Rose over the 'Moon about Redding

Rose over the 'Moon about Redding

NEW YORK -- Even now, sportscaster Howie Rose is planning his ad-libs, plotting when to offer a "Bang, zoom" or a "Har, har, hardee har har." He might throw in a "Hello, ball" for good measure and give us some "Hamina, hamina, hamina" every so often.

One of these days, Rose is guaranteed to connect Tim Redding, the newest Mets pitcher, to Joyce Randolph during a Mets broadcast on WFAN. Randolph is the actress who played Trixie Norton on the beloved and iconic sitcom "The Honeymooners." Redding is Randolph's grand-nephew, so a link already exists. But Rose says he is likely to wear it out this season, now that Redding has signed with the Mets.

"This guy's gonna hate me before we get to the All-Star break," Rose said Monday. "There are 39 episodes, I'm sure there'll be more than a few lines we can use."

At times, Citi Field may be transported from Flushing to Bensonhurst, home of the Nortons and the Kramdens. Rose, a "Honeymooners" devotee, will see to that. When the Mets signed Redding, Rose immediately e-mailed Tom McCarthy, his former colleague in the booth, and Chris Majkowski, the WFAN producer of Mets broadcasts: "They just signed Trixie's great nephew." McCarthy and Majkowski are 'Mooners, too.

"It opens up a whole new world for us," Rose said.

That world hardly is unknown to Redding, though he was born in 1978, some 22 years after the final episode aired. He knows who his great-grand aunt is, even if he doesn't know her as well as he might. "And now that I'm playing in New York, I figured I better brush up on my 'Honeymooners,'" he said Monday. So he has ordered the 39 classic episodes on a DVD box set.

"I've got a daughter, 7, and a son, 5," Redding said. "I'd like them to be able to sit down and watch and see what other people have watched. It's something to be proud of. I watched them growing up on Nick at Nite. If I was flipping through the channels, I'd see an episode or two."

Redding, who grew up in Rochester, N.Y., hasn't see Randolph since "my pre-teen years at a family Christmas get-together. I remember the kids were running around, trying to get her autograph on napkins or anything you could write on," he said. "I've asked my grandmother about her, and she said 'Trixie' is very down-to-earth, real person who wasn't into the glitz and glamor. She enjoys being herself."

Randolph, 84, lives with her son in New York City, near Central Park. She had been a regular at Sardi's, a restaurant in the Theater District, for years. She is the last surviving member of the four primary characters -- Ralph Kramden, played by Jackie Gleason, the "Great One"; Ed Norton, played by Art Carney; and Alice Kramden, played by Audrey Meadows.

When Ron Darling, the former Mets pitcher and now a baseball analyst for SNY, received an Emmy two years ago, it was presented by Randolph. Redding recalled, "She isn't much of a baseball fan."

Rose was unaware of that connection, but aware of most things Kramden-esqe, from the "Chef of the Future" ("Can you core a apple?") to "Pow! Right in the kisser" to "Baby, you're the greatest."

He was aware of Redding's link to the "Honeymooners" in 2004, when the pitcher made a cameo appearance at Shea. After Redding was removed from his start, Rose mentioned the link on the broadcast and lamented how few lines Randolph spoke from week to week on "The Honeymooners."

Said Rose, speaking of cameo appearances, "Mrs. Manicotti had more lines then Trixie."

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.