A key pitcher and leader on Joe Torre's championship Yankees, Cone annoyed George Steinbrenner by returning after a year away from baseball in 2002 for a brief and failed comeback with the Mets. After Cone's retirement in 2003, he was given an essentially open invitation to join the Mets broadcast booth, but opted against it for family reasons.
Now, though, with Joe Girardi having left the YES booth to become Yankees manager, Cone will take the place of his former catcher.
Girardi and Cone had a strong relationship as teammates and Girardi caught Cone's perfect game on July 18, 1999.
Besides joining a cast that includes Ken Singleton, Paul O'Neill, Bobby Murcer and John Flaherty in serving as an analyst for games, Cone is scheduled to serve as host for the weekly program "Yankees on Deck." He will replace David Justice, who took on a lesser role at YES.
Personally, I'm as excited about this move as one can be when a sports network hires a former player to analyze baseball games. Unlike his former Yankee teammates Tino Martinez (who worked for ESPN) and David Justice (who flat out sucks), I think Cone has the tools and personality to do a great job in the broadcast booth.
He did serve as a YES Studio Analyst for a short time before attempting his comeback in 2003 and seemed to do a pretty good job. It's also nice to get another former pitcher's perspective in addition to Al Leiter, who I believe is the most underrated member of the YES crew since Jim Kaat retired.
Now, the network needs to rid themselves of Michael Kay to ensure a consistently intelligent, insightful, and entertaining television broadcast. Of course that's wishful thinking on my part (as well as an increasing number of Yankee fans) because he is essentially a fixture at the network and won't be leaving anytime soon.