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On YES

Posted by Matt Imbrogno at 1:00 pm Add comments
Aug 242010

I’ve been holding a lot of this back, so if this seems like nit picking, I’m sorry. These feelings on the Yankees’ behemoth of a regional sports network have been welling up inside me since the beginning of the season.

But, since I’m generally a nice guy, I’m gonna start with some positives. Generally, YES does a good job presenting the game. There are rarely picture quality issues and aside from the occasional close-up-that’s-too-long, the camera work is solid and acceptable. They may not try anything bold, but they keep it simple and there’s something to be said for that.

A good portion of this piece will be about the Yankee announcers, but to their credit, they’re generally pretty good. My girlfriend has the Extra Innings package so I’ve had a good deal of exposure to non-Yankee announcers and aside from Vin Scully, I don’t particularly like any of them. Most of them blatantly root for the teams they call games for and are just way over the top. Michael Kay may be annoying and John Flaherty may be boring, but at least they maintain a veneer of objectivity. Still, though, some changes need to be made.

Jack Curry was a wonderful addition to the YES Network and doesn’t get nearly enough air time. That he only does sideline reports (more on these later) and pre/post game is criminal. He’s got personality, he’s not awkward while talking, and he generally brings good information to the table. YES needs to do more to give him more exposure.

The same goes for the other desk-jockey of the YES family, Bob Lorenz. While he’s spent some time in the booth this season, thankfully, he needs to get even more time. He’s very personable and doesn’t seem obnoxious like Michael Kay. I’d love to see/hear more of Bob in the booth.

As for the current booth, I have a few complaints as well. Michael Kay is just annoying. I think everyone’s in agreement about this, right? He makes it very hard to like him, he asks dumb questions, makes dumb statements, and generally makes the game less enjoyable.

John Flaherty sucks the life out of the booth every time he’s in there. His voice is more monotonous than one of those wheels you had when you were a kid that went “The cow/sheep/horse/frog/etc. says…” when you spun the arrow. He repeats himself constantly (he wouldn’t be proud of this) and there’s nothing mind blowing about his analysis.

Paul O’Neill is okay. He’s somewhere in the middle of Kay and Flaherty. He’s not as annoying as Kay or as boring as Flaherty, but he’s just…bland.

Al Leiter and Ken Singleton are the only announcers I really like. Al is enthusiastic and adds good analysis. Singleton may be calm sounding up there, but he’s not boring. I also like the way he takes subtle digs at Kay every time the latter asks a stupid question. More of these, please (along with less Flaherty and Kay).

The sideline reports YES added this year, whether they’re with Kim Jones or Jack Curry, just annoy me. They totally break the flow of the game and only serve as a distraction. Every time they go to the reporter, I feel like I’m watching the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcast during that one inning. You know, that one inning when the announcers completely ignore the game in front of them and talk about something completely unrelated. YES keeps the discussions a little more focused than ESPN, but the break in the action is certainly undesirable.

YES is like the Yankees: it’s one of the best in the business, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. The network definitely doesn’t need a major overhaul and there are definitely a lot of positives (seriously, who doesn’t love Yankees on Deck?), but changes could be made (I really don’t need to see the Reggie Jackson 3 HR game again, YES. How about some more minor league coverage?).

36 Responses to “On YES”

  1. (I really don’t need to see the Reggie Jackson 3 HR game again, YES. How about some more minor league coverage?).

    I don’t disagree with many of your overall points, but I think you’re missing the economic aspect of it. It doesn’t really cost much, if anything, for YES to air Yankee Classics. To get MiLB games on TV, they’d have to pay for the rights, pay for the production and pay for a crew. Considering how minuscule the ratings would, it wouldn’t make much fiscal sense.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    This, and given that most cable networks already have most of their revenues before they air a single program (from cable subscribers) there’s very little incentive. As much as you or I would LOVE to watch Jesus Montero take a few swings in AAA, after the newness wore off it would need to garner big enough ratings from ad revs to pay for the costs of production, and you’d be lucky to break even on it. Plus, there’s the obvious scheduling conflict with the MLB club most nights when the Yanks are not on the west coast. Is anyone going to watch AAA games on tape?

    I’d love it, but it just doesn’t work.  (Quote)

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  2. “My girlfriend has the Extra Innings package”

    Sounds like a keeper.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    “My girlfriend has the Extra Innings package”

    (insert sexual innuendo here)  (Quote)

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  3. I agree with you, out of all the announcers out there, some fans have it far worse. When Singleton announces, he talks about things that are relevant to what we are watching. That’s the ability that Kay lacks. It’s like he can’t turn off his “radio show” switch and brings it into the booth. It’s annoying to listen to him have a conversation with those in the booth while something completely different is occurring on the field. Those conversations should be held for commercial breaks. No one cares. Just call the game and give us some insight, Michael.  (Quote)

