• Less YES?

    Posted by on August 18th, 2012 · Comments (14)

    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?

    Comments on Less YES?

    1. K-V-C
      August 18th, 2012 | 11:38 pm

      The problem here is YES itself, and the idiot they use to direct the telecasts. I’m sick and tired of looking at the fans, non game related replays and pitch by pitch and other filler. The game isn’t the focus of the telecast and until that changes they will continue to let the hosts talk about food, movies, the ride in to the stadium etc. Get someone who actually likes the game to direct it!!

      Jim Kaat was good, but YES didn’t like him being honest about the team and organization.

      Singleton is probably my favorite right now.

      Kay used to be good, but his shtick has gotten annoying.

      Cone, beats his points into the ground. In a few years he will be another McCarver.

      I’ll agree O’Neill should quit playing off Kay and be himself, but he goes off on tangents that are annoying. (the begging for food drives me nuts.)

      Flaherty is too boring, he has no real personality.

      Leiter is clearly the worst of the bunch.

      And this is coming from a huge Scooter fan….

    2. 77yankees
      August 18th, 2012 | 11:54 pm

      @ K-V-C:

      The worst thing is the pitch by pitch replay – we just saw it!!!!! If it’s a 15 pitch AB at an important turning point in the game, ok, but YES just goes overkill with it.

      Something that bears watching is that Kay’s contracts with YES & ESPN-FM are up soon, and you wonder if they’re hedging on whether ESPN gets the Yankee radio rights. You’d have to think if 98.7 gets the rights that ESPN-FM would want to have Kay, for synergy purposes, re-up for his afternoon show as well as reuniting him with Not So Sterling in the radio booth, which would eliminate him from the revolving door of voices on YES.

      I understand why most of these voices don’t want to work 140 games and be on the road 6 months out of the year. But I also miss the days where you could tune into a Yankee game knowing you’d hear Scooter, White and Messer rotating between the TV & radio side.

    3. coolare
      August 19th, 2012 | 12:07 am

      Quite frankly, I would much rather have Ken Singleton to play by play and dump Kay. He just grates on me for some reason.

    4. MJ Recanati
      August 19th, 2012 | 8:01 am

      K-V-C wrote:

      Singleton is probably my favorite right now.

      Mine too, by leaps and bounds. Soothing voice, pleasant demeanor, not trying to get himself on any highlight shows. He’s there to call the game and to banter genially with his partners. Love Kenny.

      I actually don’t care for O’Neill and Kay together at all. The two of them mine the same tired material (O’Neill’s love of all food, Kay’s picky eating habits). I loved Paulie the player but I think his “insights” are obvious.

      Love Cone, like Leiter and don’t mind Flash.

      Kay has gotten a little less grating (whereas Sterling is getting worse by the day) but I really could do without Kay too.

    5. August 19th, 2012 | 8:54 am

      It is amazing how many Yankees fans, myself included, would not shed a tear if Michael Kay was sent packing…yet, the Yankees/YES obviously love the guy.

    6. redbug
      August 19th, 2012 | 9:28 am

      I don’t care for O’Neill, esp w/ Kay. I don’t like Kay at all. So damn full of himself. I’d go w/ Ken Singleton for play by play. (although, while he doesn’t do it as often as he used to, I could w/o his references to his own career)

      I think Cone is the best analyst of the current group – Jim Kaat was the best in all my years watching/listening.

      Flaherty is good. Leiter and Sweet Lou are awful.

    7. Raf
      August 19th, 2012 | 9:40 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      It is amazing how many Yankees fans, myself included, would not shed a tear if Michael Kay was sent packing…yet, the Yankees/YES obviously love the guy.

      Seniority has its privileges, I suppose.

    8. MJ Recanati
      August 19th, 2012 | 10:04 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      It is amazing how many Yankees fans, myself included, would not shed a tear if Michael Kay was sent packing…

      I’d bet it’s a majority of fans that really don’t like listening to Kay.

      He’s a good radio talk show host — I listen to him on my drive home most days — but I really don’t care for how he calls the games on YES.

      Also, Kay is a really nice guy. Met him in a movie theater about 3 years ago, he was unfailingly polite and friendly. He comes off as arrogant on TV but he’s really a good dude in person (based on my limited interaction with him while waiting to get popcorn and beverages…).

    9. Raf
      August 19th, 2012 | 10:16 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Also, Kay is a really nice guy.

      I’d have to agree. I chatted with him a bit at the Yankees Fan Festivals in the early 90’s. Saw him a few times signing autographs after the games, chatting with the crowd.

      He’s doing something he loves, which is pretty cool. And he turned me on to Pizza and Brew which is awesome. I wound up working with a member of the Raccanelli family, and they said the same thing about Kay, that he’s a genuinely nice guy…

      How he landed Jodi Applegate is still a mystery to me, tho’ 😀

    10. redbug
      August 19th, 2012 | 10:30 am

      @ Raf:


    11. 77yankees
      August 19th, 2012 | 12:32 pm

      I think Kay got caught up in trying to “out-Sterling” Sterling so his calls would be the ones being used on SportsCenter. (Which is pretty sad in and of itself) Thus he would try to create drama when there really wasn’t any.

      Plus those lame cliches Kay would recycle over and over: “Little girl with a curl” and “Flotsam and Jetsam”, which sounds like it was last used during Prohibition. And the incessant whining he used to do about “unmanageable” games.

      Singleton has the right inflection for pbp. He can turn it up a notch on a home run or a great play, and it stills sound natural.

      Cone is good and he still has some of that loose cannon in him where he might say something Scooter-outrageous at any time.

      Piniella sounds as if you were talking to him about baseball in a bar, which is ok, but at this point in his career he’s not about to take up broadcasting seriously.

      Everyone else doesn’t do it for me. O’Neill, I think, is just showing up for the checks and something to do. Leiter is Kay’s homey and always trying to prove he’s smarter than everyone else. John Flaherty??? Zzzzzzzzz

    12. August 19th, 2012 | 2:37 pm

      I think that John Flaherty was a panic move.

      When he retired, SNY was kicking the tires on him and YES moved quickly, hearing that, to get him to sign a deal.

      Granted, he’s not terrible. But, he’s not a must have, either.

    13. Corey
      August 19th, 2012 | 3:32 pm

      I may be alone in this, but I like Flash in the booth. I like his perspective and as long as I’m not hearing him and Kay bickering about Fordham and GW (ok maybe that’s impossible), I’m fine with it.

    14. MJ Recanati
      August 20th, 2012 | 9:57 am

      Raf wrote:

      And he turned me on to Pizza and Brew which is awesome. I wound up working with a member of the Raccanelli family

      Love that place. A family friend lived in Purchase and turned me onto that spot in the early 90’s and I’ve been going there ever since.

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