Jun
16

Being on the road means one thing for a Yankees fan

By

While many Yanks fans are headed down to Washington, D.C. for the series this weekend, I’m headed in the opposite direction. So while they get to watch the game live from Nationals park, I’m stuck with the two voices that any road tripping Yankees fan has to endure. John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman will be my guides for the weekend’s slate of games.

It’s become popular of late to pile onto this broadcasting team. Some of it is warranted, of course. While Sterling might have a voice made for radio, he fails in so many other aspects of game-calling. It seems as though at least once a game he completely misses a call. As in, he says one thing, when nothing of the sort has taken place on the field. And that’s my biggest complaint.

Sure, there are other annoying aspects of the broadcast. Ralph Nader recently railed against the in-game advertisements Sterling reads. These ads, he says, “disrupt the flow and excitement of the game broadcast and undermine your responsibilities as a guardian of the national pastime.” It makes for nice rhetoric, but radio is still a business that needs to turn a profit. With traditional ad dollars down, they have to recoup somewhere. Sure, I sometimes imagine Sterling doing spots for companies I’m researching. “That’s an energetic blast, and your company can take care of all its energy needs with ABB energy.” But realizing its’ a business, it’s not that bothersome.

And yes, there are the inane conversations between he and Suzyn about seemingly irrelevant topics. But that’s pretty inevitable in any three-hour broadcast. They have so much time to fill, and even more when a pitcher is working slowly. (And they make sure to lament that when it happens.) It’s tough to begrudge them these conversations, though, because they’re impromptu. They’re naturally going to get a detail wrong here, or go off on an unrelated tangent there. Nature of the beast and all.

Of Sterling’s bombastic calls I couldn’t care less. He created his schtick, and he’s going to run with it until the day he retires. Yes, his home run calls have become increasingly pathetic with age. Oh well. He still gets riled up, and it’s not really bothersome. It is, after all, his broadcast, and if he wants to spice it up in some manner that’s his prerogative. But if that’s all they did — have boring conversations, make ostentatious calls, and read advertisements — I wouldn’t mind. It’d be a trade-off for free descriptions of a baseball game I can’t watch.

No, the real issue is with the descriptions themselves. The broadcast team is the eyes and ears for those who have no other means. And in this regard Waldman and Sterling fail us. Again, it’s the call Sterling makes that in no way reflects what happened on the field. It’s getting tuned up for a home run call only to have the ball go 30 feet foul (which we have to learn later). Or worse, an “it is high, it is far” call for a ball that lands comfortably in front of the warning track.

The bare minimum I ask from a broadcast is an accurate description of the game, and I don’t feel as though I’m getting that with Sterling and Waldman. I understand some people enjoy their cooky style. That’s fine; it’s a matter of taste, and it’s not as though I’m immune to accusations of bad taste. But style or not, no one can forgive their play calling mishaps. It’s the very foundation of the broadcast, and yet it’s lacking wildly with the Yankees.

As we’ve learned, the Yankees could be switching broadcast stations next season. There’s a chance that this is the last hurrah for Sterling and Waldman. If so, I’d welcome the new blood. Not because I can’t stand Sterling’s home run calls, not because I’m turned off by in-game ads (the new team will read them, too, just as the teams before Sterling did), and not because I don’t enjoy Waldman’s insights. It’s because they’re failing at the most basic aspect of their jobs. Describe me the game. Even if you do nothing more, add no more personality, at least I’m informed. As a baseball fan with no way to watch the game, that’s all I ask.

Categories : Rants

77 Comments»

  1. Manny's BanWagon says:

    I still like Sterling but they need to pair him with a much stronger partner. The Sterling/Kay team was much better than what they have now.

    • forensic says:

      I too liked Kay/Sterling when they were together, granted that was long ago and I was much more naive in terms of what I paid attention to and cared about hearing (I also like Kay, unlike many people here).

      But, I think Sterling is past the point where a stronger partner would fix much. There’s only so much his partner could correct him on before it gets to be too much, either for the listeners or for them.

