How bad is John Sterling?

Torre and 9-13 Dodgers enjoying each other in LA
Game 24: A-Rod back in the lineup

I know some Yankee fans who swear by the play-by-play of John Sterling. I try not to hold that against them as friends. In The Post today, Phil Mushnick pens a no-holds barred piece describing just how bad John Sterling really is. He writes that Sterling “may be the worst broadcaster in professional sports.” I doubt John and Phil will be dining together any time soon. (Hat tip to BBTF.)

Torre and 9-13 Dodgers enjoying each other in LA
Game 24: A-Rod back in the lineup
  • cult of basebaal

    after spending 2 games listening to Hawk Harrelson, i afraid i MUST disagree

  • Phil

    I dont know what it is about some of these midwest play by play guys, but i cant stand them. as an MLB.TV subscriber, when the yanks play on the road i am stuck with the home teams broadcasts, and by far the most annoying is Hawk Harrelson. The way he calls a game, calls the players by their first name like he knows them; i watch the games on mute. I worked in the Press box in Oakland last summer and I met him, he was actually a really nice guy, its just his work is awful

  • Phil

    thought Michael Kay can get on my nerves alot, atleast he as some excitement in his voice when the opposing team does something. Hawk acts like he was just punched in the gut if any team but the white sox scores a run or makes a great play

    • Link

      i didn’t even know thats who i was listening to this week…yeah that was pathetic. When Bobby hit the grand slam it was like 30 seconds of silence lol.

  • peter

    i have to agree , i havent listened to a game on the radio in ages, i really cant stand the sterling waldman broadcast..whos idea was it to pair these 2 together and have them call baseball games? sterling never tells you what pitch is thrown and blows calls left and right , and waldman is a joke.

  • Yankee1010

    The next time I listen to Sterling and Waldman out of anything but absolute necessity will be the day after they finish defrosting Hell.

  • steve (different one)

    sterling is bad, but when it comes to Mushnick:

    those in glass houses….

    Mushnick criticizing Sterling is like going to the zoo and watching the oragutangs flinging poop at each other.

  • Link

    I’m pretty much unimpressed with the MSM. Everybody is an expert and then when the exact opposite of what the ‘expert’ said happens, nobody cares.

  • Mike N (Stamford, CT)

    Seriously, Sterling is bad but Waldman is a really unbelievably terrible. The way she gushes over the players like a school kid talking about her heros is embarrassing. I wish they hadn’t let Charlie Steiner go to LA he was pretty good.

    • Ben K.

      I wouldn’t go so far as to Steiner was “good.” He was bland and boring.

      • Link

        I’d rather have bland and boring than, “It is high…it is far!!! is….caught by the second baseman.”

      • Pete

        Listening to Sterling and Steiner was like listening to two guys with the same voice tone make the same awful puns over & over, one trying to out-awful-pun the other.

        At least with Waldman, she seems to always defer to Sterling. Not that I mean that as a *good* thing…

    • Chris

      I’m pretty sure he couldn’t stand working with Sterling

  • Rich

    Sterling’s biggest problem is (besides: speaking French and singing show tunes too much, thinking that Jeter is a great defensive SS, hating stats, and treating Yankee players as if they are not just great, but also noble) is that his eyesight is failing him.

    Waldman is a circus clown. She perseverates on phrases like “flat out hit” because she heard some scout say it, and she repeats whatever meme she heard last. She should stick to being a reporter, which she didn’t suck at.

    • atlfalcons


      • atlfalcons

        I just have to put this out in a forum where other people can read it..I absolutely HATE!! John Sterling. I can’t stand him. just call the F’ing game! Your calls are not legendary its stupid and juvenile and I change the channel every time I hear his annoying voice. He epitomizes everything that others hate about New York(ers). Loud and obnoxious and everybody is supposed to adapt to them. I don’t dislike the Yankees I just hate him, I wish he would get throat cancer so I would never ever have to listen to his annoying old blow hard Azz..

  • mehmattski

    Was that article actually published in a print newspaper? Or is it just some internet-only rubbish?

    I ask because that was one of the most disjointed, poorly written things I’ve read in a while. And I grade a lot of freshman undergraduate science papers, so I know bad writing. Mushnick = F-minus.

  • Cam

    I read that this afternoon and I completely agree. I was driving home from the gym the other day with my fiance and I was listening to the beginning of the game. Sterling goes into one of his ‘it is high…’ moments only to say that it was caught in front of the warning track. I just turned to my fiance shaking my head saying ‘i hate him, i hate him’. Yeah, that’s exactly the experience I’m looking for when I listen to the radio.

