Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Close Call in Mets Booth

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Close Call in Mets Booth

Article excerpt

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - The 44-year-old man was talking baseball. This was not unusual. On summer evenings, he sits in the home radio booth at Citi Field. He often talks baseball for hours.

What was unusual was the location: a medical office in North Texas. A few weeks earlier, Josh Lewin spotted something on his upper neck, a growth beneath his left ear. He suspected it was a swollen gland - a nuisance and nothing more.

Lewin mentioned it to the doctor when he went in for his annual physical. The doctor sent him to a specialist.

The specialist was familiar with Lewin's work. To put him at ease, the specialist peppered him with questions about the Texas Rangers.

"Two minutes into the chitchat, just out of nowhere, he goes, 'So, you've got a tumor,'" Lewin said.

Eight months earlier, he had finally wrapped his arms around his dream job. Lewin - the kid who was raised on Kiner's Korner, the kid who was weaned on Bob Murphy's voice - was calling his first Mets game on WFAN, getting paid to do "the only thing I ever wanted to do."

And now he had a tumor on his parotid gland, one of the body's three major salivary glands. According to the website cancer.org, "Most of these tumors are benign [non-cancerous], but the parotid gland is still where most malignant [cancerous] salivary gland tumors start."

"So my initial worry was, 'Am I going to be able to create saliva?'" Lewin said. "I can't really do a three-hour broadcast with a dry mouth. That's not going to work."

The prognosis was always positive, but the news still sent a shiver up Lewin's spine.

"I think every one of us in this business gets a little bit neurotic when we get a sore throat, because it's our livelihood," said Howie Rose, Lewin's partner in the booth. "We like to think we can do other things. I'll just speak for myself and say I can't."

Lewin tried not to wander down that path. …

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