  2. forensic says:

    Completely agree. I rarely have to listen to them being that I’m out of NY and am typically home by the start of the games, but even in just the couple of games this year I’ve flipped them on in Gameday Audio, I remember numerous calls that when I saw the video of them later I wondered when that happened because I didn’t hear it on the radio.

  3. The Steinbrenners are loyal to Sterling/Waldman. As Yankees change stations, Steinbrenner still retain the rights to choose the voice of the Yankees. As many are annoyed with their game calling, I don’t see Hal ousting either one.

    • forensic says:

      For what it’s worth, the prior posts on here indicate that the rights to choose the announcers would be part of the negotiations with a station, not that they automatically stay with the Yankees to be able to make the choice.

  4. Section 8 says:

    I think you are being way too easy on their pointless, inane chatter, but you hit the most important point: they just don’t call the game well. I’m always amazed when I hear other teams’ broadcasts, how “boring” they are because they “just” call the game.

    What I find most incredible is that the Yankees find this acceptable, when just down the dial, the Mets have a far superior radio broadcast. For the team that prides itself on class and tradition, allowing these two clowns to be their voice is an embarrassment.

    • Smart Guy says:

      damnit finally someone who i agree with

      not only on the radio, on tv the mets crew is so much better than the bozos we have

  5. mark says:

    Completely agree with Manny’s BanWagon. And, Sterling/Kay were great together.

    Regarding the Steinbrenners having power to pick the new broadcast team, I have read that they don’t have that power with the new deal. They can provide input, but they can’t decide.

  6. gc says:

    Not a big Phil Rizzutto fan I take it, were you? The whole ‘fans complaining about announcers’ thing has become one of the lamest things in all of sports. It seems nobody is ever happy. With anyone. Except maybe Vin Scully (and then there’s a cadre of fans who complain he’s too boring). I’ve been listening to these Yankee broadcasters for years, and while I understand the issues some people have with him, he gets the overwhelming majority of his calls CORRECT. As with any type of broadcast criticism these days, whether it’s bitching about the FOX crew being anti-Yankees (while fans of opposing teams listen to the same exact broadcast and insist the FOX team is decidedly PRO-Yankees), it’s a matter of people hearing what they want to hear. They tune out all the things that are right (which most of it is) and focus all their ire on the things that are wrong. Yes, Sterling misses calls sometimes. So do other broadcasters.

    A long time ago, I complained here on RAB that Mike Axisa didn’t have the basic respect of his readers in mind by proof-reading his posts, which contained many typos and errors that a simple spot-check before putting the article live would have fixed. I was slammed by folks who told me I was being unfair, that this is a free site, and that if I was so unhappy or felt so disrespected I could just choose not to come here anymore. My favorite comment was “my refund check was in the mail.” In the end, I’ve come to accept that this isn’t really about Mike or anyone on RAB disrespecting their readers at all. People make mistakes. It doesn’t bother me anymore, because at the end of the day, I enjoy coming here and participating in what this site has to offer. And also, there’s so much that’s right about what Mike and others post, why focus all my energy on a misspelled word here or there? It happens. And Mike is not above going back and fixing his mistakes, just as Sterling will often inform the listeners of the mistakes he made as well. Point is, there are plenty of things in life to really get worked up over. This is so far down the list, it’s silly.

    • gfb1 says:

      Funny you mention the Rizzuto!!
      As I was reading the article, I remembered games where I learned more about Mrs. Micchelli’s cannolis and the red wine from Home Liquor in Union, NJ, than what was happening on the field.
      Love the Scooter!!

    • forensic says:

      Except maybe Vin Scully (and then there’s a cadre of fans who complain he’s too boring)

      **raises hand**

      He’s boring and he goes on worse tangents than anyone.

      But, there is a difference between guys like Sterling and Rizzuto. Sterling is the main PBP guy who gets the lions-share of the airtime and has the responsibility of calling the action as it goes. Rizzuto (at least during my time of watching) was a background color guy who can discuss things after the fact and was mostly there for the entertainment part of the deal, not to tell you exactly what’s happening at that moment. Some pointless banter isn’t a big deal, it’s the travesty of some of his calls that are the issue.

