A person close to Comcast with knowledge of the situation told NJ Advance Media on Wednesday that it was only the second time in Comcast’s history it has dropped a network. (The other was “Estrella,” a network broadcasted in Denver, Salt Lake and Houston.)
Comcast has cited low ratings for Yankees games as part of its reasoning for taking a hard line with the network.
“Even during baseball season, even in playoff hunt in August, [viewership] was just was minimal,” the person close to Comcast said. “Even less than Nets. It’s just not watched.”
I remember when Ryan Ruocco and Tara Cannistraci were just annoying at the Stadium.
Mr. Potato Head’s protégé is flat out painful to listen to as he does Spring Training games on YES.
Via the Post –
Michael Kay opened his first YES Network simulcast on Monday with a not-so veiled shot at Mike Francesa.
Kay tossed a Diet Coke, Francesa’s signature beverage, into a garbage can held up by co-host Don La Greca. Neither Kay nor La Greca referenced what they were doing, but the message was clear.
Francesa said on his show that he expects to be back on TV by April 1 after his relationship with YES ended on Jan. 31. MSG has been rumored landing spot for the show.
Francesa fired back at Kay in an interview with Newsday’s Neil Best.
“Classless, loser move from two guys I have been burying in the ratings for over a decade,” he told the paper.
I have to admit, it was a bit of a low road move by Kay…
Via the L.A. Times –
Regional sports networks continue to be the hottest ticket in media.
21st Century Fox said Friday that it was taking a majority stake in the New York Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, known as the YES Network, a little more than a year after Fox first invested in the popular regional sports channel.
Fox said it would increase its stake to 80%, up from the 49% interest it bought in December 2012.
Fox declined to say how much it was paying for its increased interest. It paid $584 million for the 49% stake in 2012.
At that time, the entertainment company headed by Rupert Murdoch also paid $250 million to help cover some programming costs. That put Fox’s initial investment in the channel at $834 million, according to regulatory documents.
Fox had long planned to own a majority stake in the channel, but it increased its holdings more rapidly than initially envisioned. The value of sports channels has accelerated in recent years.
When Fox first invested in the YES Network, some analysts valued the channel at more than $3 billion.
Yankee Global Enterprises is to hold the remaining 20% stake.
Does this mean that Yankees broadcasts will soon be fun of promos for FOX shows?
Fifty. Way too young.
I hope the Yankees write his family a nice check.
Via Bob Raissman -
It soon will be splitsville for the Sports Pope and the Yankees Sports & Entertainment Network.
The 10-year+ simulcast relationship between WFAN’s Mike (Sports Pope) Francesa and the YES Network will be over by the end of January, the Daily News has learned. YES will replace Francesa’s afternoon drive show with ESPN-98.7’s “The Michael Kay Show.”
A TV executive familiar with the situation confirmed the switch. He said the move is strictly a “matter of economics,” with the rights fee WFAN is asking for Francesa’s simulcast becoming too pricey for YES and far exceeding what YES will pay to air the simulcast of Kay’s ESPN soiree. According to the executive nothing has been finalized: “But it’s going to happen.”
WFAN’s simulcast contract with YES for Francesa’s show expires January 31.
Behind the scenes there has been speculation Francesa giving Alex Rodriguez an exclusive platform on his show may have rankled YES and Yankee brass, thus speeding up The Pope’s departure.
“Not true,” the TV exec said. “The framework of the new (simulcast) deal (with ESPN) was already in the works before that ever happened.”
Good timing for Francesa. He’ll get a stage at CBS like Boomer and Carton. Or, he’ll go to MSG. Either way, he’ll get his money. And, by disconnecting from YES, he can empty his barrels on the Yankees, who will probably suck this year and for a while after, without fear of Levine and Trost giving him a hard time.
Via Richard Sandomir -
The Yankees’ 85-77 record prevented them from making the American League playoffs. A disappointment, yes, but grounds to shun them? No.
Yet a staggering 111,000 viewers disappeared from the Yankees’ telecasts for each game on the YES Network, leaving an average of 244,000 devoted souls to watch. That 31.2 percent plunge suggests deep dissatisfaction with a team that played most of the season without many of its stars and fielded lineups filled with the likes of Zoilo Almonte, Luis Cruz, David Huff and Brennan Boesch.