    And Waldmen is just beyond horrible. Rich got it right by saying that all she does is repeat what she hears others say. Just the same cliched baseball sayings and descriptions over and over. But I disagree with Rich in saying she was a better reporter. I hated her even more because you actually had to look at her while listening to her annoying voice. And unfortunately, since Waldmen is the biggest fangurl ever, and Sterling is “the voice”, I have a feeling our kids will be listening to these joksters.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I cannot listen to Sterling. Just can’t. I’ve heard Waldman explain crap to Sterling that he should know. She’s not great but he’s just horrible. I hate Kay too but I can listen to him for the most part even if he makes me cringe a lot but Sterling is completely un-listenable.

    If only Scooter could come back “There’s the throw, there’s the play at the plate…”

    Now there was an announcer.

  • Dylan

    THANK YOU!!! Sterling and Waldman are really, really hard to listen to! My father and I cannot stand it. He has a synchronized homerun call for every player, Melkman delivers, Bobby Abreu is sweet as candy (that one is also very weird), An A-Bomb, etc… My girlfriend has to watch me rub my head in my hands in disgust any time the Yankees do anything positive because I can’t stand the radio call.

    • Ben K.

      That home run call is from Bobby’s nickname El Come Dulce. That doesn’t make it an acceptable home run call.

  • Chris

    Hawk is the worst announcer ever. I know sterling is a bit of a homer, but Hawk takes the cake. In game 1 he was whining like a lil girl when the yanks were gettin a bunch of bloops and lucky hits. He is the only announcer i know who actually thinks hes apart of the team. He incoroporates ‘we’ as if hes somehow on the team. I cant listen to hawk call games ne more, if I have to hear one more ‘he gone’ for a strikeout i might melt down my laptop into bullets and shoot hawk in the face.

  • Joey

    After listening to those 2 ChiSox idiots the last few days, I don’t think anyone can be as bad as them

  • The Scout

    Give me the former players who have announced for the Yankees any day. Although I don’t necessarily agree with them, I can actually learn something from Singleton, Cone, Leiter, et al, and I miss Jim Kaat. He had more baseball smarts in his pinky that Sterling, Waldman, and Kay rolled together.

  • Mike R.

    Sterling is awful but Mushnik is awfuller. I am just relieved that Melky’s HR call isn’t “Melk Melk Lemonade! Round the corner fudge is made.”

  • Ballgame

    When you are reduced to following the Yankees on the radio, you are not listening to a Yankee game, you’re listening to Sterling barely watch the game. The Yankees do their fans a complete disservice by having these two call games.

    It’s bad enough that they are injecting Advertisements every 15 seconds, but when something happens (a bobbled ball for instance) Sterling can barely follow the play. He fumbles and stutters his way through the call and then watches the replay to actually describe it.

    My guess is George likes Sterlings (and Waldmans) style and that’s why he is here. There can’t be any other honest reason that we have to put up with it.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      I listen to Sterling on the radio and I get road rage even if the Yankees are winning. It’s like I’m a dangerous driver listening to this imbecile and all those frigging commercials.

      Friends don’t let friends listen to John Sterling while driving.

      • jsbrendog

        i want that on a bumper sticker

        “friends dont let friends listen to john sterling while driving”

    • nmc

      I believe that Sterling is employed by CBS, and that the station gets to decide who their announcer is… Not saying that ol’ Georgie doesn’t have his nose in there…

      • Ballgame

        The Yankees have final “approval” of all announcers. If they didn’t like them I’m sure they could “encourage” CBS to choose someone else.

      • atlfalcons

        He’s gotta have some pictures or evidence of someone with either a live boy or a dead girl, there is no other way to justify him being on the air. Blackmail works wonders, either that or his oral skills are off the charts, his voice and his pukish annoying home run calls sure aren’t

    • atlfalcons

      I am a Braves fan and the most annoying thing in the entire world is when listening to the half and top of the hour news inevitably almost every night I have to hear that Punk John Sterling. I hate everything about him. It is high it is far it iss……and then some dumb azz sing along Puck shizzle “tha grandy man can tha grandy man can” I want to come through the radio grab him around the neck and squeeze the life out of him, just so I will never ever have to listen to his annoying juvenile child molester like calls. I can only imagine how much the people in Boston hate his guts. John Sterling please do the world a favor and drown in a pool filled with urine. I hate you

