Keith Hernandez doesn’t know exactly what he’ll do when he decides to move on from the Mets broadcast booth. He just knows what it won’t involve: baseball.
Hernandez, in a wide-ranging interview with Sports Illustrated, told stories about his glory days as a Major League Baseball player living in Manhattan, discussed his love of history, offered some insight into his forthcoming memoirs and bristled aplenty at some of the recent changes to the game he played and analyzes.
He also hinted at a reduced role on Mets’ broadcasts in the future, one that eventually will not include the sport.
“When I quit doing this, I won’t watch a baseball game ever again,” Hernandez told SI. “Like Mitzi Gaynor, I’ll wash that game right out of my hair.
Hernandez, who splits his time between Southampton during the season and Florida in the offseason, said he still enjoys working with Gary Cohen and Ron Darling for SNY.
“I do [enjoy it],” Hernandez said. “In a few years from now I might not want to do 110 games a year. But I enjoy it.”
Hernandez said his friendship with Darling has grown significantly since they became broadcast partners. He also heaped praise on Cohen for being the “maestro” who keeps the broadcast flowing, while the two ex-teammates look for opportunities to tell the stories Mets fans adore.
Likable co-workers aside, there are clearly many aspects of the sport that frustrate Hernandez.
“I don’t like a lot of things that are changed in the game,” Hernandez said. “I don’t like the length of the game. I don’t like the challenges. I don’t like the direction the game is going with the home runs. It’s just too many teams. The four-team expansion, there’s just not enough talent to go around. Just the reliance on bullpens now, protecting the starting pitchers.
“I mean, if you look at the standings in both leagues, there’s hardly anybody over .500. They’re under .500 for a good reason. Like I always say, three-games series, a second division team will show you in a three-game series why they’re a second division team. There’s a lot of them.”
He also talked about the lack of speed and fundamentals, and how general managers are too hands-on. That, along with the time commitment, are big reasons he says he never wants to be a manager.
Hernandez also said he didn’t think he’d communicate well with the players, and would lack patience for some of the poor play he sees.
It’s possible that he will expand more about some of these topics in his forthcoming memoirs, which he is currently working on. On that subject, Hernandez said he is not going to hold anything back.
“I went through a lot of hard times. I went through a lot of struggle. A few times I was in tears. It brought me to my knees just about,” he said.
“I had great moments. I had not-great moments. I was part of the Pittsburgh drug trials. You do a book like this and you have to be willing to put it all out there.”