New York Post
LET KEITH BE KEITH
A-Rod: Hernandez will be fantastic on FOX studio show
It won’t be Gary and Ron, but the faces will be just as friendly.
Keith Hernandez was added to the FOX Sports studio team for the postseason and will be working alongside Kevin Burkhardt, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz and Frank Thomas. Burkhardt and Hernandez worked together at SNY for eight years, while Rodriguez has been an adoring Hernandez fan since the first baseman’s playing days with the Mets.
“The fact that he was the final cog to their championship run in ’86. He was the captain, No. 17. There’s so much I like about him,” A-Rod told The Post. “He played both sides of the ball, he was like a second manager out there for Davey Johnson, I always loved his trips to the mound, his leadership, I remember one year he had 24 game-winning RBIs.
“I thought it was great he would drive in 100 runs by just hitting 10 home runs. I could write a book on this. Someone stop me.”
Hernandez is now a part of the decidedly New York feel to this postseason between FOX’s studio team and Ron Darling calling the Cubs-Nationals NLDS for TBS and David Cone added to FOX’s team for the Astros-Red Sox ALDS.
Two weeks ago the network asked Burkhardt if Hernandez would be a good fit. He didn’t hesitate with a yes, and the New Jersey native called Hernandez to see if he would be interested. When he was, the two sides quickly worked out a deal.
“Keith is going to be Keith. It will be cool for the rest of the country to see it, I am really looking forward to that,” Burkhardt said.
The SNY booth with Hernandez, Gary Cohen and Ron Darling is widely considered one of the best in baseball. Hernandez is known for his critiques, honesty and wit. The challenge he’ll face is displaying that within the confines of a studio show, as opposed to the rhythms of a threehour-plus game.
A-Rod is not overly concerned with that.
“We want him to be himself, come out and let it fly,” the former Yankees slugger said. “We want Keith to be Keith. We don’t want him to try to fit in or do anything else. He’s a legend, he’s extremely knowledgeable, he’s a baseball savant and we want him to be just that.”
The addition of Hernandez and Ortiz was necessitated when Pete Rose was let go by the network over the summer after the alleged ugly details of an affair Rose had with a minor in the 1970s resurfaced during his defamation case against John Dowd. Rodriguez has crossed paths with Hernandez at a couple of Mets games he had called this season for FOX and the two exchanged emails when Hernandez agreed to join him in the studio. The whole broadcast team went out to Mastro’s in Los Angeles on Wednesday to build chemistry the night before they debuted on the air together. Rodriguez has been lauded for his preparation in his brief time as an analyst, and it will be interesting to see how that blends with Hernandez’s offthe-cuff style.
“His content is off the charts. I don’t know if there’s too many people that can talk hitting as well as A-Rod,” Cone said. “He really is a student of the game. He is a gym rat, to borrow a basketball metaphor.
“He watches a lot of baseball and is just passionate about the sport. If you want to talk mechanics of hitting, he’s a good place to start.”