Wednesday, November 6, 2019

If Coney becomes pitching coach, who will school Michael Kay about the Violent Femmes?

I believe the 2019 Yankee season will be remembered for three major cultural events: 

1. The "Next Man Up" rallying cry, which turned several nobodies into career Yankees.

2. The end of John Sterling's amazing streak of calling consecutive games, at 5,058, due to illness. For the first time, at age 81, The Master became mortal. Even now, I wonder if we've realized the implications. Nothing lasts forever.

3. The YES Network comedy team of Coney & O'Neill.

Let's discuss No. 3. This was the year David Cone became an official Yankee character. (O'Neill had already achieved this, as a beast who devours foodstuffs, plays golf all day, yells at players, and who - despite a now-deceased sister who wrote for the NY Times - seemed oblivious to life outside ball.) Cone, on the other hand, constantly dropped hints of something few color commentators ever dare disclose: Intellectual curiosity about - gasp - culture.

One of my favorite moments of 2019 came one hot afternoon when Cone casually mentioned "Blister in the Sun," as if everyone would catch the reference. Michael Kay was dumbfounded. Upon questioning, Cone replied (paraphrasing): "The Violent Femmes! What? You never heard of the Violent Femmes?" 

Because this is reputed to be a geezer blog, let's have a show hands: How many of you have heard of the Violent Femmes? 

They were - still are - an alt-folk-punk rock band from the 1980s, based out of Milwaukee. Kay's reaction that day was a head-shaking, "You crazy hippies" routine that belonged in a Dragnet rant from Sgt. Joe Friday. You'd think Cone were a disciple of Sid Vicious. In fact, the Violent Femmes have sold more than 10 million records. It was Kay who somehow missed the eighties - (and nineties and more) - and without Cone, the YES Network could easily become the sports version of Fox News, an electronic babysitter for grandpa.

Cone also became YES's "Mister New-Fangled Technology." He would report the "exit velo" of batted balls, regularly to the pants-peeing astonishment of Kay and O'Neill. You'd think such information challenged the underpinnings of their world, when in fact, those stats have become the norm. Coney became the one person who pondered American culture beyond the YES Seniors Day Bingo Parlor. At times, during blowouts, O'Neill and Cone became the best part of a broadcast. 

Which brings me to today's old man rant: Supposedly, the Yankees have interviewed Cone for the job of pitching coach. Listen: I have no idea whether Cone would make a good coach, or if he's being seriously considered for the position. (Sometimes, the interview is a courtesy.) Cone is smart, resilient and intellectually younger than his age (56). That said, I am intrigued by the notion that the Yankees would hire a thirtysomething, tech-driven college coach. What do I know? Not enough to warrant an opinion.

But that never stopped me before. Why start now? I say this: If Cone becomes pitching coach, he will no longer school Kay about pop culture over the last 40 years. Also, if things go south with coach Cone - (and eventually, things always go south) - it could end his affiliation with the Yankees. One of the great things about the Yankees has been our cultural appropriation of ex-Mets - Tom Seaver, Ken Singleton and Coney - for the TV booth. I would hate to see Cone's time with the Yankees end due to hard feelings, if and when a change needs to be made.

If Coney becomes pitching coach, who will tell us about the Violent Femmes? Should we care? I dunno. Listen for yourself. "Blister in the Sun" is a pretty good song. 

17 comments:

TheWinWarblist said...



Featured in the movie Gross Pointe Blank.

My college Ultimate Frisbee team went by the name The Violet Phlegms.

They're not a new band. Not remotely. How old are you people!?



Retired Stratman said...

“An electronic babysitter for Grandpa”.

You say that like it’s a bad thing.

13bit said...

