New season, new things to discover about Mr. Hernandez tonight. The first SNY broadcast of '07 (with snazzy new graphics) shed some light on our favorite analyst:
1) Keith likes his lollipops
In the top of the third Gary Cohen mentioned that he knew a new season was upon us because "Keith is about to chomp into his first Tootsie Pop of the year." Keith went on to say he started on it in between innings, but now that they were back on the air, he was all business. "When I'm broadcasting, I have to be professional. I can't have chunks in my mouth." When asked by Ron Darling how long one Tootsie Pop would last, Keith said four to five innings. Gary wrapped up the culinary conversation of the evening by saying, "they're not supposed to last that long."
2) Keith still loses track of the game
In the top of the 4th Carlos Beltran got tagged out by Scott Rolen on a ground ball hit to third. It was unavoidable and at least Beltran made sure there was no attempt at a double play. As the replay rolled Keith commented, "A rare base running error--oh, wait, it's first and second. I'm out of my mind."
3) Keith still has a certain way with phrases
As Gary talked about rookie reliever (and former Brooklyn Cyclone) Joe Smith being nervous in his first major league appearance Sunday night, he asked Keith, "How do you stay calm [on the mound]?" Not missing a chance to make people in the five boroughs crink their necks and think, "Did he just say that," Keith replied, "If you're scared, get a dog." And in the bottom of the 7th, Keith described a Cards home run by stating, "Rolen was on it like a rash."
4) The Keith Hernandez dictionary knows no bounds
While describing one player's swing, Keith said the guy was "bunching up." After some laughter from Gary and Ron, Keith mentioned how the SNY producers keep saying to not use the same words over and over. "So bunching, it's one of my new words."
5) Keith is still looking for more things to pitch...as an ad man
Not satisfied with just Just For Men, Keith seemed ecstatic that there were new sponsor for certain moments in the game. After Gary read yet another sponsor billboard, Keith gleefully remarked, "We have so many new sponsors this year--it's exciting." Gary, who has to learn all this new copy, sighed and then with the driest deadpan ever said, "It is." And as if to prove not all the kinks are out of SNY's system, Keith was analyzing a pitch in the bottom of the 8th when two sped-up highlights from earlier in the game were shown on screen. After a pause, things felt just like last year:
Gary: "That was the Keith Hernandez Confused Moment of the Night."
Keith: "I was going to ignore that completely. I was doing my Sergeant Schultz impression."
Ron: "If we had a new sponsor for that, we'd have one every night."
With all of that Keith goodness and another seemingly non-stressful win, it feels like 2006 all over again.