Al Leiter spent 2019 away from the YES Network booth after a dozen years as a Yankees analyst, and a year later, he has no regrets about the decision.
“I can’t thank [president of programming] John Filippelli enough for the opportunity,” he said during an interview to promote MLB Network’s coverage of Tuesday’s Hall of Fame announcement. (He still is an analyst for that network.) “I think like many things in life, they run their course, and I felt like it did for me.”
One of Leiter’s primary motivations was to see his son Jack’s final season as a high school pitcher. Jack was a highly ranked prospect and now is a freshman at Vanderbilt.
“I know there are some people who do it forever, and I always said to myself this wasn’t about money, it was about me enjoying it and for it to be fun, and if it wasn’t, then I know it’s time for me to try something else,” Leiter said. “It was 12 years.
"What Flip was able to do, and he got criticized early on, and now many organizations do it, was having multiple analysts do games. I just personally find it a little more interesting if you have a few different points of view as opposed to the same guy every night. So Flip was ahead of that. It really made it work because you can have a life as a father and husband and travel a little bit yet still be at the games. And that was really how it was kind of carved out.”
After leaving YES, Leiter was hired as an adviser in baseball operations for the Mets. The interview with Newsday was conducted before this week’s developments in MLB’s sign-stealing scandal.
“It’s having a chance to be with the team that I had most of my success, and I did grow up a Mets fan [in New Jersey],” he said. “I’ll be honest with you, it was very fluid last year with my son in his senior year of high school before heading off to Vandy. I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss any of his games. So it was very flexible.
“I’m hoping that I can do some more. I really enjoy the minor league aspect of it with respect to teaching and player development and talking pitching with some of the younger players. I see that as a greater chance to have some input and influence and help. So yeah, I’m enjoying it.”