Sunday, February 25, 2024

On the first TV day of 2024, the top 10 YES personalities, ranked

Today, at 1:05 p.m., the Yankees play a key one-game series against the Blue Jays. 

If they lose, the season is over.

It will appear on YES, whose veteran lineup - frankly - needs a Blake Snell,  somebody we can blame when everything goes sideways.

Seriously, some of the best Yankee TV announcers - Bill White, Tom Seaver, Ken Singleton - bubbled up from the pools of arch-rivals. One of most enjoyable parts of YES is watching a former Met or Cardinal turn Yankee. 

And they all do. It's human nature to root for the team that's paying for your new pontoon. I suggest YES hires Pedro Martinez - a delightful man with a ton of anti-Yankee career baggage. I predict he would become a beloved icon of New York, pissing all over those Boston ingrates. Wouldn't that be wonderful? 

Anyway, because I have nothing to do, here are my Top 10 YES personalities, ranked.

10: Todd Frazier, Ryan Ruocco and Justin Shakil. Lumped together. They haven't really made enough of an impact to make my final will or shitlist. 

9. Jeff Nelson. Came in 2019, plays the "veteran pitcher" card. Occasionally makes a good point. No longer a Seattle plant. 

8. Joe Girardi. Returning after a failed managerial stint in Philly. Who doesn't like Joe - the last Yank manager to win a ring? Also, on the night of that great success, while driving home, he stopped to help a motorist whose car had broken down on aina busy highway. Heroic. The problem: He'll still want to manage. I wonder if he can keep that in check?

7. Meredith Marakovits. After 12 years, she still faces the Plexiglas ceiling, suck in Lady on Sidelines mode. She does old school reporting, talking to players before the  game, but most of her stuff is fluff. I wish she had a chance to do radio, but Suzyn will never leave. Never criticizes or complains, even when she should. Basically, her talent is wasted.

6. Paul O'Neill. What Yank fan doesn't love Pauly. That said, he's stuck in place, relentlessly rooting, the biggest homer on the staff. Has it really been 23 years? Again, you love the guy, but his act is tiring. He's treading water.

5. Michael Kay. Not as awful as we sometimes think. The trouble with Kay is that - in his 33rd year now, and 20th since we won anything - he is uncompromisingly associated with teams that disappointed us. He tries to criticize the Yankees - he must bear his teeth for the radio show - but he never unloads on Hal. Also, there's the music thing. After Springsteen, he seems to think nobody ever made a rock album. What kind of childhood did he experience, if he doesn't even know the Talking Heads? 

4. Bob Lorenz. Steady, competent, underrated - he blends into the flow, dishes off to Jack Curry for the assist. Under-utilized, always in control. He knows his role, and he handles it well.

3. Jack Curry. Always has a fresh factoid, and criticizes players or managerial decisions. (Again, nobody sticks it to Hal.) The problem: His hair. I cannot not see it. Could he wear a ballcap?

2. John Flaherty. Flash. Rare to find a former player so technically skillful as an announcer. He never makes a mistake, and he still has the self-deprecating thing about being a bad hitter. A game called by Flaherty always goes down smoothly. 

1. David Cone. The star, the everyman, he even has a knowledge of 1980's punk rock, which astounds Kay. Coney is the breakout personality, and he's never better than when telling a story. He even makes the Exit Velo seem interesting, though his love of it is a trope. The Yankees must never let him go to ESPN fulltime. Often, he's the best part of a game.


JM said...

Who doesn't like Joe Girardi? I don't like Joe Girardi.

Meredith is a buried jewel. Jeff Nelson is not what I expected, in a good way.

The top four are my top four. Jack Curry's voice can grate and sometimes his fashion choices are simply terrible. And, yeah, that hair. But still.

Kay? I used to like him on the radio side with The Master, but he's been going downhill ever since. He's pretty far down that hill by now. If he disappeared, I wouldn't cry.

Paul O'Neill is terrible. Kind of a jerk, total yahoo. Some players should just play, retire and walk away without opening their mouths. When he and Kay do a game together, turning off the sound and also the captioning is a good idea.

Nobody is as good as Sterling and no combo is as good as Sterling and Suzyn. Did they give up on Ricky Ricardo for some reason? Every other fill-in makes me wish Suzyn was doing the play-by-play. They're really drab.

The new MLB uniforms have kind of see-through pants. I wonder what Suzyn will have to say about that?

Publius said...

Rickie does Yankees games en Español. I spent the winter studying. It'll be worth it.

Piiax said...

Always like Lorenz. Does an excellent job. Flaherty and Cone too. Can't stand O'Neill's constant palaver. I find myself turning the sound off when he's on.

JM said...

Publius--I know Ricky does the games in Spanish, but I don't know why they don't use him on the English broadcast when John is out. He's really great. Maybe he's too valuable on the Spanish coverage to pull him away.

AboveAverage said...

JM - I’m curious to know what you think Suzyn WILL say about these new Uni paper pants…..

JM said...

I don't know, AA. My guess is, she'll refrain from commenting on her own, but if John or a player being interviewed gives her an opening, she might voice her skepticism. Won't dwell on it, but will come out with a quick critique.

You can't predict Suzyn.

Doug K. said...

Good summary.

