’ first no-hitter in franchise history. The joy you hear in Howie’s call is astounding. His voice sounds like it was going to give out at any moment, yet he went on to orchestrate a call that die-hard fans can recite to this day! “Put it in the books! The history books!”
What makes this call even more remarkable was the picture painted by Rose in a very intense and stressful moment of the game. He knew it was his duty and privilege to make sure it was a memorable moment for not only himself, but for every fan listening to history in the making. I myself was in Cooperstown at the time and I can remember the exact spot I was occupying in my hotel room when the final call was made – it was that important!
What made it perfect was Howie’s passion for the game and his words that put me in a seat at Citi Field when the final out was made.*
David Wright’s First At-Bat Back from the DL
This past season there were many calls that could be called favorites by a variety of Mets fans, but selfishly I would have to say this next one would be mine because I attended the game and it involved my favorite current player – David Wright.
It was his first at-bat back from the disabled list and Mets Nation was listening. At Citizens Bank Park, we were on our feet behind the visitor’s dugout trying to get a better glimpse of what The Captain was going to look like at the plate. Well, when that ball was launched crushed into left field, Howie Rose let everyone know what we were all feeling at that exact moment – relief and jubilation.
This is only a small sample of the charismatic Howie Rose, but I hope it encourages you to turn off the TV a few more times this season and turn on the radio. I love watching games as much as the next fan, but there is something to be said about the old medium being heard on a summer night when baseball is in the air.
When an announcer is in love with the team he is calling play-by-play for, you get that little extra “umph” of emotion no matter what the situation, and that goes a long way. The stories, the experiences, the history, it’s all there. They live and die with not only the team, but the fans – and they can sense that.
Mets fans pride themselves on not the championships won, but the loyalty shown. We’ll love you for life if you prove to us you bleed orange and blue and Howie Rose is no exception. The dedication, the fervor, the passion – it’s all within Howie Rose and that’s what makes him the best broadcaster in baseball.
Even though this is a Mets blog, Rose’s Matteau call gives me goosebumps every time I hear it and it would be a huge injustice if I didn’t include it here.
*Listen to Howie’s no-hitter post-game comments.