Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Sharp Shooter
2008-10-02 05:48
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

I thought David Cone was one of the bright spots in the YES booth this year, didn't you?  He improved steadily as the season progressed and I hope to hear more of him next year.


Hey, ever read Scott Raab's Esquire piece on Cone back in '99?  Raab caught up with Cone during srping training and the article was a good one: check it out.  My favorite part centers around Cone's anxiety about leaving the game:

"I'll miss having that ball in my hand," he says, sitting in the clubhouse before practice. "I'm going to have trouble with it, emotionally. I'd like to say, 'Hey, I'm a little more well-adjusted than that -- I have a future and I have a mind and I have things to look forward to,' but to me it's just about...I love to pitch so much."

..."I love being out there on the mound with the ball in my hand. I can control the game. I'm out there. No clock -- nothing happens until I throw that thing. Nothing happens. I love that feeling."

Something furrows Cone's brow and drops his voice just then, something few men -- athletes or not -- give voice to: fear.

"Maybe I should've left after last year," he says quietly, "but I'm not ready. It scares me."

Oh, and of course, there is this too:

I depart the clubhouse just in time to see Don Zimmer, the Yankees' sixty-eight-year-old bench coach, through the doorway of the coaches' locker room, buck naked. You can call yourself a baseball fan, make the pilgrimage to Cooperstown, and hock your grandma's silver to buy a Mark McGwire rookie card, but you don't truly know baseball until you've seen Don Zimmer's cascade of flesh, led southward by the dowsing rod of his manhood.  

Manager Joe Torre, talking to a gaggle of reporters in the hallway outside his office, catches the same panorama and winces. "I'm sorry I turned around," he says.

Zimmer was at the track yesterday when Joe Torre called him. Perfect.

2008-10-02 07:31:38
1.   Dimelo
Zimmer hung in all his glory, for all the world to see. That's a sight!!! Or not...

I think if Zimmer were a superhero, he'd probably be The Thing.

2008-10-02 07:58:00
2.   ms october
jeez - i'm sorry i read about it.

yeah i agree alex, i thought cone was great in the booth. he really got more comfortable as the year went on and his insight was great. i really like the pitcher/hitter,catcher perspective when cone or leiter is paired with flaherty.
cone and singleton made a really good two man booth.
and i love the wild times with cone. by the middle of the year he wasn't holding back with all of his crazy stories.

2008-10-02 08:26:09
3.   dianagramr
Roger Angell penned a book on Cone, focusing on his struggles during the 2000 season.

(warning: I read most of the book, it was only OK ...)

2008-10-02 08:51:40
4.   Alex Belth
I thought the Angell book was a disaster. I mean, Angell did a competent enough job but I think he was ill-suited to the assingment and the project must have been vexing when Cone fell apart that year and ducked Angell like the plague.
2008-10-02 09:01:37
5.   standuptriple
Cone's '88 season was when I really started following the pros. Until then I was consumed with getting into whatever it is young boys get into between the ages of 10 and 11. In the Bay Area it was all Bash Bros, Clark & Mitchell, but I gravitated towards the skinny bulldog from the opposite coast. I'm pleased to admit I've been a Cone-head for two decades now.
2008-10-02 11:33:57
6.   The Mick 536
3 I learned a lot about pitching from the book. When I cleaned out a shelf or two of baseball books, it qualified as a keeper. Conehead knows the game.
2008-10-02 17:23:14
7.   Max
Great story on Coney (thanks Alex), but this line from it:

"but you don't truly know baseball until you've seen Don Zimmer's cascade of flesh, led southward by the dowsing rod of his manhood."

Oh lord, I wish Raab's prose had been a little less purple in making that point.

2008-10-02 19:17:27
8.   FreddySez
It's always bugged me that George Will singled out Cone (in 1989) as the embodiment of just-good-enough mediocrity in Men at Work, a book I enjoyed in all other respects. Wonder if he's revisited/recanted since then.

Give me a rotation of David Cones and a mound to put them on, and I will move the earth.

And yes, he's growing into the booth role very well. Impressed with Flash, too, and happy whenever Paulie shows up.

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