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  4. Hello Matt… What happened to Cone? They should have more guest “real Baseball people ” in the booth.. Kay has to Go , he is a distraction.. the stupid stuff that comes out of his mouth at times.. I watch the game most times with the volume off.. because of him.. flat,,ery is just that flat.. we have radio people who are just out of whack.. pay jim kaat a bunch of money and get him in the booth with ken.. put kay on the radio in japan.. nah thats not fair to them..i got it… radio iran.. i respect home town people rooting for their team.. no problem.. cashman should jump in much more..reggie.. former umpires.. i like former pitchers giving some knowledge of what types of pitches should be thrown.. not just yankee players.. we spend the most on the best.. except for tv and radio.. by the way maybe some body can put up a topic of what girardi said about the cubs job.. i think.. correct me if i’m wrong .. i am here now trying to win games .. next year i don’t know.. he should have said i am a yankee until the yankees don’t need me any more… i say send him to limbo land, the cubs.. and give tom kelly 5 6 mil to come back..  (Quote)

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    Damian Reply:

    I don’t mean any disrespect by this, but it is really hard to read a comment that does not use actual sentences. Call me old fashioned I guess.  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    I’ll give you a lesson in brooklynees… professor. you should see my penmanship..If you can ,correct it for me..I’m not slighted at all , indulge me .. Thanks Damiam  (Quote)

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  5. How about losing the iditioc rule that Yankee losses can’t be shown as Yankee Classic game. Wouldn’t it be great to watch Clemens battle Schilling again in Game 7 of the 2001 WS??? Or the Jeff Weaver game vs. the Marlins? I think we are adults and can handle and even enjoy re-watching some of the more memorable losses.

    And yes, Kay is just flat out annoying as all hell.  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    i agree with that.. a great game is a great game win or lose  (Quote)

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  6. I used to dislike Kay, but after listening to a lot of other announcers I’ve changed my mind. He’s nowhere near as annoying as most of them. I don’t mind Flaherty-he doesn’t have any big insights, but at least he isn’t into all of the pseudo-psychology so many announcers over the past decade have spewed.
    Singletary and O’Neill are OK, but nothing special.
    It;s odd that the two guys head and shoulders above everyone else over the last few years were both pitchers-Cone and Leiter.  (Quote)

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  7. I get the feeling that Leiter and Kay don’t always get along. I can’t stand the Kay bringing his radio show into the booth. I don’t care about DVRs or your personal life or the fact that you grew up in the Bronx. I certainly don’t want to hear about it over 2 or 3 innings. It could be worse we could have that douche bag, Rob Dibble calling game. I shudder the thought.  (Quote)

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    Matt Imbrogno Reply:

    Shut up and comment, you wimp.

    Sincerely,
    Rob Dibble.  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    Do you really believe he grew up in the bronx?/ this guy hid in the basement and was driven to school until college.. difference between growing up in the bronx and existing in your basement..lil lord fornteroy.. did i get it right Damian?  (Quote)

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    Damian Reply:

    I’m sorry, I just got back to my desk and some buck-toothed, freckled guy with thick glasses (who definitely couldn’t have grown up in the Bronx) was sitting at my desk. I only just realized that he commented here on TYU and criticized your comment, so let me correct the record: your comment was a veritable paragon of clarity and reason.  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    is that what kay looked like as a teen.? Damian you are not from the bronx..and please speak english..  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    thats not fair that you are taking advantage of a guy from Bklyn with diminished capacity.. go easy my brain hurts. Damian , i just noticed you have not given your opinion on this post.. just a critique of my dots and dashes.. I really would like to hear your position on this topic.. please don’t take it wrong.. or in a disrespectful way.. thanks professor  (Quote)

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    Damian Reply:

    I’m not sure anyone cares you’re from Brooklyn; I certainly don’t. Just so you know, I actually didn’t mean any disrespect with my initial reply to your comment.

    Anyway, I feel about the YES broadcasting crew much like a lot of other people do. They’re annoying at times (talking to you, Kay), boring at times (or at all times if it’s Flaherty), and they would do well to keep on topic and maybe enlighten us with stats that actually matter, but overall I appreciate that they come to work excited to call the game every day. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh and the DC area, and the difference between those broadcasters and the YES crew is like that between meatloaf and NY strip. But of course the YES crew could always be better.  (Quote)

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  8. Guess I’m in the minority, but I like Kay. In fact, I miss him the nights he’s off. Flaherty is OK, but boring. Same for O’Neil. Singleton is by from the best and Leiter is a solid announcer. Several weeks ago, I heard Tino Martinez calling a series and I found him to be terrible. He doesn’t have an announcers voice and he didn’t seem to add much at all. I hope the experiment with Martinez ended there.  (Quote)

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    Matt Imbrogno Reply:

    Do you remember Tino on Baseball Tonight? He was god awful. He’s more wooden than a picket fence and his voice makes Flaherty’s sound exciting.  (Quote)

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    ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops Reply:

    I like Kay, too. He has a great voice and is not a blatant homer like other guys put there, like calling players by their first name or saying “we” when talking about the team he is covering.

