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SNY Exposes Flaws in YES, WFAN

By Mike Silva ~ January 30th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, Sports Media Commentary.

I didn’t have a chance to watch Omar Minaya on “Mets Hot Stove” this past Thursday, but the blogosphere did a great job recapping the conversation. As always, host Kevin Burkhardt asked the right questions, and didn’t shy away from delving into the difficult territory. The best part, for me, was when Burkhardt followed up Minaya’s statement that “all teams have question marks”, with “as many as this?” The interview reminds me why Burkhardt is a rising star and, although he does a great job on the Mets sidelines, is destined for bigger and better things in sports media.

I never expected less from Burkhardt, and SNY, who employs equally open Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, and Gary Cohen. Ironically, this week, news came out that David Cone’s departure from YES was partial due to rankling network executives with criticism of the team. It got so heated that Cone had to remind YES he wasn’t there for the money, but to get back into the game he loves. Additionally, the YES owned studios of WFAN saw their own resident bad boy, Craig Carton, stir up trouble yesterday by proclaiming the Mets forced the network’s website, SNY.tv, to hold back parts of the Minaya interview from the web. This clearly is untrue and, anyone who does their homework knows SNY has never held back their writers, one whom contributes to this site, in criticizing the team. That also includes the blog network, where Matt Cerrone and Ted Berg have questioned the direction of the team, both on the field and in the front office. I believe this was another attempt by the “ratings hungry” WFAN to stir up the Mets fans, just like Mike Francesa successfully antagonized Jets Nation weeks earlier.

We all know SNY isn’t perfect. I have been critical of the four year old network on numerous occasions. Outside of Mets game content, we haven’t been treated to very much quality programming when you compare it to YES. They have improved a bit in recent months airing “Mets Yearbooks”, and have done a great job on documentaries about the 86′ and 69′ championship teams, however it’s still is very light very a network going into its fifth year.

The contrast is, when I watch Mets programming, I know I will receive an open and honest opinion about the state of the franchise. Can you say the same from YES, or as Bob Raissman calls it, “Al Yankezerra” with their coverage? Sometimes I get the feeling Michael Kay is wearing his Yankees pajamas and reading the fans a bedtime story when rationalizing the latest with the team. If the storms are choppy, it gets even worse. The fluff is so bad during the studio programming I often wonder if this is the baseball version of the “Manchurian Candidate.”

WFAN is a completely different animal. As home of the Mets you get very little quality content. Until the Jason Bay leak, and studio appearances by David Wright and Jose Reyes, you wouldn’t have known the Mets were broadcast on that station. The Jerry Manuel report doesn’t count since that is a paid segment.  Last year, Wright was so infuriated with the personal attacks from Mike Francesa, team VP of Public Relations, Jay Horwitz, had to broker a peace summit. Normally I would tell Wright to let it slide, but the “Sports Pope” has been known to hold bizarre grudges against stars in this town, often attacking them without the benefit of facts. His recent antics on the Jets Mark Sanchez and coach Rex Ryan, even while they were making a run at the Super Bowl, are a perfect example. Put on someone who Francesa has a personal relationship with, say Omar Minaya, and the softballs are lobbied up juicier than a Sunday beer league.

To be fair, I was told a few years ago that part of doing business with SNY is a promise to not criticize ownership, who owns part of the network. This shouldn’t be news since MSG has a similar type of infrastructure in place. With that said, SNY employees didn’t hold back during the Minaya/Bernazard/Rubin scandal of last summer. Could you imagine if this happened in the Bronx? 2 Penn Plaza? What about WFAN? Let the spin class begin!

I, for one, have nothing against the Yankees organization, or the hosts at WFAN. I just believe this town should be treated to fair, balanced, intelligent, and honest reporting. When I told a Yankees fan this week the Cone story he got angry and said “I want an honest opinion from the broadcast.” The old “cookies and milk” way of broadcasting baseball is dead, and should remain that way. Thankfully, for all their programming creativity flaws, SNY understands that concept. The difference between SNY, and the rest, with respect to opinion, couldn’t be any clearer this week.

Oh, and as for SNY hiding the Minaya interview, you can get the link over at Metsblog.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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5 Responses to SNY Exposes Flaws in YES, WFAN

  1. Shamik

    Completely agree. One thing I love about SNY is that fact that apparently they employ tons of Mets and Jets fans -all of whom of course, have no desire to hold back when it comes to calling out the team. I’ve always prefered Darling, Cohen, Keith as game callers. I can’t listen to any other team. Maybe I’m just a homer or maybe I’m just used to it. I prefer to think they’re the best.

  2. Ceetar

    It’s funny, because if you read this story from a different angle, at a different time, it’s a negative.

    The Mets have been killed all winter, and recently, for being too open. For not controlling the story, for not fluffing it. Now, they could’ve done a better job than they did, surely, but just because they didn’t say, with Beltran, “Beltran had surgery. he’ll be back. We’re making sure the team is capable without him.” doesn’t mean it was wrong.

    If you recall, the same story last year had equally cloudy details, with rumors about how long A-Rod would be out, if the surgery was a temporary solution, if he’d still need a bigger surgery, if he’d come back 100%..etc.

    The Giants (NY) have been so tight lipped (and the NFL _is_ a little different, but still..) that a year or two ago when (I don’t remember the player) a player had surgery on his knee, they wouldn’t even tell you which knee.

  3. Pedro13

    Well done Mike Silva. BRAVO SIR, BRAVO!

  4. dana

    considering the Yankees themselves have been exposing the Mets for so long I suppose its only fair!

  5. Brian

    I agree wholeheartedly with this article, Mike. I was surprised that Wright even spoke to Francesa a week or two ago on the radio. I know that Luis Castillo should have caught the popup in Yankee Stadium but I think that it was unnecessary for Yes to parody him in the New Year ball dropping commercial. I know that it was in a joking manner but still, Luis Castillo positioned himself almost perfectly with the ball but was unlucky that the ball went more towards the side of his mitt.

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