Bob Raissmann writes about the YES Network -
Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network suits rotate six different analysts in their Bombers booth. If they put a premium on chemistry and overall performance they would use only two — Paul O’Neill and David Cone.
Their work together during the recent Texas-Yankees series again showed their ability to make each other better. They make it hard to bail — even during a Yankees blowout. This kind of chemical balance can’t be taught. It doesn’t come from a micromanaging producer. And it isn’t the result of being led around by a play-by-play voice.
This all comes naturally for O’Neill and Cone. For example, O’Neill often plays the fool when he goes solo with Michael Kay. O’Neill’s forced persona, a shticky substance, takes precedence over his edge as an analyst. When teamed with Cone, O’Neill’s sense of humor flows naturally and doesn’t dominate.
The two analysts make Kay better, too. He sticks to his role as third wheel giving his partners room to maneuver.
Cone is most effective playing off O’Neill, counter analyzing. They don’t often debate, but see the game from two different perspectives. Cone, who also talks about the business of baseball, is a smart guy (at least when it comes to baseball), but he never talks down to viewers. He’s got plenty of wise guy in him. When it collides with O’Neill’s bumpkinish approach it produces a very unique insight into the game.
They can be very subtle. It’s an outstanding quality. O’Neill and Cone leave plenty of space for viewers to read between the lines. Like Tuesday night when they were paying tribute to their former colleague Jim Kaat, who was working the game for MLB Network.
They went to great lengths to describe Kaat’s broadcasting genius. It got to the point where their implication was clear: If Kaat is so good why isn’t he still with YES?
Then again, that would add another analyst to the cast of voices. Seriously though, we wonder how good Cone and O’Neill would become if they worked a Big Boys schedule (like Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling on SNY) where they did 80 or more games?
The results could be sensational. Yet the reality is O’Neill likely wouldn’t want to work that many games and, for whatever reason, the brainiacs running YES are allergic to continuity.
And overjoyed because there’s no luxury tax on announcers.
I love Paul O’Neill in the YES booth. He’s the closest thing to the Scooter since the Scooter. And, Cone is refreshing.
If John Flaherty and Al Leiter were sent packing, I don’t think it would bother me all that much. But, I would hate to lose Ken Singleton.
Maybe the answer is to make it O’Neill, Kay and Cone – and fill in with Singleton only when O’Neill or Cone cannot make it?