A thirty percent drop? That’s gotta catch the attention of Spreadsheet Hal, right?
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman will meet the media to discuss the team’s season today at noon. The YES Network will have live coverage.
I really hope the MSM doesn’t take this one as an end-of-the-year free lunch fest and gives Cashman softballs.
Please, please, please…somebody (Joel? Klap? Wally?) ask him some really hard hitting questions that he cannot dance around…
Via Bob R the other day –
Norman Julius Esiason and Craig Carton could be on the verge of leaving the Madison Square Garden Network and heading for the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network, according to industry sources.
The Daily News has learned YES suits have made an offer that, if accepted, would bring WFAN’s simulcast of “The “Boomer and Carton” morning drive-time show to the pinstripe network.
Esiason/Carton’s MSG contract expires in the middle of this month. Traditionally, the incumbent network, in this case MSG, has an exclusive negotiating period, but that window has expired.
This has allowed YES, which already airs the simulcast of Mike (Sports Pope) Francesa’s WFAN afternoon drive show, to begin negotiations to acquire rights to Esiason/Carton’s FAN simulcast. YES did make a competitive bid, a TV mole said.
MSG now has the right to match YES’ offer if it wants to keep “The Boomer and Carton Show.”
MSG brass now has a big decision to make. Stepping back, and looking at this situation on a number of levels, it would be stunning if MSG declines to keep Esiason/Carton on its network.
The only impediment would be if YES has offered CBS, WFAN’s parent company, outrageously stupid money for the simulcast rights. Then again, when it comes to getting what he wants, price is usually not an object for James (Guitar Jimmy) Dolan.
So if matching YES’ offer is not cost prohibitive for Dolan and Co., then the Garden has a number of solid reasons to retain the rights to “The Boomer and Carton Show.”
If this happens, I wonder if B&C will continue to be so pro-Mets? In any event, it beats airing infomercials about male sexual performance.
Via Neil Best -
The Yankees and CBS Radio are close to a deal that would put the Yankees on WFAN starting in 2014, a person familiar with the negotiations told Newsday.
The arrangement would bump the Mets off the station that has carried their games since WFAN’s inception in 1987.
Lonn Trost, the Yankees’ chief operating officer, said Tuesday a deal for the team’s radio rights is “close,” but he would not confirm or deny that WFAN is the likely landing place.
“Right now we’re in negotiations and everything is confidential,” Trost said. “Part of the agreement we’re drafting has a confidentiality agreement. I can’t even get into it. I am close with some entity for next year.”
Still, he cautioned, “Things have gone in so many directions with this negotiation . . . I can’t tell you today if it will be the same thing tomorrow.”
It is not clear where the Mets would land, but options include ESPN Radio and one or more of the New York stations — including WOR — owned by Clear Channel Communications, which earlier in the process made a serious bid for the Yankees’ rights.
All indications are that John Sterling would remain the team’s play-by-play man. Less certain is the status of his partner, Suzyn Waldman, but if the team gives its blessing they will continue the on-air partnership that began in 2005.
The Yankees currently are carried by WCBS Radio, which like WFAN, is owned by CBS. The current one-year contract is believed to pay the team $13 to $14 million.
Does this mean that A-Rod won’t be allowed to call Big Mike anymore?
Empty seats and declining ratings. Via the Times today -
At dusk on the first day of summer at Yankee Stadium, there was a gentle breeze blowing to left field as a rim of fading sunlight marched across the bleachers in right. It was, in every respect, a sweet Friday night for baseball, with the Yankees taking on a formidable division rival, the Tampa Bay Rays.
The only thing wrong with the picture was the number of empty seats that remained visible in the stands as the game progressed — and the missing names from the Yankees’ lineup.
The attendance for the game was announced as being slightly more than 41,000, or about 9,000 short of capacity. That was a solid number for a regular-season game but not as robust as it might have been in other seasons in the Bronx, where the Yankees usually reign as the most distinguished name in American sports.