      It’s the same argument as O’Neill. He’s entertaining and can make you laugh with good stories, very similarly to Rizzuto, but it’s not often he adds a ton to the broadcast. But, I’d still rather have someone like him doing the color than a Flaherty who may have something good to say but nobody hears it because they’ve all already been put to sleep by him.

      You’re comparing guys with different job descriptions, backgrounds, and reasons for being in the booth.

      • gc says:

        Rizzuto used to do play by play as well. Many a game he would call “oh that’s gone!!!” off the bat which then landed in the second baseman’s glove as a pop-up. Or make other miscalls, which most fans just laughed off because they loved the guy. As did I. He was folksy and charming and genuinely lovable. But not the best or most accurate play by play guy when he was in that role.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJk9shKvN_Q

        • Cuso says:

          Sterling is just “a guy” that does Yankee radio. Scooter was a beloved Yankee, former MVP and multi-time World Champion.

          There’s a difference with what you put up with and from who. If you cannot see the difference between Scooter’s dimentia and Sterling’s, then you may be the one missing the point.

          • gc says:

            No, there’s a difference between what YOU put up with and from who. If you’re going to complain about a play by play guy getting things wrong, it shouldn’t matter if he’s a former player, MVP, world champ, or whatever. And I hate to break this to you, but there are scores of people out there who actually like John Sterling. Even the people I know who say they can’t stand him all do the same thing after every win. They scream, “The Yankees win, THEEEEEEEEE YANKEEEES WINNNN!!!!!”

      • Pat D says:

        I’ll turn on Dodgers games just to hear Scully.

        I guess I’m still nostalgic for the Vin Scully/Joe Garagiola pairing, which was the first national announcing crew I ever heard.

      • Deep Thoughts says:

        Too bad you can’t appreciate the irony of you calling Vin Scully (or anyone else” boring.

    • the other Steve S. says:

      Well stated. S & W do suck but when I am listening it’s because I have no other option. Generally I am just glad to be able to follow along. 70 years ago, when radio was IT. These two would never have lasted.

    • JMK says:

      Really good post, gc. I do think there’s a difference between Axisa’s occasional typos and Sterling’s call errors – Sterling is a professional, and one with a substantial contract. His responsibilities require a greater degree of public trust than Mike, however popular the site may be.

      That said, we’re probably all a little too finicky with errors, me included. If someone makes one bad call out of 70, that’s a pretty good ratio. But when Sterling screws up, they’re often comical. It is high, it is far, it is … caught by the second baseman in shallow center!

      As full disclosure, I work in journalism and like everyone, am prone to goof on occasion. Often you’ll find people harping on a comma splice issue while forgetting that the article took real skill, ingenuity and insight. But it comes with the territory, I suppose.

      Now, my issue with the broadcasting team is much simpler – I find Suzyn’s voice so grating and her insight so trite, I just can’t listen. It’s painful. When you couple that screechy, nails-on-a-chalkboard wailing with Sterling’s bombastic, silly calls and inaccuracies, it’s just so hard to take. The Mets broadcasting team is so much better.

  7. Smart Guy says:

    its funny the yankees have the most money and have such a long history of pride and excellence yet they have the worst broadcasters on the radio and on TV while the Mets have the best.

    Yankees need to fire sterling, suzyn and michael kay

    • Steve (different one) says:

      Except that’s not true about the TV. But to each their own I guess.

    • Pat D says:

      Yea, Keith Hernandez is terrific and completely without bias.

      Yea.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      Try listening to a White Sox broadcast…

      • Smart Guy says:

        i love the hawk!

        and who ever thinks the yankees crew other than maybe david cone is better than cohen and the mets is just a biased moron

        • Steve (different one) says:

          Well this explains a lot then.

          • Jamey says:

            Hey come on, his name is “Smart Guy”.

            • Steve (different one) says:

              I’m sorry, you can’t call the YES crew “bozos” and then say you like Hawk Harrelson, easily the worst announcer in the history of professional sports. You just can’t. It renders all opinions meaningless.

