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David Cone Q&A: Former pitcher discusses his experience playing for Buck Showalter, Mets’ pitching problems

If the Mets didn’t have the attention of baseball before this week, they sure do now.

It’s been an eventful week in Queens with Steve Cohen publicly backing his manager, Buck Showalter, and general manager, Billy Eppler. But all is still not well in Flushing.

Ugly losses still have people questioning whether Showalter and Eppler will make it through the season. The Mets blew their 13th lead in a month Friday night against the San Francisco Giants. They had better luck once the calendar flipped to July with a win over the Giants on Saturday, but it’s going to take a lot more than one win to stop the free-fall. It’s been two weeks since the Mets even won back-to-back games.

This weekend, the entire country will get a glimpse of the most baffling team in baseball when the Mets face the Giants on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. With former Mets and Yankees right-hander David Cone in the booth, along with Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and Buster Olney, the Daily News talked to the right-hander to get his thoughts on the state of the Mets.

Daily News: The situation around the Mets could change, so as a broadcaster, how do you prep knowing that the manager or the general manager could be fired in the days before the game?

David Cone: “It makes it difficult because you try to strike a balance in terms of what’s really going on behind the scenes as much as you can find out, and then what’s going on on the field as well as the game unfolds. It’s very easy to pile on in these situations. I find it more important just to really kind of try to find that balance. And stick to the facts, really.”

DN: Having played for Buck and worked with him as a broadcaster, what do you find makes him an effective manager?

DC: “Buck’s strengths are that he has studied the game for so long under some really bright people. He really understands more facets about baseball and managing than most people think about. Ultimately, managing today in today’s game still comes down to managing a bullpen. When to leave them in and when to take them out still kind of rules the day. But Buck knows more about the job of managing than just about anybody. He thinks and worries about just about everything that could possibly come up that most people don’t think about. At the end of the day, you’re still going to be judged on whether that reliever got them out or not.”

DN: How have you seen him evolve?

DC: “Dealing with the modern-day player personalities. They are much more emotional and they show more emotion. Whether it’s letting the kids play or backflips or shows of emotion or dugout celebrations. I think he’s really evolved in that regard because he was around Billy Martin and the Yankees which is a pretty conservative organization and they played it by the book, almost military-style with the haircuts and the way you wear your uniform. Even back to the days of, you can’t turn your cap around to wear backwards. From those days, he’s just really evolved.”

DN: What do you make of the Mets’ pitching problems right now?

DC: “I think there has been a lot of pressure on the top guys. To me, it just kind of shows the importance of having overall depth and more pitchers, instead of so much emphasis on the top three or four pitchers. The problems are really manifested when, say, Buck had to stay away from his top three relievers, and they lose the game by not using their best three relievers. Most teams that are successful have five or six really good relievers that they can use all the time. That’s kind of the nature of the game today. And that there’s a lot of pressure on the best pitchers, but yet the overall depth is really kind of undervalued and underrated and kind of lacking with the match overall on their overall pitching.”

DN: The Mets have often been booed by their own fans this season. Is it tough to be booed on your own home field?

DC: “It is, but I think there’s only one way to deal with that. Most players that have been around understand that. “You kind of have to embrace the boos. You have to accept them, own that and just just take accountability for them and win them back. You can win the fans back. If you’re accountable and you admit when you’ve had a bad game. If you stand up in front of your locker and you’re consistent in wins and losses, you can get the benefit of the doubt moving forward.”

This interview was edited for length and clarity.


Source: Berkshire mont

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