Through 41 home games this season, the Yankees have drawn nearly 106,000 fewer fans than at this point a year ago, a 6.1 percent drop that is almost twice as large as the overall decline in baseball. More than half a dozen other teams have had bigger attendance losses than the Yankees, but without exception they are teams that went from good to bad, at least for a while, or from bad to worse, or that play in cities without a notably intense fan base.
The Yankees do not fit in any of those categories, which makes their attendance falloff more intriguing. And while they also experienced a decrease in attendance the last two years, the one this season is more pronounced.
Even more sobering for the team: the television ratings for their games have plummeted. Through June 25, the ratings on their YES Network were down 40 percent to 2.52 from 4.17 at this point last season, and from 4.08, 4.50 and 4.72 in the three previous seasons, with each rating point this year representing 73,843 households.
Yet the sizable drop in the number of people watching the Yankees is not reflected by the team’s performance. Battered by injuries to many of their stars, they have, for the most part, played admirably, holding on to first place until late May. Even now, while in a slump, they remain in contention with a lineup filled with castoffs and call-ups, although that could be a reason fewer people are paying attention.
For now, it is left to Levine, the forceful team president, to argue that whatever the ratings and attendance figures show, there is no cause for alarm. He has presided as the Yankees’ president for the last 13 ½ years, a period in which the team’s attendance soared to more than four million for four straight seasons, then leveled off when the newer, smaller, higher-priced stadium opened during the recession.
Last fall the Yankees failed to sell out several playoff games, although that was generally attributed to the fact that the team had to play five postseason games in a row at home, without a day off, leaving fans overwhelmed.
In addressing the current numbers, Levine noted the numerous instances of bad weather in April and May, the attendance drop-offs in baseball-strong cities like Boston and Philadelphia, and the Yankees’ decision to spurn StubHub and establish their own online ticket resale operation with Ticketmaster. The move was intended to encourage fans to buy more tickets directly from the Yankees, and Levine said it was paying dividends but that the initial adjustment might have hurt attendance.
As for the larger point, the need for big names in the Bronx, he seemed as confident as Jeter normally is before a big at-bat.
“This is the Yankees,” he said. “We’ve been around a lot of years. There will be more stars.”
But not just yet. And when the Yankees return home Friday to begin a 10-day homestand that will carry them into the All-Star Game break, there may still be a noticeable number of empty seats at Yankee Stadium and too few viewers turning on the TV. In every respect, it has been an unusual season in the Bronx.
The only interesting part left to this is finding out who will be the fall guy amongst the Yankees front office.
Via Bob Raissman –
You don’t need a room full of Sabermetricians, those binders Joe (Joey Looseleafs) Girardi relies on, or even the most astute baseball minds in town to know exactly where the Yankees are at.
All it takes is a radio. The words exiting the mouths of John (Pa Pinstripe) Sterling and Suzyn (Ma Pinstripe) Waldman on WCBS-AM, along with their tone of voice, mimics the team’s heartbeat, or lack there of.
While the illustrious history of Ma and Pa is marked by a severe case of pom-pom breath, even they can hit low points. When this happens, when things are just not going well for the Bombers, the sounds can be irrational, even defeatist.
Sterling took Yankee loyalists down that dark alley Sunday afternoon. It was a command performance by Pa. On Old-Timers’ Day, no less. This is an afternoon dedicated to honor tradition and the past. With Yogi, Whitey, Larsen, Guidry, Sweet Luigi and assorted other Bronx heroes (including Derek Jeter) in the house, Sterling did what many would consider unthinkable, even blasphemous.
He quit on the Yankees.
Or was he just being realistic?
The frustration level, produced by the Pinstriped Pea-Shooter Offense, had been building in the booth all afternoon. In the top of the eighth inning, with the Yankees down 3-1, it got to him. Frustration turned to resignation.
“Isn’t it something, Suzyn,” Sterling, raising his voice, said. “If the Yankees would have won this game today they would have been tied with Boston in the loss column for first place and one (game) ahead of Baltimore — amazing.”
Again, Sterling did not make this pronouncement on the postgame show. This was the eighth inning. The Yankees still had two cracks at coming back from a two-run deficit. And just in case you didn’t hear him, Sterling made the same point (the exact same way) a couple of minutes later.