I know of them because I was going out with a much younger woman in the late 90s and she stuck a tape in the tape deck when we were driving, so that was my introduction. I like Coney and almost don't want to see him subjected to the humiliation that comes with being on the shit end of Brian's stat stick, just sitting in the dugout and taking orders from some bionic young boy in the bowels of the stadium, barking at Cone from his spreadsheet. Leave him in the booth and to to the robot repair depot, get a half-used new version of Nutsack. Let's get ready to lose for another ten years, folks!

13bit said...

I'll tell you one thing, though - if it IS Cone and he's having a bad day and is sitting there all alone on the bench, brooding, we can call him "Coney Island."

13bit said...

uh...John Donne...uh...get it? get it?

I have to go put some cornflakes in my coffee now.

Vampifella said...

I know of the Violent Femmes! I'm personally not a fan (I like synth music more), but back in the 80s you'd typically find them under "alternative rock" or "college rock" as only college radio stations would play that stuff. Kay is probably one of those "Bruce Springsteen or it doesn't exist" type of music guy. I've come across a lot of people like that.

Platoni said...

What if Kay doesn't know about the Femmes because he is an avid listener of Mozart and Beethoven?

You peasants!

Anonymous said...

Something that is being danced around needs to come to the fore.

We all seem to like David Cone.

Is he aware that if he takes the job sooner or later this blog and its minions will turn on him?

Maybe it will be the first time Britton blows a lead. Or maybe when new Yankee Zack Wheeler still can't achieve his potential because he has Novaitis. (Symptoms include looking really good one out of every three times out.)

But turn we will.

Do we want to put Coney on our eventual shit list? That would be sad.

Doug K.

JM said...

The Femmes were great. Maybe they still are, but I stopped following them by the end of the 80s. I dimly remember seeing them live once. But, there are always other bands to hear, other musical genres to explore, other fish to fry, Popeye's chicken sandwich, and hatred of the Yankees ownership and management team and stat boys.

I'd miss Cone in the booth but he might do a good job as a coach. If he's allowed to and isn't meddled with constantly.

Anonymous said...

I DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT PITCHING COACHES.

I WANT PITCHERS!

TOP PITCHERS!

HoraceClarke66 said...

YES! I have been listening to "Blister in the Sun" for over 20 years, and because of the same reason The Warbler cites: it was on the soundtrack for "Grosse Point Blank," a fun movie and one of the greatest movie soundtracks ever.

(Reverting to geezer mode: do they still have movie soundtracks? On cassette tapes, I mean?)

It also features Bowie's "Under Pressure," "Rudie Can't Fail," "I Can See Clearly Now," "Live and Let Die," the hilarious "We Care a Lot," "Let My Love Open the Door," and—especially, "Blister in the Sun," the Specials' "Pressure Drop," and "Matador" by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, maybe my favorite running song/band name ever.

In fact, when my nephew and his fiancee asked us recently for song recommendations for their wedding, I told them, "Matador" and was shocked and chastened to hear my nephew say, "Oh, yeah, great, some of the great oldies!"

To me, it seems like just yesterday. The fact that Michael Kay has never heard of it...

"Say, Mike, have you heard of this swell new stuff the kids are doing? It's called doo-wop music. Really, that's what it's called!..."

TheWinWarblist said...

Yes, bitty, no man is an island. John Donne and Simon and Grafunkel. Or something. But we get you, bitty, Oh my heaving bosom, I so get you, my dear sweet brick-throwing tiny-headed creatter.

TheWinWarblist said...

Doug K., we could just go ahead and put Cone on the shit list now and get it over with. Less pain that way. I'll start working on epithets.

JM said...

CC is supposedly trying to recruit Cole for the Yankees. But he says, "If you offer the motherfucker enough money, yes, he will come!"

Well, so much for that.

Alphonso said...

As you would imagine, I have known many violent femmes, but I am not familiar with the work.

TheWinWarblist said...

"Because this is reputed to be a geezer blog ..."

[snorts coffee out nose}

ranger_lp said...

Just so happens that the Violent Femmes released a new album in July of this year...

https://vfemmes.com/music

I didn't expect that either....