George Steinbrenner always dreamed of having his own satellite or cable network and with the help of some very intelligent soldiers like Randy Levine, Lon Trost and John Filipelli, he was able to create the Yes Network. Mr. Steinbrenner understood how much the Yankee fans loved their team and just couldn’t get enough. He also understood how addicted he became to his team and always compared the Yankees to the Mona Lisa.
The Boss once said that he wanted to have the best sports network in baseball and he would not stop trying to improve YES until he knew that the fans were very happy. Today, almost ten years since the Boss has left us, his soldiers are still trying to make Yes better then ever in every way possible.
This past week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Charlie Santoro, who is one of the Yes network’s top sales man who just so happens to be a part time actor. Charlie was appearing in a new YES commercial with some of the Yankees and the Oscar nominated actor Chazz Palminteri. I got to talk to Charlie about his experience in doing this commercial and his life experience with the YES network.
Negron: Charlie Santoro, you just finished doing the play Batboy, now you’re here doing a commercial for the YES Network. What is that all about?
Santoro: It’s a great experience. So what we are doing is we are promoting the Yankees on YES and the theme is “The Buzz around the Bronx”, and I play a barber in this commercial, cutting the different Yankee players’ hairs, and it’s just an incredible experience, so much fun.
Negron: How did they come up with the idea of using a barber situation?
Santoro: Well this year’s theme is “The Buzz”, so they figured the buzz with the Bronx works well with a barber.
Negron: How did you end up getting this commercial?
Santoro: Well they saw me when I did a play with you for Batboy and they saw me act and the marketing guy said “listen you’re the perfect fit for this. We saw you on stage, you’re very comfortable, you’re natural, and I think you’d be great for this part.” And that’s how I got the part.
Negron: How do you feel that the YES Network is promoting the Yankees in the community?
Santoro: They are doing an incredible job; it’s all about the Yankees. We have promos, we run this throughout the year, and we have different players that we are going to spotlight throughout the year, that would really build up the Yankees. This is going to be a very special year. We really feel that this year they are going to win it all. They just have all the pieces in place.
Negron: How many years have you been with the Yankees?
Santoro: Going on 15 years. The best 15 years of my life, I love it, everyday. Love coming to work.
Negron: While doing the play Batboy, you have been involved with going into different hospitals and schools, doing community service. How has that worked out for you?
Santoro: That’s what it’s all about. That’s the most rewarding thing that anyone can do, just giving back to people that really need it. Without the Yankees this would never happen. I thank God for them every day.
Negron: Have you always been a community-conscious person or is it something that the Yankees put into your heart? How has that worked out?
Santoro: The Yankees put that in my heart. I used to do a little, but that changed ever since I joined the organization. They’re so community orientated, it’s just the right thing to do, and every year I got more involved with it, and it’s really something that just gives me so much delight in my life.
Negron: Do you feel like the YES Network has properly gone out and dealt with the situation of community and the fact that the Yankee fans around the globe are so into it? What’s your feeling on that?
Santoro: Absolutely. Everything goes through the Yankees and whatever the Yankees do, we promote it on air. HOPE Week is a very big week for us on the YES Network, when the Yankee players go into different hospitals and charities. Whatever charity event is on we are always covering it through Yankees Magazine and doing some stuff in the pre and post game show. We are on top of everything they do.
Negron: You got Chazz Palminteri, how did that happen? Chazz is supposed to be in this commercial. What is he playing? Is he a gangster, what’s he doing in this?
Santoro: He’s going to be a barber also. He’s going to be a perfect barber because he is from the Bronx and he’s a big time Yankee fan. When I reached out to him and asked him would you want to be in this commercial, immediately he said yes.
Negron: He says that he’s a Yankee fan. How big of a Yankee fan is he?
Santoro: He’s one of the biggest Yankee fans I know. He goes to games, and he texts me when they win and when they lose. His son is also a crazy Yankee fan. He’s a big time Yankee fan for many, many years.
Negron: Chazz is the biggest reason why I did the play Batboy. Do you feel that he has influenced both you and I in our performance on stage and on television?
Santoro: What Chazz did is similar to what you did. He started off with a one-man show and he encouraged you to take this on the stage. “No matter what it is, take this on the stage, because it is a great story and it needs to be out.” This is the way he started and he told you just dream. And if you dream, it is going to happen for you. And as an actor, I took his message the same way.
Negron: Charlie, you’re a loved man, you’re a handsome man, and we love you.
Santoro: Thanks Ray I love you too bro.
Negron: See you later buddy.