Guess he thought this was a risk worth taking. If the Yankees made up the two-run deficit and won the game, he would’ve come up looking like a buffoon.
Sterling was willing to gamble. Even he, in his 24th season of screeching platitudes, has no faith in the Yankees offense.
Sterling’s declaration of capitulation means that offense is now officially punchless.
Then again, maybe he lost track of the innings. Would that be a first?
Via Brian Costa -
Through Wednesday, the average ratings for Yankee games on the YES Network were down 38% compared to the same period last season, according to Nielsen figures.
The drop is even more remarkable when you consider that last year’s ratings were the Yankees’ lowest since 2003.
Hal, Randy and Lonn can’t exactly blame that on the weather and the kids being in school, can they?
It looks like singing the anthem down in Trenton earlier this year, for the Yankees Double-A club, was warm-up gig for 14-year old Grace Cashman. The daughter of Yankees G.M. Brian Cashman sang the National Anthem before this evening’s game at Yankee Stadium too.
The Yankees broadcast on the YES Network made a semi-big deal out of her singing the anthem – as if getting the nod to sing was a major achievement.
Can the girl sing? Sure…maybe…I dunno?
But, isn’t it a tad of a joke to imply that she was given the chance to sing the anthem solely because of her talent?
I mean…if little Susie Lipschitz-Doofenshmirtz of Mill Basin could sing the phone book and make it sound like Patsy Cline in your ear, would she get a shot to sing at Yankee Stadium if she wanted to…and raised her hand? Doubt it.
I liked Lou Piniella as a player. And, I am forever grateful for that play he made on October 2, 1978. I cannot imagine how miserable my life would have been if not for that play. Dealing with 2004 as an adult was bad enough. If something like that happened when I was 15-year old…well…I may have turned to the bottle or worse.
And, I have no problem if someone wants to make a case that Piniella should be in the Hall of Fame as a manager someday.
Yet, that all said…
…oh, my, God…is he terrible in the YES broadcast booth.
It’s like listening to an old coot in some barbershop. Ugh.
(And, if you thought, for a split second, this was “T&A with Nancy Newman, then, shame on you!)
Ryan Ruocco, Kyle Kesses…
..what is it about the Fordham guys that the Yankees love so much? Or, is it Michael Kay opening the doors for them?
Shoot me now.
Michael will be 52 on February 2nd. And, his wife will be 49 on May 2nd. Having a teen-ager while they are in their 60′s will keep them young, for sure.
Via Bob Raissman -
The Yankees’ current path of austerity (wasn’t it supposed to start in 2014 with the luxury-tax thing?) is made even more curious considering the pile of dough the Yankees are sitting on (over and above what they were already sitting on) after Fox purchased a 49% stake in YES last month for $2 billion. Not only do the Yankees get a slice of that pie, but another $420 million from Fox to nail down TV rights to Yankees games on YES through 2042.
Add to that the cool $52 million per year the Yankees will begin collecting in 2014, their cut of Major League Baseball’s new eight-year TV deal with Fox, ESPN and Turner, and that’s some major moolah the organization seems reluctant to spend on acquiring players.
If the Yankees keep tightening the purse strings and it eventually translates into a diminished product, the live gate will suffer. So will YES’ ratings. Even with a successful 2012 on the field, the Yankees averaged a 3.92 rating on YES, down 8.3% from 2011 and the network’s lowest Bombers household rating since 2003. If YES experienced this kind of slippage when the team was good, what happens to the ratings if the team goes south?
It’s reasonable to wonder what the level of concern over all this is for Hal and We Are Family Steinbrenner. They view the Yankees in a more business-like manner than their father did. Their goal may just be to squeeze every nickel out of the franchise and start selling off assets. If you’re in it strictly for the money, and not World Series titles, that blueprint has a major upside for the owners.
Just look at the cash they already pocketed in the YES deal with Fox. And in three years Fox has the option to buy 80% of YES, based on a valuation of $3.8 billion.
What’s next, the team itself? Yankee officials say that won’t happen.