              Yes, I may be exaggerating a little, but not much. Could you imagine if the YES crew refused to call the action when the other team scores?

  8. Pat D says:

    I’ve always felt that Sterling and Waldman were too friendly with each other, which leads to them having good back and forth, but that often leads to those meaningless stories and, I believe, causes them to miss things. I always sensed an aloofness between Sterling and Kay, because it seemed they were cut from the same cloth, and so there wasn’t as much of it. Same when Charley Steiner was there with Sterling. That was a somewhat awkward pairing, and I’ve always liked Steiner.

    My defense of Sterling/Waldman always comes from this: Have you heard the announcers of other teams? Sterling/Waldman, and Kay counts in this too, don’t bother me with being Yankee homers because I’m a Yankees fan. But when I listen to other teams’ announcers, I’ve always felt their homerism is waaaaaaaaaaaaay beyond the Yankees’ announcers.

    Hawk Harrelson is by far the worst example. Dan Orsillo isn’t much better. He has an orgasm whenever a Red Sox player hits a home run and he treats opponent’s home runs like they were routine pop flies. Sterling and Kay seem to, for the most part, give the same home run call for everyone, not just the Yankees’ players.

    The worst homers I’ve heard lately are the guys who broadcast the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs games for the local ESPN radio station. They really openly cheer for them during the game, making pretty much no attempt to be objective.

    I’m just so used to hearing Sterling that if I started to hear someone else, I’d find it weird.

    • forensic says:

      I agree with the homerism on Kay, he’s not bad. But, I think Sterling is a bit further along than him.

      And you’re right, people need to listen to other announcers before just constantly bashing the Yankees. I haven’t really listened to many other radio teams, but there are plenty of terrible/homeristic TV teams out there: Marlins, Rangers, Angels, White Sox, Diamondbacks, Indians, etc. I actually don’t mind the Red Sox crew too much, but I could see your argument.

      And, along the lines of your first thought, I wonder if they’ve gotten too friendly/close with the players too. I know they have to keep relationships with them because they’re together 180+ days each season, but has there ever been a former Yankee that they haven’t introduced as ‘our friend’ or ‘old buddy’? They certainly would never say anything not glowing about a current player either.

      • forensic says:

        And of course, those are just the minor things of maybe being too close. It doesn’t even approach things like the Clemens fiasco and Waldman crying on the air.

  9. Matt DiBari says:

    Ralph Nader is still around?

    And THIS is what he cares about?

    Also, Kay is much worse at reading outfielders than Sterling.

  10. rogue says:

    I like Sterling, solely because his HR calls are despised by Red Sox fans. WEEI in Boston, occasionally loves to tweak their listeners with Sterling clips. That said, I’ve never heard Sterling blow a HR call. Red Sox announcer Joe Castiglione frequently exclaims “deep fly ball” only for the result to be a flyout.

    My favorite all-time announcer was the late, great Ernie Harwell. I heard him when he filled in for an ESPN gig in a Yankees/Rangers game, several years ago, and was amazed. I wish the Yankees had his clone.

  11. Daniel says:

    I agree that the main problem with John and Suzyn is their inability to accurately describe the game on the field. Also, they turn each game and each season into a soap opera or broadway show where the players and coaching staff are the characters. They constantly tell generic “feel good” stories about these characters rather than using the actual facts of their performance to create drama. I would greatly prefer to hear narratives based on baseball instead of boring PR fluff.

  12. LIKE A FINE WINE says:

    Joe,

    Ive been a reader for years and rarely comment, however with this post I could no longer hold back. I understand your complaints, and I can see EXACTLY where you are coming from. HOWEVER in this age of the YES Network, Live streaming online, and the MLB at Bat app. The need for radio greatness has diminished somewhat. Making the Sterling/Waldman combo one of the best in professional sports.

    Sure, you never know what is really going on, and at least 5 times a game there will be pearls of wisdom dropped on the listening audience such as;”Well that’s baseball Susan” or “How do you like that?” or “How do you figure, only in baseball Susan”.