In the order given

Smilin Todd Frazier - I like this guy. He will get better.

Ryan Rucco - He's going national. Also does the Nets. Meh.

Justin Shakil - Might as well be doing the KC Royals games. Zzzzz.

Jeff Nelson - Yeah, sure. Competent.

Joe Giradi - I've got a binder on him somewhere, wait I'll try to find it.

Meredith - I like her mostly because I keep waiting for her to snap and kill Michael Kay. You know she wants to.

Paullie - Often annoying. His schtick with Michael Kay is getting VERY VERY old. Other than that he does add insight.

Michael Kay - Enough of this guy. He talks professionally something like 8 hours a day. That is too much to listen to anyone. He probably announces from the toilet. Stop him. (Oh, Meredith...)

Bob Lorrenz - Solid.

Jack Curry - Also solid

John Flaherty - good.

Coney is the best and yes, more Ricky Ricardo.

13bit said...

Bill White, Jim Kaat, Rizzuto...everybody else can bugger off....

And bring in Howard Cosell and Marc Albert in drag for color commentary every once in a while.

DickAllen said...

Why do we have to keep listening to old white people, mostly milk-toast men, drone one for three hours? I like oatmeal, but not every day.

Maybe AI can resurrect the voices of Mel Allen and Red Barber. Or even Singleton or White. I love the idea of Pedro. That would be fun.

Doug K. said...


I like the AI idea a lot. Personally I'd bring back Rizzuto and Seaver but Mel Allen would be cool too. Never heard Red Barber.

Knowing YES they would probably use it so that Michael K. could broadcast 24/7

It would be nice to get back Bob Sheppard as well.

But as long as we're bringing people back from the dead I'll take Yogi at catcher and Gehrig at first, swap out Stanton with Ruth and switch Verdugo with Joe D. I'll keep Judge in right and I'm hearing good things about this Mantle guy.

Doug K. said...

13 Bit

I met Howard Cosell at the Westchester Classic Golf Tournament in 1972. He gave me his autograph begrudgingly and only because I mentioned a family friend who was in his weekly poker game. So basically he had no choice.

At the time I was taken aback that he was rude but in retrospect I am glad he was a curmudgeon about it. Way more fitting.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Pedro would be great. Like Cone. Paulie is a pain. I can't stand announcers who are obviously impatient with the length of a game. Yeah, yeah, they are too long. But you're getting paid—A LOT—to broadcast baseball. If it's too much for you, hand back the however-many-millions you get paid to do this and retire.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Cone is the Rizzuto of our age. Except he's usually watching the game.

I'd throw Frank Messer into the mix. Sometimes you need vanilla to calm the spicy mustard.

And I think the ratings might be skewed a bit by some K street type lobbying from Mr. Curry:

Rufus T. Firefly said...

and who can forget this:

ranger_lp said...

Fun wife in her teenage days knew someone who a delivery person for Gristedes in the Upper West Side area. One time this person delivered to Cosell's apartment. Howard was there and didn't tip...

Somehow, I'm not surprised...

JM said...

Isn't there a game today? I can't find it on the radio.

Tomorrow's game is on MLB Network.

Joe of AZ said...

I REFUSE to hope...this spark of excitement I feel must be snuffed out IMMEDIATELY

ranger_lp said...

The new analytics guy…

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Ranger, thanks (I think)

HAL likes him because he makes HAL look less nerdy.

Miss strikes harder will definitely be helped by the guy that published "Optical vortex with a small core and Gaussian intensity envelope for light-matter interaction"

A real baseball guy.

ANALytical PhD.

BS=bull shit
MS=more shit
PhD=piled high and deep

Lies, damn lies, and statistics -- otherwise known as ANALytics

We're fucked for the rest of my lifetime.

AboveAverage said...

Please don’t take this the wrong way Rufus but as a Yankee fan I, uh, I gotta ask that If we’re fucked for the rest of your lifetime ….. about how long is that going to be?

With all this recent talk about longevity and all - I just felt the urge to ask.

I mean what’s the point of paying all this money on streaming if it’s not really gunna pay off until your bucket is . . . Oh never mind - its just not appropriate for me to ask.

Rufus T. Firefly said...


I'd have to ask the ANALytics department to ANALyze that query.

Ironically (or not), my expected date of departure increases with every second my liver doesn't explode. So the calculation, like my beverages, is kinda fluid.

I'd also have to consider optical vortex with a small core and Gaussian intensity envelope for light-matter interaction.

AboveAverage said...

Rufus - Impressively well played.

I tip my occipital lobe to you, sir.

Rufus T. Firefly said...


Still alive after the bottle of Saldo with dinner. I'll keep you posted.

Wanna come visit in the land of the tall palm trees?

It's a short trip for you.

(Only if I can stay with you when los yanquis visit Alameda next year. I hear the weather in September is nice.)

Rufus T. Firefly said...

You also reminded me of "The Bucket List" and Edward Coles' three rule to live by.

After a bad experience, I'll never trust a fart ever again. The other two I got down pat.

edb said...

Rucco is a total putz!

Yankee Daddy Roger said...

How soon we forget.

Joe Garagiola


Bob Gamere,

Rufus T. Firefly said...

I'll pass on Gamere. A little too much playing with the candlepins.