So, maybe when it comes to the product on the field, and its ramifications for YES’ future, it’s Fox suits who should be concerned if Hal Steinbrenner keeps a lock on his pinstriped vault.
“If this so-called fiscal responsibility becomes a permanent policy, Fox has something to be concerned with,” one network executive said. “YES became what it is because it sells winning, superstars and the grand Yankee tradition. If two-thirds of the equation (winning/superstars) disappears, down go the ratings and revenue. The subscriber fees may stay flat, but if the product stinks those fees are not going up.”
Maybe it’s too early to be concerned about this? But, maybe not? For sure, over the next three seasons, as each year passes, we will get a better idea on where the “After Big Stein” Yankees are heading…
Via Richard Sandomir -
Fear not, Yankees fans: the YES Network’s Yankees propaganda will continue even if News Corporation increases its ownership stake in the channel from 49 percent, which it agreed to purchase Tuesday, to as much as 80 percent in three years.
The deal cedes to the Yankees continued control of pinstripe content even if the team owns as little as 20 percent.
And why would Fox Sports, the division of News Corporation that owns 19 regional sports networks, want to alter YES’s Yankees propaganda formula? It has served YES so well that it will be valued at $3.8 billion if News Corporation buys majority control. Carrying the Nets did not make YES valuable. It’s about Yankees games; the pre- and postgame shows; the “Yankeeography” series and replays of games; and the “Yankee Classics,” in which the Yankees never lose. (They have lost classic games, but YES does not show them.)
Earlier this year, when YES was celebrating its 10th anniversary, I talked to Randy Levine, the Yankees’ president, and Tracy Dolgin, who runs YES, about the unashamedly pro-Yankees slant of the network’s announcers and the absence of a news operation like the one on SNY. “We tell our people if you want to be bipartisan and fair, don’t work for YES,” Levine said.
As for carrying a nightly news show, like SNY’s “SportsNite,” Dolgin said: “News is a loser. If you want news, watch ESPN.”
Fox will, of course, bring some of its programming to YES. That was one reason to make the deal. It needs a New York outpost, especially as it starts a national sports network that is, for now, called Fox Sports 1. But tinker with the propaganda? Never.
The Yankees, clearly, with this approach, feel that their faithful are a bunch of fanboys who crave nothing but pro-Yankees pablum. And, I find that to be very insulting.
Via Wally Matthews today-
Rupert Murdoch is knocking on the door of Yankee Stadium. How long will it be before he owns the entire building, and everything in it?
According to a New York Times report, News Corporation, the multi-media behemoth run by Murdoch, is on the verge of acquiring 49 percent of the YES Network.
A senior New York Yankees official, who insisted upon anonymity, confirmed the impending deal, although the official insisted it was merely “the stockholders looking to monetize their investment.”
“This has nothing to do with selling the team,” the official said. “Under no circumstances will the team be sold.”
And up until a few months before his death in 2010, George M. Steinbrenner was still running the Yankees, every bit as forceful and in command as he had been when he bought the team for $8 million in 1973.
The point is, nothing is ever precisely the way the New York Yankees portray it to be.
George was in charge, until he wasn’t. Joe Torre was the manager, until he was fired. And the team isn’t up for sale.
Until it is.
The sale of nearly half of the YES Network to Rupert Murdoch may be as simple as the senior team official says it is, an expedient way for Goldman Sachs, which makes its living buying and selling off assets, to score a cool $1.5 billion or more on its 10-year-old investment.
Or it could be the first step in an exit strategy designed to get the Steinbrenner family out of the baseball business within the next three to five years.
There is compelling evidence to support both arguments. With many large corporations looking to cash out on investments before an expected corporate tax increase in 2013, it would seem to be the right time for Goldman Sachs to dump its share in the YES Network.
But in order for News Corp to acquire 49 percent of YES, a figure that the team official confirmed, Murdoch will need to buy more than just Goldman’s 40-percent share of the network. How much of the remaining nine percent will come from the Yankees’ 34 percent share is not known.
The fact that the Yankees are not taking the opportunity to increase their own share of YES to 51 percent, to insure they retain control of their own network, indicates that they are willing eventually to cede that to Murdoch — who reportedly will have the option of increasing his share of YES to 80 percent within five years.