    Yes, Sterling/Waldman are living breathing caricature’s of what decent broadcasters should be, but they are OUR caricature’s DAMN IT!!!

    For over 20 years they have been OUR drunk, racist Uncle at the family Christmas party. They have been the homeless men on the subway shouting nonsense and unintelligible babble, until finally in 1 breif moment of clarity it becomes apparent, they just want to sell candy, and break dance!

    Joe, I will enjoy the hell out of listing to their broadcast and being utterly confused until the day I die or they retire… After all…I can always check my smart phone for the truth.

    Thanks for the memories John and keep up the good work!

    IT IS HIGH>>> IT IS FAR>>> IT IS >>>>>> Caught in shallow left field, no wait its a double… ah hell Susan what do you think?

    - Sterling lover OUT!

    • LIKE A FINE WINE says:

      Before someone jumps on me… yes i know sterling and waldman have not been together that long… but work with me people, sterling is the linchpin

    • Steve (different one) says:

      This post was awesome.

    • Deep Thoughts says:

      Terrific post. Hilarious and, I think, an absolutely correct assessment. People who want, nay, need 100% accuracy a) should use the smartphone and b) are TOTALLY missing the point of listening to a ballgame for relaxation and entertainment, which is what they are for. Newsflash: The players and announcers are all Yankee employees. They are entertainers. They spend half the year (often for multiple years) together on the road so it’s not absurd that they actually become friends, or at least friendly. John and Suzyn’s job is to fluff the games, and to sustain interest.

      Glad you posted, LAFW. Just goes to show, you can type/speak very little and say much. Boy I wish forensic would learn this lesson instead of applying the inverse.

      • forensic says:

        Oh, that hurts so much. Just because you don’t understand when I’m addressing what is specifically mentioned in a comment doesn’t mean it’s useless.

        Maybe somebody agrees with it, maybe nobody does. If you don’t like it, then scroll right past them. I’ll try to control my sadness…

        • Deep Thoughts says:

          ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

          Trust me, miss, it’s not a lack of comprehension. It’s a lack of hours in the day to scan your diarrheic bloviations.

        • Deep Thoughts says:

          “Maybe somebody agrees with it, maybe nobody does.”

          I’d like to see this put to a poll.

  13. Section 8 says:

    It’s not that long ago that Yankee broadcasts were fine. Kay & Sterling on the radio were good, before Sterling went off the rails with his shtick. Kay, Kaat, & Singleton were outstanding as a group on tv. I even liked Suzyn in the limited doses of clubhouse reporter.

    Not sure if Kay is actually worse now, but ever since he became a radio blowhard, I find him unbearable. Agree with the comments about Paulie; love him but he adds nothing. The rest I like…Flaherty, Cone, Leiter, Singleton are all good, I just wish they would stick with one team for some continuity. Singleton + Cone gets my vote.

    And finally, anyone who defends Sterling by invoking Scooter should be excommunicated. Scooter was a legend, clearly nuts, and always entertaining.

  14. MiKy G says:

    Only 1 thing more boring and pompous than the Sterling-Waldman team and that is Joe what’s his name and this idiotic article.

  15. John Cerra says:

    If you listen to Sterling/Waldman (and Rizzuto) a lot, like I do, you might realize they don’t have the vision to see across the stadium like the TV camera does. So that video above, that shows the catch…we have been spoiled to think that is easy to see. It is not. Sterling many times indicates that Waldman is looking at the video replay. Thus the calls that are…wrong.

    I don’t know if many of us would do better at that problem.
    But yes, they can get inane.

    And the home run calls? “Raul…you’re so…cool?”

    What will be the call that makes Sterling blush?

    • forensic says:

      Those aren’t the only calls he screws up though. One game this season I remember he called a liner (I think from Tex) down the RF line as just a few inches foul because it stayed on the field between the wall and the line. Watching the game later I saw the ball clearly go 10-15 feet foul over the camera well into the crowd, not even close to the field.

      • Deep Thoughts says:

        Serious question: So f***ing what?

