Islanders play-by-play voice Howie Rose won't be returning to the Barclays Center broadcast booth for the 2016-17 season, per a report from Newsday sports media reporter Neil Best.
Rose has been doing Islanders games on MSG Network since 1995 and Mets games full time on the radio since 2006 (now at WOR, but originally at WFAN, where he started in 1987). The grueling yearlong schedule has become too much to handle, according to the man himself.
"It's the textbook definition of mixed emotions. That's exactly what it is," Rose told Newsday. "I don't know that I've ever been more conflicted about a decision I've had to make in my life. But I'm confident I made really the only one I could make at this point in time in my career and life. Strictly, it's the idea that I could have an offseason like most people who do what I do for a living . . . At the end of the day it's something that I do with, as I say, the epitome of mixed emotions."
MSG has not named a replacement yet and will start a search soon.
Rose was the radio voice of the Rangers starting in 1989 and his almost unhinged call of Stephane Matteau's conference finals-winning goal in 1994 lives on in New York sports history. That connection to the other guys kept Rose at a distance to a lot of Islanders fans, even after 21 years calling games in Nassau County and now Brooklyn.
Which is a shame because, in my (admittedly) totally biased opinion, he's one of the best play-by-play guys in the league. And the easygoing rapports he had with original partner Eddie Westfall, then with Billy Jaffe and finally with Butch Goring, made him fun to listen to. Yes, the stories of the old days could get in the way of the actual play-by-play and stretch on a little long (especially if you were an opposing fan watching an Islanders broadcast).
But there's no question that Rose is a true fan of the sport and the players and ex-players he was working with. He wanted to enjoy the game and soak in the old war stories just as much as you did. And sometimes he didn't enjoy watching the games any more than you did, either.
He was also a true Long Islander, with a sense of sarcasm to rival the best of them.
I mean, damn, Howie.
He was very vocal about his disdain for the forces that made the Islanders leave Nassau Coliseum while also being as excited for the team's current era as he was about its dynasty era.
Best's story was updated to add more quotes from Rose, and if you were thinking Barclays Center had anything to do with his decision, you're wasting your time:
"This transcends anything like that," he said. "It's just going to work. I went to one place that took a little more time to get to than the other, but that was it. I really love the fact we have that vantage point [at Barclays Center]. It was fabulous. We felt so in the game. I'm going to miss that.
"It had nothing to do with Brooklyn. It was about managing my life in a way that was more amenable to sustaining a family." (Rose has two grown daughters.)
It's fitting that Rose was able to at least call the team's first season in Brooklyn and their biggest moment since he took over the mic.
Good luck to his replacement. This won't be an easy gig.