I can just see Larry Lucchino now, bitching about phone-tapping…
They’ve come a long way from being the home of White Shadow re-runs and a movie with Yogi…
Via the Times:
News Corporation is on the verge of acquiring up to 49 percent of the YES Network from the Yankees and their partners, according to three people familiar with the negotiations. The purchase price for the noncontrolling stake is based on a valuation of the channel at slightly more than $3 billion.
Even a minority stake in YES would be a prize for News Corporation, whose Fox Sports division owns 19 regional sports networks around the country. YES is the most valuable regional sports network, having built its appeal on televising Yankee games, pre- and postgame shows and the “Yankeeography” series to a large, rabid fan base.
YES, which also televises Nets basketball games, has served as a model for other team, league and college-conference-owned channels.
Although News Corporation prefers to have 100 percent ownership of its regional networks, it would be able to share in the profits of YES. And according to the people familiar with the discussions, who spoke late last week, the deal would provide News Corporation a route to eventual control of YES — an option would exist in three to five years for the company to increase its investment to as much as 80 percent. But at that point, the price would be based on a valuation of at least $3.5 billion.
The people who spoke of the deal were not authorized to speak publicly because negotiations were continuing. News Corporation and Yankee officials declined to comment.
The potential price for a News Corporation stake in YES underscores the soaring value of live sports and sports networks. Indeed, at $3 billion, YES would be worth more than the Yankees themselves. The Los Angeles Dodgers were sold earlier this year for a record $2.15 billion — largely on the likelihood that approaching TV negotiations will yield an enormous local television deal from a swelling group of potential bidders.
Through their holding company, Yankee Global Enterprises, the Yankees own 34 percent of YES; another 40 percent is owned by Goldman Sachs and Providence Equity, and the remainder is held by some former owners of the Nets, who operate under an entity called Community Youth Organization.
At some point the Yankees would have to sell some of their stake for News Corporation to reach 80 percent. That decision would rest with Hal Steinbrenner, the team’s managing general partner, who succeeded his late father, George, as the family member overseeing the team. Since YES’s start nearly 11 years ago, Yankee management has exercised control over the pro-Yankee tone of YES; if News Corporation acquires the majority of the network, YES could turn into a more conventional, less-biased sports network.
The deal could also include other payments to the Yankees, including higher rights fees.
Did you see on the YES post-game coverage last night where Michael Kay said that Joe Girardi pinch-hitting for Alex Rodriguez was a bigger snub for A-Rod than when Joe Torre batted Alex eighth in the 2006 ALDS?
This got me wondering which was a bigger blow to the ego? And, I tried to picture how I would feel as a player in these spots.
To me, being told that I am batting eighth says to me: “We feel like there are seven other guys in the line-up who are better than you right now. And, we’re not confident that you will be able to do better than them in a big spot. But, we’re not taking you out of the game. So, you still have a chance to make an impact – if you can.”
But, being told that I am being lifted for a pinch-hitter says to me: “We feel like there’s a much better option now than you. And, we don’t think you have a chance in this big spot compared to someone else who is available. Rather than see you bat, we’re taking you out of the game.”
That said, I have to agree with Kay – and that’s not something that I usually would do…
How about you, what do you think?
Via the Sun -
David Cone might have some explaining to do after a comment he made during Tuesday night’s broadcast of the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox game.
Cone referred to the bat used by Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki as a “chopstick” on the YES Network’s broadcast of the game. Ichiro is a native of Japan.
The remark caused an outcry from fans on social media.
Cone, 49, was a starting pitcher in MLB between 1986 and 2003. He played for the Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, Yankees and Red Sox. He’s won five World Series — one with the Jays in 1992 and four with the Yankees in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000.
Ichiro was a star in Japan before joining the Seattle Mariners in 2001, a team he played for until he was traded to the Yankees earlier this season.
It’s not as bad as a Howard Cosell/Alvin Garrett moment. But, Conie’s going to hear it on this one. If he gets bounced for this matter, who’s going to be responsible for explaining WAR to Michael Kay?
That was quick, no?
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?