Kevin Burkhardt, the heart and soul of TWISNY. Checking in with Kevin is like checking in with heaven.
Monday, April 9th
Daniel Murphy hit the game-winning single that night and received a shaving cream pie-to-the-face from Justin Turner during the postgame interview with Kevin. Murphy used Kevin's windbreaker as a towel (.gif via KeithsMoustache):
Friday, April 27th
Turk Wendell was in the house, sporting a John Deere visor and his trademark animal tooth necklace, and Kevin spoke with him:
Turk is coaching youth baseball in Colorado and was at John Franco's Mets Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Citi Field later in the season. He is forever a cool dude. Here he is after the interview enjoying a bunch of "you guys were just on television!" text messages with his players:
Saturday, April 28th
Kevin joined the booth and put on his thinking cap to explain the science behind Coors Field's effect on flying baseballs:
Here are some of his quotes from the segment:
"Science offers some different opinions."
"I was talking with Amy Freeze, a meteorologist in New York." [note: It's no "Storm Field", but it'll do]
"It's not the air, it's actually the altitude."
"For every 1000 feet above sea level, a moving object goes 3% farther."
"Here in Denver, a regular fly ball would go 15% farther than it does at Citi Field."
"The air and humidity are two different factors."
"Humid air can make the ball go farther."
"The humidor's job is taking the rock hard, golf-ball-like baseballs and making them somewhere around 50% humidity."
"When you think of humid, you think ‘heavy air', right? But it's actually the opposite. The water molecules are light. So the dry air is actually the more dense air, which cause the air to lack that movement you're looking for."
"The altitude is making the ball go very far, but the dry air is holding it back."
".... Baseball Prospectus ...."
Well done. TWISNY looks forward to more science lessons from Professor Kevin!
Tuesday, May 1st
Kevin had some harsh words for the visitors' bullpen at Minute Maid Park.
Kevin Burkhardt: It's a heinous place. It's like an indoor leftover garage. As one Met put it, it's like rats trapped in a cage. It's dimly light. There's nowhere to go. It's a tough place to be. It's like an old YMCA, kinda smelly.
Kevin also shared a sad story involving the Mets' bullpen and an ill-fated bird:
Kevin Burkhardt: When the pitchers get bored, you never know what can happen. For instance, yesterday Tim Byrdak saw a wounded bird on the warning track. So they took the bird into the bullpen and tried to heal it back to health. Unfortunately, the bird died in the eighth inning. The players took off their hats and paid their respects.
Gary Cohen: [deadpan] Glad to hear they were respectful.
Tuesday, May 22nd
It was the return of Professor Kevin as he lectured on the Pirates' analytics department. Also, he wasn't ready for his close-up:
Kevin: Sabermetrics obviously becomes more prevalent in the game, day by day. And every team in Major League Baseball has some sort of department dedicated to that. Some teams outsource all of it, some teams outsource some of it, some teams have a separate department for analytics. I talked to the Pirates about that. Dan Fox is their guy. His official title is Director of Baseball Systems Development, he’s been here since 2008. He’s got a background in a couple different areas, computer science for one, and also he was a writer for Baseball Prospectus.
He said his goal was to develop a system and also to develop their own analytics. His job depends on the calendar. Right now they’re heavy into draft stuff. They’re trying to look at numbers and predict what guys will do in the future. They combine that with scouts and subjective tape.
A big part of their job is coming up with advance scouting reports. They talk with the advance scouts and they crunch all the numbers. He said their goal is to put numbers into pictures. A spray chart, for example. It’s easier to look at a picture rather than just looking at a bunch of numbers. That’s the main goal when it comes down to it.
He’s got five people in his department. They’ve actually developed their own metrics, so while you can go on a website like Baseball-Reference, they have a bunch of stats, the Pirates actually have their own metrics that they won’t unveil to the public. The Mets obviously have it too. Ben Baumer is the main guy and it all gets channeled through John Ricco, but it’s a fascinating part of this game.
Monday, June 4th
Kevin spoke with a group of wild and crazy guys who had an important question for the booth: "Where are all the women at Citi Field?"
Wednesday, June 6th
Kevin had a little Captain in him:
That might explain why he decided to respond to someone on Twitter with our favorite handle ever: "@FartBurglar":
Tuesday, June 12th
Kevin's been watching his figure lately -- too many Mex Burgers at Citi Field -- and has chosen the drastic Aquafina Diet to try to shed some pounds:
Bon appétit, Kévin!
We're all for having a little taste once in awhile, but not when it affects sideline reporting. Here's Kevin looking at an imaginary camera after enjoying himself a little too much at the Rays' Captain Morgan-themed bar:
The Captain + Aquafina Diet = bad news.
Monday, June 25th
"Guys, I spoke with some players in the clubhouse before the game and they said when they raise their hands like this and slap them together it's called a 'high five.' Who knew? Back upstairs to you guys."
Sunday, July 29th
"Guys I'm down here with a Diamondbacks photographer and he says that if I don't get the same haircut as him he's going to kill me. So I'll be in the barber's chair in between innings if you need me. Back upstairs to you guys."
Wednesday, August 1st
Kevin told the story of a Mets fan from Australia who follows the team from a great distance. Here is Kevin with Steve from Down Under:
At first, we wanted to poke fun at the story but something about it was touching. Here is a transcript of the segment:
Kevin Burkhardt: I've spent the last couple of innings with Steve from Australia. He's about 1,000 kilometers away from Sydney. It's interesting how a fan begins. He's all the way around the world, he's been a Met fan since 1987, watches us all the time, by the way, on the MLB app on his phone. The night games are on at 8:30 in the morning over there, so he wakes up, gets the coffee and donuts, and watches the games. It's cool how it all started.
