Ron Darling says his start as a MLB game analyst couldn’t have started any crazier. He agreed a day before the 2005 season started to work with Mel Proctor on the Washington Nationals’ broadcasts.
But Darling, the former New York Mets pitcher who retired in 1995 and, living in Santa Monica, had done some TV work for FSN’s “Best Damn Sports Show Period,” says he wasn’t ready for grind of the 150-game TV season that it entailed. He classifies his work that year as “brutal” but with work and comfort, it led to a pretty nice gig he has now with the New York Mets. With Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez, Darling works for the Mets’ STV as well as WPIX, doing more than 100 games. TBS hired him to work the Dodgers-Cubs NLDS, and they’re adding him to the booth with Chip Caray and Buck Martinez for the ALCS that begins Friday.
As much of a pain that first season may have bruised Darling’s ego, the performance he had in the 1988 NLCS against the Dodgers continues to “haunt me to this day,” he admits in a story we’ll have Friday.
You can look up what happened to Darling and the Mets yourself in that series at the Baseball Reference website (linked here).
Here’s also a story on Darling by USA Today that ran Wednesday, calling him the “accidental announcer” (linked here).
And a link to Neil Best’s Newsday column on Darling this week (linked here).