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Pitch Talks in Brooklyn featured Hank Azaria, kept the crowd entertained

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The panel included Azaria, national writers, and two writers from the Mets’ beat.

Hank Azaria
Chris McShane

On Tuesday night, the end of the off day that followed the Mets’ Opening Day game, the Pitch Talks series returned to New York City at the Bell House in Brooklyn. A combination of baseball writers and Hank Azaria—the star of the new IFC series Brockmire and the voice of many of the Simpsons’ best characters—kept the crowd entertained throughout.

The night started off with Azaria and Jonah Keri giving a brief intro to the Brockmire pilot. In the show, Azaria plays a heavy-drinking baseball broadcaster who’s spent a decade all over the globe after melting down on air. When he returns to baseball, he’s relegated to calling play-by-play over the PA speakers of a gimmicky independent league team’s ballpark.

Jonah Keri asks Hank Azaria a question.
Chris McShane

And it the crowd’s reaction to the pilot was any indication, the show has some real promise, as it got plenty of laughs and inspired some good exchanges in the Q&A session with Azaria after it wrapped up. And a clip played later in the night featured Joe Buck, Keri, and a couple other familiar faces from MLB television coverage—with Buck saying things that were legitimately funny.

Jonah Keri, Hannah Keyser, and Jay Jaffe
Chris McShane

After a brief break, Keri came back out with Hannah Keyser of Deadspin and Jay Jaffe of SI for a general baseball discussion that touched on a variety of topics, including the pressures the writers face—or don’t face—from their editors in determining what they’re going to write about and how they should write it. And when the topic of prediction pieces came up, Jaffe pointed out that if he really knew what would happen over the course of a major league season, he would be making money in Las Vegas, not writing about baseball.

Jonah Keri, Anthony DiComo, Marc Carig, and Hank Azaria
Chris McShane

And last but not least, the event’s Mets panel—Keri with Anthony DiComo of mlb.com, Marc Carig of Newsday, and Hank Azaria, a big Mets fan—took the stage. For a while, the tone was pure #LOLMets, with starting pitching depth—DiComo’s opening line was “every Mets pitcher is hurt”—and the 2007-08 teams leading the way.

As the discussion got to its most depressing notes, Azaria at times tried to pull it out of those depths, but the major tone shift came when Carig started talking about just how good Noah Syndergaard is. That topic, along with Carig’s unfiltered approach on stage, really brought it all together and helped the panel finish strong. The #LOLMets stuff always plays, but it was equally entertaining to hear some things that acknowledged that the Mets are, indeed, doing plenty of things right these days.