  • jsbrendog

    i am forced to listen to them zas i leave work at 7 and have an hour and a half drive and its heinous/.

    the reason i stopped in the first place is susan waldmen she is the worst announcer ive ever heard and should be shot on sight like scuzzlebutt.

    john sterling wasnt bad when he pandied to kay way back in the day but that could also be because i was only like 10 and my iq and inteligence levele was far below what it is nbow. as it stands now, i cant stand it anywhere yes, or the radio cause michael kay is awful too. I watched the game theother day and it was only coney and singleten and it was the best called game all year. O’neill is good too. Him and cone talk baseball, the science of hitting, the science of pitching, and its funny to hear cone talk about how tupid pitch counts are

    if i hear michael kay say one more time “david u pitched a perfect game out of a rain delay did you not?”


    “david you threw 147 pitches against the mariners in that 95 game right?”

    i think ill drive to the stadium to slap him around myself….

  • Steve S

    This is by no means an endorsement of Sterling and I had no real issue with this until you actually cited Phil Mushnick, who is possibly the biggest waste of you know what on earth. I really haven’t read anything he has written in close to six years. He is the lowest of all these so called sports “journalists” because he acts as if his column in the post is a pulpit. I’m tired of the media and more importantly sports writers telling me about right and wrong morally. THE WORST. John Sterling now took a step up in my opinion

  • Josh

    Sterling/Waldman aren’t perfect, but you get used to them. Re: Phil Mushnick-it’s very easy for him to criticize everyone else’s job (he does it often), but I’d like to see him do better. Put it this way: Sterling could probably do a decent job writing a newspaper column. I doubt Mushnick could be half the announcer Sterling is, warts and all.

  • Chris

    It was much better when it was Sterling/Steiner. Either way, Sterling is not one of the best, but still far from the worst.

    I would like to open voting on the worst sports columnist. I nominate Phil Mushnick, for that drivel that he tried to pass off as a sports column.

  • nmc

    I have to say, people who have never listened to other announcers really should take a step off criticizing John Sterling. He’s not half as bad as other guys.

    Now, he’s definitely not as good as the best, Harry Kalas, Vin Scully, etc. but I have heard some pretty horrible announcers and Sterling actually kind of has a little charm.

    He isn’t -that- bad of a homer… I think he’s just really impressed by baseball players, because he talks glowingly about lots of players. He doesn’t really embarass himself that much by saying stupid or racist things (which many announcers seem to do), and his anecdotes are generally relevant and quirky, and the man has a great memory for baseball, and he never misses a game.

    His nicknames are campy and stupid, and the “It is high… it is far… it is… off the wall! Oh my!” calls are kind of dumb, but really not as bad as some of the drivel you have to put up with when watching or gameday audio. I want to kill myself every time Ron Santo talks because he’s such a whiny bitch.

    As for Suzyn…. ugh.

  • Yankee Psycho-fan-t

    I have actually heard this call:

    “it is high, it is far, it is…caught by Derek Jeter in shallow left!”

    Its unbelievable how consistently wrong he is about home-run calls. Other than that he has a sort of glorified, old baseball man mentality that I really disagree with but he is much easier to listen to than say…the guys who broadcast for the White Sox. Anyone remember a guy named Tim McCarver? Oh right he’s still working on FOX. I maintain that he is the worst on-air personality of any kind. I absolutely hate the man. On the whole, I mind John Sterling a whole lot less than I loathe Suzyn Waldman…she sucks. Basically, sports announcers are a distraction from the game, the greats are a lot of fun but there don’t seem to be a lot of new people stepping in to inherit the duties that are all that pleasant to listen to.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    If there is a worse baseball announcer than John Sterling, I don’t want to know about it. I know it’s hard to believe but his home run call of non home runs is not the worse thing he does, as a matter of fact, it’s not even close.

    How about the fact that he never shuts up not even for a second. How about his endless lectures on baseball strategy, his nicknames for every player, his moronic laugh. Anyone ever time him to see how long he can go without giving the score!

    John doesn’t broadcast the game, he broadcasts what he thinks of the game.

    The strange thing about John, he’s has never been any good. I don’t know how we got into this position in the first place. His contract has another three years to run!

    I go back with the Yankees and I know what bad is, I remember when Fran Healy did the games on radio, John makes those days seem like the golden age of Yankee broadcasts.

    CBS radio, deliver us from this evil. Amen.