Back in '87 he met a Mets fan who was on vacation from New York, they started talking, and he got into it. Think about back then. There was no Internet, no MLB app for your phone, you can't watch.
All that he would get in the local papers was the scores for Mets games. He would buy USA Today, which had the box scores. It was very expensive. But they were three days behind. He did anything to keep up with the team. A little bit later, his buddies in the U.S. would send him game tapes. There was also a company he signed up for that sent him tapes.
He started getting into fantasy baseball with a couple guys in the States. The only way he could keep up with his team was via fax. He said one time he had Jeff Kent on his team, he was out for a week-and-a-half, he had no idea he was out! But he stayed a Mets fan, through-and-through, just kinda cool how a fan begins halfway around the world.
Keith Hernandez: They're everywhere! Mets fans.
Gary Cohen: Everywhere I tell you.
TWISNY salutes Steve from Australia for his Mets dedication!
Thursday, August 9th
Kevin interviewed his imaginary friend Bobo, who was sitting in the MLB authenticator seat in the camera well:
Kevin was so excited about the interview that he didn't interrupt it to call game action. Things started to get awkward after three innings of non-stop interview before Kevin finally sent it back to the booth when it was time for Bobo's afternoon nap.
Tuesday, August 14th
"Guys I'm reporting from the deck of the Disney cruise ship Disney Magic. Me and my buddies just set sail for a 'bros only' vacation. As you can see, some of us have already taken advantage of the drink specials on board. We'll see you in a week. Back upstairs to you guys."
Monday, September 3rd
Kevin bought a new pair of black jeans and wanted the audience to notice. Here he is subtlely drawing attention to his purchase:
"Guys I spoke with Justin Turner before the game and he agrees that blue jeans are overrated. Black is in. I'm gonna stand in the outfield seats and put out the vibe. Back upstairs to you guys."
Saturday, September 8th
Kevin joined Tom Verducci in the booth to call the Mets-Braves game on Fox. Here is a shot of the moment when the freckles in their eyes were perfectly aligned:
We rated their performance somewhere between Joe Buck/Tim McCarver and Gary, Keith, and Ron. It's a wide range. Congrats to Kevin for his national television broadcasting debut!
Wednesday, September 19th
Kevin interviewed Matt Harvey after the star rookie's final start of the season:
We can't quite put our finger on the reason why, but it was a more intimate exchange than usual. Kevin seemed really happy to be there. Here is a full transcript:
Kevin Burkhardt: Matt, after you got Ruiz, you knew it was the last pitch of this year. You had a nice slow walk. Did you take it in? What were you thinking on the way to the dugout?
Matt Harvey: I didn't know what to say or feel, it was pretty exciting. I got chills as I was walking off. I knew I was done. Obviously I wanted to keep going but it's not my call. I was happy to keep the team within winning distance.
KB: How does your body feel right now?
MH: It feels awesome. Really good. It's kind of surprising after 170 innings I still feel really good, really strong.
KB: I'm sure you understand what the organization is doing, but did you have any say, as far as still pitching, or did they say this is it for you?
MH: It was them. Obviously if they asked me I probably would've fought them until my face turn blue. It's not my decision. Whatever they decide I'm fine with. I'll just get ready for next year.
KB: What did you learn about yourself in these ten starts?
MH: Keep battling, learning. Pick up on each hitter. Pay attention to their tendencies. They do a great job here going over hitters before games. Shoppach was awesome tonight and has been for all the games he's caught me. It seems like almost every one. It's just been a lot of fun.
KB: When you have a night like tonight, you allow just the one hit to open the game. Did you feel real good in the bullpen? If so, after you allow that one hit, the home run, is it hard to keep telling yourself you feel good and to get back on track?
MH: Nobody likes to go 1-0 on the first hitter. I knew it was going to be a long game. I wanted to be out there as long as possible. Just had to pound the zone. I knew a good defense was right behind me making every play. I was fortunate enough to do that.
KB: Matt when you came up you had that electric debut in Arizona. There was talk where Dan and Terry said, hey we want Matt to use the changeup, to use the secondary stuff. Do you feel like through ten starts you've found a balance between your fastball, changeup, curveball, and slider?
MH: Yeah, absolutely. Tonight it was fastball-changeup mostly. I was able to mix them in and throw strikes. I was getting those good ground balls over to Murph and Ike. They made every play. Other than that, I tried to throw as many strikes as I could, and they made all the plays.
KB: What will your offseason regimen be now? Is there a certain period of rest before you get back on the horse and start to work out?
MH: I don't want to but I'm sure they're going to force that a little bit. We'll see. I like to keep my body in shape every day and do whatever I can.
KB: You were in spring training this year so you obviously got a taste of that before you got up here. How much did this experience help you? How much will this experience help you going into next season?
MH: There's still a lot of work to do. A lot of the starts were five, six innings. For me that's unacceptable. Seven or eight innings is what I'm going to work for. Going into the offseason I'll be doing everything I can to pound the zone, get early outs like I said, and stay longer in the game.
KB: Matt congratulations on the effort all this year. Hopefully the Mets can finish this off and get you a win in your final start.
MH: We'll be all right. We've got a good defense. [as Daniel Murphy airmails a throw to first base over Ike Davis' head].
That's all for now. This concludes our TWISNY year-end retrospective. We'll see you next spring. Thank you for reading.