Wednesday, January 27, 2010

YES Propaganda Led To Cone's Departure

From Joel Sherman:
I continue to hear that Cone’s departure after one season in the booth for YES was hardly pleasant. He had a personality conflict with one executive in particular, feeling this executive was intrusive and disrespectful all year. However, there were two incidents, in particular, that made Cone flip out.

Early in the season, with the Yankees struggling, Cone remarked on the air that if the Yankees did not start performing better than they could fall out of the race. The YES executive told the broadcasters that this remark aggravated Hank Steinbrenner and needed to be avoided in the future (so much for a firewall between the team and what is said on the air). Cone felt this was a true statement – and rather innocuous – and should not have been discussed.

Late in the season, Cone remarked that one of the important, behind-the-scenes workers involved in daily coverage of the Yankees was a free agent at the end of the year. This made the top YES executive flip out because the plan was not to retain this particular employee. Cone was confronted by the YES executive and there was a heated exchange during which Cone explained that he had made a lot of money playing (nearly $67 million) and took the YES job as a way to get back into baseball, but that he would not take such verbal abuse from anyone because he did not need the job.

At that point it became apparent that Cone would not be back in 2010. Instead, YES plans on bringing in Tino Martinez to do about 40 games.
The idea that an announcer shouldn't speak the truth even if that truth is that the team isn't playing well is ridiculous and I can't blame Coney for being upset. I used to laugh every time I'd read Bob Raissman's column when he'd call YES Al-Yankzera, but maybe he was on to something. YES needs to understand that Yankees fans are smart enough to realize when the team is in trouble or not, and that no statement any announcer makes about the state of the Yankees should be against the rules as long as it's true.

Sherman also said that Cone has been approached by ESPN, but is more likely to take an advisory role with the Players Association.

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