        • forensic says:

          He made the argument that they mess up because the OF walls are too far away. Balls that are clearly foul a little past the bases aren’t at the walls.

          You’re really having trouble with this, aren’t you?

          • Deep Thoughts says:

            1) Again, so what? Did that detract from your enjoyment of the game? Did you have a bet placed on how far from the foul line that ball was going to be?

            2) You are full of crap, as John didn’t even mention a wall in his post. You are setting up straw men and knocking them down in the most whiny and annoying and verbose manner possible. Bite your tongue, skip the condescension, and shut up already with the constant sharpshooting of everything you disagree with everywhere.

            3) Time to tell your doctor to up the dosage.

            Have a nice day!

            • forensic says:

              He mentioned the video that was posted above of the catch at the wall and that it was easy to see in the video but hard to see for them from the booth.

              Maybe if you took a break from some vendetta you suddenly have against me you would’ve figured that part out.

              And yes, the distance foul does affect what you think is happening because it has to do with how close the batter is to timing the pitches well.

              And you’re one to talk about upping dosages, as you seem to have suddenly chosen to take up some absurd vendetta with me over a couple comments for no reason, unless you’re good friends with Sterling…

  16. RI$P FTW says:

    They are awful and I hope they both die soon. I’m not kidding.

  17. cr1 says:

    Waldman was a terrific clubhouse reporter, had real conversations with the players, didn’t rely on stock cliche questions that players inevitably answer with stock cliche answers. Then the marketing people decided she was too old and they slid her over into a radio role for which she was much less well suited (although at first she did try to keep up with correcting Sterling’s on-air errors). Meantime Kim Jones was hired to replace her — obviously for looks since who can forget that first season when she demonstrated no knowledge at all of baseball or the team, and famously admitted allowing the Tampa FO contingent to dictate what questions she would ask.

    Eventually Kim improved to the degree of knowing what the stock cliche baseball questions are and asking them. And it turned out that she was far better on radio — as we learned when Francesa was trying out possible replacements for Dog and she stood up to him very well and made good points while he ranted away. But her TV appearance kept her where she was never going to be more than okay, just as Waldman’s radio appearance would keep her where she would never be more than okay.

    Marketing rules.

  18. DARREN says:

    There is a vast difference between Scooter and Sterling. Scooter never purposely fed you an inaccurate call in order to promote his own agenda, while Sterling does that as a matter of course. The “it is high, it is far” call should be reserved for bombs that are 100% going out. Not long drives that may or may not be be caught or foul.

    And Scooter’s tangents were WAY more entertaining than Snoozyn and Sterling.

  19. Kosmo says:

    As a kid I had the privilege of listening to Red Barber, Mel Allen, Jerry Coleman and Scooter. I was never a fan of the Scooter,Bill White and Messer broadcasts.
    There is a very funny book of Scooter´s on the air “poetry“ floating around if you can find it`s good for a few laughs.
    One of the best lines from Scooter is when the pope died “I guess that puts a damper on yet another Yankee victory“ funny stuff.
    Listening to Waldman and Sterling is like listening to a tired comedy routine.
    All the great MLB broadcasters with a couple of exceptions are deceased.

    • vicki says:

      the book is ‘o holy cow!,’ a collection of “poems” that the village voice used to publish weekly. theyre transcriptions of scooter’s actual play-by-play.

  20. Kel says:

    A blog about firing the radio announcers? Seriously? The Yankees must be winning and there is nothing else to complain about.

    This place is quickly turning into nyyfans.

    • forensic says:

      This is a post about the announcers.

      If you’re looking for blogs about announcers, visit:

      http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/

      or

      http://www.awfulannouncing.com/

      Not to mention that the words ‘fire’ and ‘firing’ aren’t even in the post.

      • Deep Thoughts says:

        Oh, stop being obtuse.

        “There’s a chance that this is the last hurrah for Sterling and Waldman. If so, I’d welcome the new blood. Not because I can’t stand Sterling’s home run calls, not because I’m turned off by in-game ads (the new team will read them, too, just as the teams before Sterling did), and not because I don’t enjoy Waldman’s insights. It’s because they’re failing at the most basic aspect of their jobs.”