  • Chris

    Word is that they had to make the broadcast booth at the new Stadium twice as big as the old because Sterling has been having trouble squeezing his enormous ego through the door. Not only do I hate that clown but I hate anyone who finds him tolerable. If he was hit by a bus tomorrow I’d feel sorry for his family but rejoice for Yankee fans. That jackass and Waldman, a Red Sox fan masquerading as a Yankee announcer, should do us all a favor and just retire.

  • Lanny

    Ever since Sterling took over in the booth whats the Yanks record and how many titles do they have?

    Yea, I think he’s ok.

  • RustyJohn

    What follows is only partially relevent to the discussion and is a bit of stream of conciousness…

    The thing about Sterling is not only does his actual craft suck but so does his voice. When I hear a play-by-play guy calling a game, I want to hear a guy’s voice who either 1) smoked three packs of Marlboro Reds a day for 30 years or 2) is from the South of Midwest. The ideal candidate would have done both.

    That being said, personally, I find those announcers that have a background in hockey do very well in baseball. For better or for worse, I love hearing games that Gary Thorne calls- he just has a good voice. On Sundays I used to make a trek every week from Seattle to Okanogan, WA- for those who have never been to Okanogan, WA, do not got there. The population density is 8 people per square mile- which puts it above the average population density for the stateof Alaska but below that of North Dakota.

    But it is a four hour drive of absolute desolutness and one of the few things Iwould enjoy on the drive was ESPN Sunday night baseball with Gary THorne and Dave Campbell. It got to the point where I would turn the sound down on the TV when I was at home and listen to themon the radio rather than having to listen to Morgan and Miller.

    In short, Sterling sucks.

  • nick blasioli

    sometimes you dont have a choice and since its the only broadcast of yankees games i can get..ill take waldman and sterling…also,,,they are very informative…the announcers i hate are buck and mc carver.very naltional league rooters…like the cardinals..its very obvious…ill take waldman and sterling any day over them….

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  • gporter

    sterling is awful — i mean really “an ABOMB by AROD” makes me want to puke and dont get me started on the whole “the YAAAAAAANNNKKKKEEEEES win” thing. quite possibly the most ridiculous call in all of sports.

    waldmyn is annoying

    BUT I think the worst thing ever was listening to Yankees games on the radio when Kay was the man at the top of the broadcast and listening to him describe the uniforms of both teams. Talk about just filling dead air. It would make me seethe, I wanted someone to just go up there and shoot him in the head. Like I need to hear a description of the Yankees uniforms every single day — it makes me angry to this day

    • atlfalcons

      Couldn’t agree with you more, what he doesn’t realize and I think none of the Yankee homers out there realize is that outside of New York and the few die hard Yankees fans….everyone else in the entire nation and for that matter the world..can’t stand John Sterling. Just call the game and do a good job at it. There is no need whatsoever to do all the extra stuff. When I am @ home and happen to hear one of his ass-rabbit calls I have to go hit my punching bag for 20 minutes just to calm down. I hate him I hate him I hate him. I would rather have the Taliban as neighbors than to ever have to listen to his voice. Please do the world a favor John Sterling..shovel your own poop back in your mouth and choke on it. The rest of the world hates you.

  • Gianni Ribisi

    Sterling is the worst announcer is baseball. Messes up at least 5 calls a game. Does not remember which players are in the game. Forgets what stadium the teams are playing in. The other day he called a lower deck home run hit in texas against the rangers a upper deck home run in Detroit. WOW. Not to mention the other day Nunez made an error and he said Cano made the error, Cano was not even in the lineup that day. He is losing his eyesight as well he cannot make the proper call on balls that are hit to the outfield, or 10 feet past the infield for that matter. He has never been the best, but in the past whether you liked him or not at least he was close to accurate. Now he not only is annoying but he does not call the game correctly, not even close as of recent and to be honest that is really needed when you are broadcasting on the radio. NOT A GOOD COMBO ANYMORE. And Suyzn Waldman has to go as well, a little fangirl who gushes over nonsense she is just as annoying as Sterling. The NY Mets have the best TV and Radio team combined no question. No one ever complains about them Gary and Keith and Ron are super knowledgeable and credible and Howie Rose and Josh Lewin (new guy on WFAN replacing Wayne Hagin) are very very good as well. STERLING DOES NOT DESERVE TO WORK FOR SUCH A PRESTIGIOUS TEAM AS THE YANKEES