Monday, January 4, 2010

Cone Done Gone?

(Unflattering screengrab via The Sports Hernia)

Good morning Fackers. Over the weekend, Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record passed along a rather pessimistic update concerning David Cone's tenure as an analyst for the YES Network:
It appears Cone’s short but brilliant run in the YES broadcast booth may be over. Sources say Cone is out after a heated disagreement with network executives.

A spokesman confirmed via e-mail: “David’s contract is up. We’d love to have him back, but he’s in the process of evaluating his various options. … He may not be back based on what he decides.”

Cone’s skill and confidence grew appreciably in the past year. Like former-Met teammate Ron Darling, he had a graceful way of explaining baseball to casual fans, but also was immersed in cutting edge sabermetrics.

Michael Kay said, “I’d come into the booth five hours before a game and Coney would already be there, buried in the computer, looking up stats.”
Kay then added, "Ha. Stats..."

Of course, this isn't the first time a disagreement between Cone and the Yankees has prevented him from doing broadcasting work. He was a part of the YES Network when it first launched in 2002. However, when he attempted a comeback with the 2003 Mets instead of the Yanks, George Steinbrenner told him that he would not be welcome back with the organization. (Cone's 2003 lasted all of 18 innings and included 13 ER, so The Boss probably should have thanked him). Eventually a truce was reached and Cone replaced Joe Girardi when he made the jump from the press box to the dugout.

When Cone first reappeared on air back in 2008, I didn't really like his work. He doesn't have a great broadcasting voice and anytime there is a new person in the booth, it takes some time to appreciate their insights. However, I wholeheartedly agree with Klapisch's assertion that Cone was better this year.

Cone both cited advanced statistics and let his personality shine though in 2009. He frequently referenced (which most certainly endeared him to statistically-minded Yankees fans), spoke of his secondary education (which supposedly took place at an Irish Bar on the Lower East Side) and gave out his phone number on air.

If Cone does leave YES, odds are he'll end up at the MLB Network or ESPN. However, the most likely position for him there would be a studio analyst. If Cone wants to be in the booth, YES might still be his best option. For those who have come to appreciate the presence of the former hurler during Yanks games (including Matt and myself), there's still some hope that he could return for 2010. From what he's said on-air, it's clear that he loves New York and in talking to other fans, it seems like New York would love to have him back. Let's hope it all works out.

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