How Steve Gelbs will fill Mets’ Kevin Burkhardt void

By February 23, 2015Uncategorized

 

February 22nd, 2015

New York Post

 

Meet the Mets’ new field reporter, Steve Gelbs, SNY’s bright-eyed replacement for Kevin Burkhardt, now a rising star at FOX Sports.

“I would say this: I’m not trying to replace him. I’m certainly trying to be my own guy and build up a trust with the players and the fan base,” Gelbs told The Rumble. “To that end, he has put an awfully fantastic legacy out in front of me. I would say that in getting to know him last year, he was so great in terms of helping me along, not just with the players, but teaching me about everything that goes into this. I can’t thank him enough for that. So certainly while I hope to be my own person, I also have to continue upon what he has built up here over the last eight years.”

Gelbs was asked what his style would be.

“The biggest thing that I try and do, and when I really looked at this role this season, is make sure that I’m as fair as down the middle as possible, as informed as possible, and basically just make sure that I’m presenting everything that the fans are gonna need to know as correctly as can possibly be,” Gelbs said.

“We know it’s an extremely passionate fan base, and I like to think of myself as the conduit between them and the players. And so, I look at it as trying to be as fair as possible, but also trying to develop a relationship and a rapport with the guys that I think I did build a little bit last year in 50 or so games that I filled in for Kevin … try and build on those relationships and find the cool, interesting stories that fans would want to know that maybe take you a little bit beyond the game sometimes.”

Gelbs didn’t have to wait long for a magical 2014 moment while subbing for the popular Burkhardt.

“The second game I covered last year, Ike Davis, a day after being demoted to a bench role, comes in, pinch-hits, hits a walkoff grand slam, and for me — first of all it was a great learning experience to be sitting there — you’re expecting one result, and then like that, the tables have turned and you’re out there and you’re doing a live interview,” Gelbs said.

Gelbs was born in Rego Park and grew up a Yankees fan in Greenwich, Conn., but quickly added, “In the family, it was split all over the place, we had diehard Mets fans all over the place.”

Gelbs, 28, worked for MSG Varsity for four years after graduating from Syracuse. He also worked at MSG Network — MSG 150 for the Knicks and Rangers filling in for Bill Pidto and Rangers pre- and postgame and intermissions on radio filling in for Don LaGreca.

“I always wanted to be a sportscaster,” Gelbs said. “I think I was 11 or 12, and I realized I wasn’t playing pro — in any sport,” he said, and laughed. “I remember talking to my dad one day and I said, ‘You know, if I can’t play these sports, I might as well get paid to go watch ‘em.’ I somehow researched and I looked at where the best sportscasters went to school, and I saw Bob Costas went to Syracuse, and from the time I was 12 years old, I decided I wanted to go to Syracuse and do what I’ve been doing.

“For me, it’s been a dream come true, not just to be pursuing this and doing it professionally, but to be in New York where I am right now, in the city that I grew up loving— I fully expected when I went to college that I was gonna have to bounce around from here to there, and it would take a decade, maybe more, to get back — and to have the opportunity right out of school to do something in the area and make the local connections, and even high school-wise to see some of these guys go up and play professionally now, and to be able to connect with some of the guys in the Mets locker room — Steven Matz played in Long Island, you know who these guys are. It’s been really cool to stay in the area, and to now be able to do it for one of the local franchises, it’s an absolute dream come true, I pinch myself every day.”

And to do it as part of the Emmy award-winning Gary Cohen-Ron Darling-Keith Hernandez broadcast team, no less.

“These guys’ll propel you forward if you just listen to what they have to say and you follow in how they prepare and what they do,” Gelbs said.

Gelbs is no longer a Yankees fan. He sounds like a fan of these 2015 Mets.

“Very exciting what the potential could be,” Gelbs said. “If everybody’s healthy, I don’t see why they can’t win 5-10 more games and be right there in the thick of things. I think it’s a really exciting time, and especially with this young pitching. For me, I feel like I’m right on the cusp of covering a team that’s gonna have some really exciting years ahead, and that’s really exciting for me.”