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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Strubel: Time to pull the plug on Ralph Kiner

Kiner’s Coroner, if you will.

Now that the long, obnoxious disclaimer is complete, I will stop beating around the bush and get to the point: It’s time for SNY, the Mets-owned network, to shut down Kiner.

On Sunday, Kiner, 89, was back in Flushing, making the annual pilgrimage to appear on SNY’s broadcast. I understand the desire to honor Mets history, but listening to Kiner was uncomfortable. His three-inning appearance was dominated by slurred, inaudible comments. While Kiner appears to still have a sharp memory of people, places and games and has been referred to by the New York Times as ”a human archive of Mets and baseball history,” sorry, he no longer adds value to the broadcast.

Call it blasphemy, I understand. Refer to me in expletives, I can take it. But when you’re done throwing darts ask yourself, is it true? Go to MLB.com and watch the replay of the game. Listen to Kiner. When you’re done listening, ask yourself, “Why was Kiner invited on the air?”

...Kiner’s work is no longer enjoyable. His slurred speech and inaudible mumblings are no longer desirable. Please, SNY, stop while you’re ahead. This is not how Mets fans want to remember Ralph Kiner.

Repoz Posted: May 08, 2012 at 09:28 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, media, mets

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. bobm Posted: May 08, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4126208)
FTFA:
I thought of the possible reasons why the Mets (and SNY) still invite Kiner back to the broadcast booth. If it’s tradition, then please explain to me when the Mets began taking tradition into consideration (see Banner Day, Mets Hall of Fame, Old Timer’s Day, etc.)?


If the author is going to criticize ignorance, he shouldn't be uninformed:

http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/nym/ballpark/hall_of_fame/index.jsp
   2. BDC Posted: May 08, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4126210)
I don't want to be unfair, so I'll ask those who are in New York and hear these broadcasts: is Kiner's appearance "annual" as TFA has it, or is he on fairly often? If this is a complaint that Kiner shouldn't come back once a year, then that's a pretty classless complaint. OTOH, I can see if they're taking up three innings a week just chatting with Ralph Kiner, there's room for complaint – though frankly that would be the same if they were chatting with Tom Seaver or Bob Dylan or God Himself for three innings a week and paying little attention to a ballgame I wanted to hear.

I used to listen to Red Barber once a week on NPR, and he had precious little new or old to say of interest, but for crying out loud, it was Red Barber. Attention must be paid.
   3. zack Posted: May 08, 2012 at 09:57 AM (#4126213)
If it's not literally annually, it's close to it. Kiner has had a pretty bad slur for years. It's less than one game! Let them have their fun.

And the headline writer can go #### himself.
   4. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 08, 2012 at 09:57 AM (#4126214)
the annual pilgrimage to appear on SNY’s broadcast...His three-inning appearance


We all have a "sell by" date and there is a time when even the greatest among us need to be removed. But if I'm reading this right Kiner shows up once a year for about 3 innings to say hi and ramble on a bit. That's hardly terrible. It reminds me of some of the complaints about Dick Clark, if once a year for a short time we are uncomfortable so someone who has brought so much joy to us can himself have a little fun I think we can survive.

Obviously Kiner shouldn't be doing the color on a game 120 times a year but 3 innings, once a year? That's honoring the past, not dragging something out.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: May 08, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4126221)
And the headline writer can go #### himself.


In this case, the headline writer is probably the same classless jackass as the guy who wrote the rest of that drivel.

   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 08, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4126226)
And the headline writer can go #### himself.

Yes. That's an awful, tasteless headline to write about an 89 y.o.
   7. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 08, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4126237)

I don't know why we're linking to "johnstrubel.com", but I agree with #6. Especially when the reason for Kiner's slurred speech is, I believe, that he has suffered from Bell's Palsy and a stroke in recent years.
   8. Greg Schuler Posted: May 08, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4126262)
On the one hand, it is a pity when memories of your youth are corrupted by time - I mean, imagine if Linda Carter suddenly aged and refused to hide herself in shame.

On the other hand, who gives a crap? Mute the old timer and live with it. I know - how dare an organization honor a longtime employee with a short appearance on one broadcast because some people in the viewing audience might actually enjoy it.

