David Cone can empathize with Noah Syndergaard’s catcher fury

DENVER — No one ever called David Cone a diva. He never felt like a diva, even in 2000 when he pushed to work with a catcher besides Jorge Posada.

Nevertheless, the two-time former Met and current YES Network broadcaster didn’t offer his unconditional support for Noah Syndergaard. Rather, Cone offered some counsel to his fellow right-hander as he deals with his own catching crisis.

“All I can say is it’s very real. There’s a very real element to a pitcher to have synergy with a catcher,” Cone said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “The flip side of that is, it’s still incumbent on a pitcher to do anything he can to work with any catcher.

“It’s a trade-off. If you have a great offensive catcher, that matters, too.”

The Mets have a darn good offensive catcher in Wilson Ramos, the veteran who has struggled to click with Syndergaard. In the wake of the two men’s season-long struggles, including a 9-2 loss to the Dodgers last week after The Post reported of Syndergaard’s efforts to pitch to someone besides Ramos in his previous start (a poor outing against the Phillies), Mickey Callaway confirmed Tuesday the team plans to pair up Syndergaard with veteran Rene Rivera for Wednesday’s series finale against the Rockies at Coors Field.

“We feel it’s probably going to be the best thing with this night game, [then a] day game, with this altitude,” Callaway said. “We’re thinking that Noah is going to pitch well with him.”

In his terrific book “Full Count: The Education of a Pitcher,” written with his YES teammate Jack Curry, Cone detailed the tension enveloping his relationship with Posada after the Yankees bid farewell to Joe Girardi, Cone’s favorite all-time battery mate, following the 1999 season. Cone and Girardi formed such a strong bond that Cone didn’t need to shake off Girardi’s first signals if he wanted to throw a different pitch; Girardi could read Cone’s facial expressions and quickly offered a second option. Cone and Posada couldn’t replicate that, and independent of his catcher, Cone lost the feel for his trademark slider.

“He took a lot of pride in calling pitches,” Cone said of Posada, whom he took great pains to not disparage both in the book and in our conversation. “Whenever I tried to stare him off, he took it personally. He felt like he wasn’t doing a good job. It wasn’t the case. My skills diminishing combined with that, those dynamics were kind of clashing.”

Cone said that when he expressed these frustrations, he received no pushback from Yankees manager Joe Torre or any other superiors. Explained Cone: “I was a pitcher in decline. They were searching for anything that would get me out of it.” His longest stretch without pitching to Posada lasted seven starts in June and July, during which he paired up with journeyman Chris Turner.

For that regular season, which he finished with a ghastly 6.91 ERA, Cone tallied a 7.19 ERA in 14 games with Posada, a 6.14 ERA in 15 games throwing to Turner and a 21.00 ERA in one start paired up with Jim Leyritz. His finest moment of the season lasted the shortest — he retired Mike Piazza, the one batter he faced, on a pop out in World Series Game 4 at Shea Stadium — and with Posada as his catcher. Cone never threw another pitch as a Yankee, and interestingly, Turner never played in the majors again after that season.

Jorge Posada, David Cone
Jorge Posada, David ConeAFP/Getty Images

No matter how they want to spin it, the Mets are doing right by giving Syndergaard what he wants.

“We need Noah to pitch well,” Callaway said. “We needed him to pitch well last time. And we thought that was going to be the combo that did it that day, with the lefty [Clayton Kershaw] starting against us. We try to do that every time, put ourselves in the best position to succeed, and we feel tomorrow, given all the better circumstances, this’ll help us.”

It can’t hurt. And these struggles with Ramos shouldn’t hurt Syndergaard, as long as he handles them the right way.


Let’s catch up on Pop Quiz questions:

1) In the 1998 film “There’s Something About Mary,” Ted (Ben Stiller) shows off a baseball signed by a Red Sox outfielder. Name the player.

2) In the 1969 pilot episode of “Night Gallery,” Sidney Resnick (Tom Bosley) sells his eyes and says he has seen everything already, including a famous home run. Who hit the home run?


Our very own Mike Vaccaro will sit on a distinguished panel, alongside 1969 Mets Ed Kranepool, Art Shamsky and Ron Swoboda, for what should be a great event — “The Amazin’ 1969 New York Mets: A World Championship For The Ages”– on Thursday at The Paley Center For Media. You can buy your tickets here.


Your Pop Quiz answers:

Tony Conigliaro

Bobby Thomson

If you have a tidbit that connects baseball with popular culture, please send it to me at kdavidoff@nypost.com.

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