David Cone, who hurled a perfect game in 1999 and helped the Bronx Bombers win four World Series, is back in the pinstripes of the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network.
Marking a homecoming, Cone will serve as a Yankees analyst, working in the YES broadcast booth and studio for between 50 and 75 contests during the 2008 season. He will also host the regional sports network Emmy-Award-winning kids series Yankees on Deck and conduct weekly chats on YESNetwork.com.
Cone joins the YES broadcast team following the departures of Joe Girardi, now the Yankees manager and David Justice, who is attending to personal matters in California this year following the devastating fires in that state last year.
The righthander, who was 64-40 with a 3.91 ERA and 888 strikeouts during his Yankees tenure from 1995-2000, worked for YES in similar capacities during the network’s rookie 2002 season, after pitching for the Boston Red Sox in 2001. He failed in a short comeback bid with the New York Mets in 2003.
Since then, Cone said he has finally came to grips with the difficult transition away from pitching (podcast).
“I’m as stubborn as any athlete at the end of his career,” he said during a meeting with the press at YES's Manhattan headquarters Wednesday. “Sometime you’re the last one to know when it’s time to go.”
His post-baseball life has involved business interests; raising a family: Cone and wife Lynn have a two-year-old son; and his foundation work with the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at the Westchester Medical Center in Valhahlla, N.Y.
A battler on the field, Cone was always available for quotes to the press in the club house, qualities he and other expect will surface in his YES roles.
“An astute student of the game, David will be an excellent addition to our on-air lineup,” said John Filippelli, the YES Network's president of production and programming. “He was known as a fierce competitor who relished a battle, and I'm confident that he will bring that same burning desire to excel into the booth.”
While emphasizing that he’s not “a professional journalist” and isn't expecting to break many stories, Cone plans to speak his mind. To that end, Cone, whose training regimen extended more to post-game beer or two, rather than weight room activities, said he’s culpable in the steroid controversy engulfing the game.
“Certainly, I share some of that blame as being involved with the [Major League Baseball] Players Association at the time; it’s something I’m not proud of. It’s humbling and embarrassing,” he said, noting that educating high school players about the dangers of drugs, not engaging in “a with hunt” about past transgressions, should be MLB’s focus going forward.
Cone feels his varied experiences -- including a sense for the business side of the game via his time with MLBPA, being part of the three teams that fans in the New York area obsess over, and his playing field relationships with Girardi and Yankees captain Derek Jeter -- will enable him to occasionally bring different perspectives into viewers’ living room.
“Not every night, but once in a while I’ll bring some insight, a different way of thinking about the game,” he said, about his role as an analyst, in an interview.
This coming season, Cone will rotate in the booth with Ken Singleton, Al Leiter, Bobby Murcer, Paul O’Neill, John Flaherty and Michael Kay. He will also work alongside Bob Lorenzo in the YES studio.
The assignments for Cone, who is attending Yankees spring training in Tampa and will do some road games, have not been finalized.
“Flip’s [Filippelli] my manager. I’ll take the ball whenever he wants,” said Cone.
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