   9. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: May 08, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4126278)
If it's not literally annually, it's close to it. Kiner has had a pretty bad slur for years. It's less than one game! Let them have their fun.

And the headline writer can go #### himself.


This. This is gross.
   10. Gonfalon B. Posted: May 08, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4126292)
The sad truth, Mr. Strudel, is that Flushing Bay doesn't even have ice floes, so pushing Kiner off to die isn't an option.
   11. Dave Spiwak Posted: May 08, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4126315)
Oh my gosh -- some nobody that nobody's ever heard of said something shocking! And now we've heard of him! Mission accomplished?
   12. Gonfalon B. Posted: May 08, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4126324)
But he said it so distinctly, with no slurring.
   13. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 08, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4126333)
This headline is really terrible. It's Bad Headline Day on the news scroll today.
   14. BDC Posted: May 08, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4126348)
now we've heard of him!

Actually, I've already forgotten who he is, and I ain't scrolling up to find out :)
   15. AJMcCringleberry Posted: May 08, 2012 at 12:35 PM (#4126389)
His three-inning appearance was dominated by slurred, inaudible comments.

So just like all his other appearances?

I think it's more than once a year, but it's not many times. I enjoy his appearances.
   16. Kranepool Society Posted: May 08, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4126646)
SNY and the Mets invite Kiner into the booth for a couple innings just a couple of times during the season. This year since it's the 50th Anniversary and Kiner has been behind a microphone for all 50 seasons why would anyone be upset when he's on the air? Besides if you saw Kiner's last apperance on SNY he had Cohen and Darling in stiches talking about his $85 cab ride from LaGuadia to Newark Airport when his flight back to FLA was canceled

   17. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: May 08, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4126667)
[16]

"...and if the guy only had one foot, then you've got a problem."


Kiner, talking about methods of sign-stealing back in the day.
   18. zenbitz Posted: May 08, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4126671)
Maybe Kiner should start renting from Mo Vaughn, if you know what I mean.
   19. Howie Menckel Posted: May 08, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4126673)

Yes, Bell's Palsy.
This is not a senile, confused old man who is incoherent.

It's a Hall of Famer with very coherent thoughts and great stories - but ones which are more difficult to understand because of that speech handicap.

He's on the air because he's been on the air for every Mets season of their existence, which is cool.

now, if you want to cut it from 3 innings to 2 at a time, or if you want to do something where his colleagues may re-tell much of a pre-game discussion with Ralph, have him supply some other details, and so forth, sure.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 08, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4126700)
now, if you want to cut it from 3 innings to 2 at a time, or if you want to do something where his colleagues may re-tell much of a pre-game discussion with Ralph, have him supply some other details, and so forth, sure.

Why? He certainly can't be worse than Stirling and Waldman.

In fact, if he were entirely incoherent, he'd be an improvement on those two.
   21. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: May 08, 2012 at 06:16 PM (#4126778)
This guy's name is "Toaster" until further notice.
   22. flournoy Posted: May 08, 2012 at 10:09 PM (#4126952)
Man, appreciate him while you have him. There is something to be said for just letting a beloved elderly person talk, even if he has nothing much to say.

Last year on Youtube I stumbled across an interview my grandpa gave shortly before he passed away. It had been over a decade since I'd been able to hear his voice, and it gave me just a wonderful and inexpressible feeling to hear and see him again. It's really too bad that the author can't enjoy Kiner while he's still around.
   23. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: May 08, 2012 at 11:37 PM (#4127064)
It's really too bad that the author can't enjoy Kiner while he's still around.

I just want to hear him say "Darryl Throneberry" one more time (or "Ryne Sandbag")
   24. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: May 09, 2012 at 12:21 AM (#4127100)
The thing with Kiner is that he not only talks about his contemporaries but he also tells stories and makes comparisons to the players of his own youth and childhood. Yeah, he's ancient and pretty hard to understand at this point, but when he tells a story, or makes a comparison about how some player today reminds him of Charlie Gehringer, we're getting something we can't get from anywhere else. The number of people who can tell first hand stories about players from the '30s and earlier is dwindling, and it's a good thing to be able to hear them, even if they're once a year and badly slurred.

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