Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Following the NY Yankees – Radio Edition

Living in the heart of Red Sox nation, it is sometimes difficult to tune in the AM radio to the call of the NY Yankees. There are some Massachusetts stations, in the Berkshires and in Springfield, that carry them, but they are local stations without strong signals. Sometimes the signal on NYC’s own WCBS 880 AM is strong enough to be heard but that is inconsistent at best. Also adding to the unfortunate-ness is the fact that near where I live AM 860 is a fundamental Christian station with discussions of the Rapture et al, and this will impinge on the weak WCBS 880 radio signal. Nothing like John Sterling talking about one that is high, far and then some minister cuts in talking about the rapture and what it means for us each and every day.

Speaking of John Sterling, allow me a few words about the Sterling – Waldman duo NY Yankees radio announcers. . I hate ‘em. OK, I said it, HATE THEM! Had a discussion with CollegeBoy and he talked about how, when listening to the broadcast in his car, he can feel the excitement when John goes into one of his patented “It is high, it is far…” moments and that that will add excitement to the call, that he feels extra exhilarated when it goes out, extra deflated when it is caught. I guess I can understand that but after so many years of listening to Yankee radio, Sterling is a disappointment. He has become in my opinion, a cartoon of what an announcer is for baseball and this just leaves me cold. I grew up with Mel Allen and had guys like Bill White, Frank Messer and even Phil Rizzuto filling me in on the games. Those familiar with Rizzuto, with his birthday announcements, hiding under the desk when thunderstorms were in the area and being on the GW Bridge in the eighth inning to beat the traffic, would be within their rights as a commentator on this blog to make the comparison of Rizzuto antics with Sterling’s. To this I say, “fool me once, shame on you fool me twice…” The Scooter, as Rizzuto was called, was who I grew up with, he was the voice on the transistor radio under my pillow and so he draws a bye, not so for Sterling.

And to show that I am an equal opportunity critic, I will say this about the ever excited Suzyn Waldman. When she first joined the Yankee announcing crew in 2005, I liked her. I thought she was knowledgeable, could do a good interview with a player and understood the variances of the game. But then three things happened. In 2007, she cried after the Yankees lost to Cleveland in the playoffs and we all know there is no crying in baseball. Second, her over the top reaction to Roger Clemens coming back to the Yankees, a clip that has been aired hundreds of times on all manners of radio and is an embarrassment. The third, possibly more subtle that the others is the fact that she has kowtowed to Sterling in her call of the game. What once was insight into the action as now become a background for the Sterling show. She has helped him become a cartoon by becoming one herself.

Now the clincher for me. This dynamic duo’s contract id up this year and I am hoping that there is a newly swept clean radio booth at the stadium next year. Sterling must go, the quicker, the better. Suzyn can maybe stick around and do some interviews for the radio audience. That would be ok. As for the announcers, let’s get someone who is a good representative of some 90 years of baseball, someone who can represent 27 pennants. You know, the YES TV booth is pretty crowded. I wouldn’t mind if John Flaherty moved over. But as we say in the business “You know Suzyn, you can never predict baseball!”

1 comment:

  1. It's funny. i suppose the best way to put this is, "Familiarity breeds contempt." But i like John, i look forward to the time-honored "I thank you, Suzyn", etc. You say cartoon, i say Classic. You say tired and overdone, I say traditional and comfortable.

    Does he blow homer calls? yep. But really, i'd rather that than hear the crowd reaction, wait another five seconds, and then hear..."oh, it went foul."

    Waldman I can't ahndle any more, and agree with the stated comments.

    I do not believe Flaherty could do a competent play-by-play on radio, but I would give the job to Ken Singleton.

    Good stuff, as lways, Borg-er.

    - Manhattan Man