    Who really has to go is Kim Jones. What does she bring to the broadcast besides: “It’s REALLY hot out here!!!”?  (Quote)

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  9. anyone that bashes kay should spend a week for others teams lead guys. u would change ur mind in a hurry  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    Is kay the best of the worst? or the worst of the best? i will give one guy he is better than ,well two ,jon saunders and muttcliff..  (Quote)

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    Matt Imbrogno Reply:

    I don’t disagree that Kay is better than some other guys, as I noted, but he’s certainly not very good. He’s a lesser of two evils, I guess.  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    The yankees should treat him like a player that got to old to fast.. It would be nice to have new blood.. only the scouter could get away with that ..he earned it.. played with all the greats.. so he went off the road a few times a game..i grew up listening to him, bill white..good old days  (Quote)

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  10. I have to respectfully disagree about Kay. I can see how he rubs people the wrong way but I like his enthusiasm. I find Singleton a little too dry (not bad, mind you). Paul O’Neill I like a lot while I’m lukewarm on Flaherty. Honestly, I don’t think there’s a bad one in the bunch. Compared to the Buck/McCarver atrocity on Fox and the gang of bozos on ESPN, the YES guys are positively stellar.  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    Absolutely correct…mccarver is a yankee hater.. what ever happened to that joke, jim gray? i rather put up with kay vs listening to that group.  (Quote)

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  11. there are definitely a lot of positives (seriously, who doesn’t love Yankees on Deck?), but changes could be made (I really don’t need to see the Reggie Jackson 3 HR game again, YES. How about some more minor league coverage?)

    Great stuff, Matt. Love Curry and Lorenz. In the booth it’s Singleton, O’Niell, and Kay for me. And boy, do I miss Coney.  (Quote)

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  12. I don’t mind Kay so much. When he’s not around and–for reasons I don’t understand–Flaherty shares play-by-play duties with Singleton (Let Kenny do it, Flash!) and I actually miss him at those times. Singleton is the best of the bunch; I like Leiter; O’Neill has gotten much better but he’s still boring (as is Flaherty)–although the booth gets lively when he’s around, which I enjoy. I hope they keep Tino as far away from the booth as possible. Oh, and, bring back Cone and Kaat!

    As for Yankees Classics in which the Bombers lose, I’m a big boy but I don’t want to see the lovely video of my wedding that ended in an acrimonious divorce. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.  (Quote)

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  13. Paulie is #1.

    He doesn’t even talk about the game. I love it.  (Quote)

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  14. I look at O’Neal as a Rizzutto type of announcer. He can be entertaining at times and annoying at other times. I like some light hearted conversations in the booth as long as they are not during big spots in the game. Kay is ok and better than most announcers out there.

    I dislike when I see a Yankee classic that happend in the last season or two. I guess they can be good games but I’d prefer to see them in 5 -10 years when it’s more interesting to re-live some great moments in Yankees history.

    I love the Yankeeographies but I’d love for them to try something new and maybe do a show on successful Yankee seasons. Much the same as the MLB Network does. How great would it be to watch a show all about 1978 or 61 or 96? It would be a different spin that would be refreshing.  (Quote)

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  15. I don’t mind Kay at all, and for the reasons that others have stated, it could be far worse. But I most definitely would like to see Minor League coverage.  (Quote)

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  16. Sometimes, I think it’s all about the pairings. Paul O’Neill is pretty laid back so maybe he would be best with Leiter? Michael Kay with Singleton is pretty good with Kay doing play by play and Singleton with the analysis. Singleton always has great points and is informative. Even though Kay can get pretty random, he always sounds like he wants to be there. He’s best on CenterStage interviewing people. I really don’t see the point of Kim Jones/Jack Curry’s little sideshow unless it’s in the 7th inning or a rain delay.

    I don’t know about you but I would love to hear Mike Francesa in the booth for just one game just to see everyone’s heads explode on twitter.

    Does anyone think about what current Yanks would be good announcers? I think Nick Swisher would be great. He has a great voice/personality and is full of enthusiasm. I’m sure everyone would say Granderson, because he’s so eloquent. I never heard him commentary run on TBS though. Then maybe Teixeira?  (Quote)

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  17. You annoy me!

    You must have been severely toilet trained…  (Quote)

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  18. TIno Martinez is the worst! His voice is not made for broadcast. He’s an embarrassment.  (Quote)

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  19. Good stuff on YES announcers. I’m a life-long fan of the Yankees who remembers when Mel Stottlemyre was the team’s pitching ace and Roy White was the go-to man of the outfield. You have to give George S. credit for re-building a championship empire. I live in L.A. now and love watching the Yankees every night on Directv. But I could do without Michael Kay….His ego is out of control and his “away from the game” conversations are usually stupid and petty. Bottom-line: The less Michael Kay, the better.
    I enjoy Singleton, Al Leiter, Flash, Curry and Lorenz and can even stomach Kim Jones. But there’s plenty of room for improvement. An interesting ethnic personality would be nice.  (Quote)

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