        • forensic says:

          Yeah, and that has nothing to do with firing them. Firing them means they wouldn’t be there for Monday against the Braves. He’s talking about not renewing their contract or a different radio station choosing to go in a different direction.

          Totally different topics.

    • Deep Thoughts says:

      Bingo. Looking for a post on uniform patches or stirrups soon.

  21. JohnnyBGoode says:

    Sterling is great-solely for the homerun calls, and “you can’t predict baseball”.

    Never understood the Michael Kay hate.

    I know people who hate Leiter.

    I love Cone’s use of Sabermetrics. Overall Ken Singleton is the best in my opinion, he holds everything together.

  22. PagsRags says:

    Sterling an Suzy have to go- they are an embarrassment to the franchise.

  23. Radiokev says:

    I think all the TV folks are great, including Kay. You may hate him, but I think he’s great at what he does. He’s off the cuff, he’s not too reverent of the game/doesn’t feel the need to always be pleasant, asks great questions, and he’s excitable. He’s also a great foil to the other folks in the booth.

    You know, I think Singleton could do a great job with the radio broadcast. He’s a guy that’s just nice to listen to. He has a lot of fun calling games.

  24. John Wright says:

    Sterling has let it be known during many interviews that George Steinbrenner guaranteed his announcing job for life. Whether Hal, Hank and Jennifer carry that on remains to be seen. Sterling misses too many calls in my opinion.

  25. ryanh says:

    A few thoughts:
    1. The best way to avoid Sterling’s frequent calling blunders is to follow the game on mlb, espn etc where you get the calls before the delayed radio kicks in, and just listen to the radio to fill in the gaps. (the computer’s play by play is not going to tell you someone ran on the field, why a player left the game, how hard it’s raining, etc etc.) S&W get that stuff more accurately than the calls.

    2. If you listen to a lot of different broadcast teams, you’ll discover most of them are awful. It’s a lost art, unfortunately.
    3. If you listen to Jon Miller doing the Giants games, the thing you will notice most is the sound of silence. If he has nothing to say, he doesn’t feel the need to fill in the air. And you know what? I prefer silence to inanity.

  26. steve s says:

    I am a Sterling fan. It’s the most whiny of arguments to say he doesn’t accurately describe the game (this misperception is really a function of too big of a sample size for Yankee fans; go listen to Howie Rose for 162 games (or any other radio guy) and you’ll find plenty of wrong calls along with boring voices and mindless chatter). John is a superior story teller, with one of the great classic broadcast voices and while even fans of John may grimace at some of his homerun calls his legacy inventions of Swishalicious and A-Bomb for A-rod and The Yankees Win and other calls will long be in the baseball lexicon way after John is gone from the radio booth. My prediction when all is said and done is that John will be honored with a Yankeeography, he will end up in the broadcast wing of the HOF and he will be fondly remembered for his signature calls notwithstanding the whiners/Mushnicks/Raissmans of the world

    • vicki says:

      amen.

    • Manny's BanWagon says:

      Agree 100%

    • Chris says:

      I can’t agree with this more. The man is a fantastic storyteller and that is what you need to do on the radio. It really isn’t that exciting to listen to baseball, but Sterling is really good at making the game seem dramatic and changing tone. Some of the stories are simple (harping on failures to tack on runs and how it will come back to haunt the Yankees in said game) but he does it really well and keeps me listening.

  27. Hermodorus says:

    At some point you’ll find out, so what’s the difference? -the Master, 6/16/12

  28. HogWild says:

    Agreed! I’m tired of hearing, “Hit hard to the warning track… it’s gone! Oh wait. No. No. It was popped up the second baseman. Ya know Suzyn, that infield dirt looks remarkably like the warning track.”

    http://www.youtube.com/hogwild

  29. Paul says:

    AMiller and David Fleming of the giants broadcast are amazing, understated professionalism. And that broadcast includes no intermittent ads, so it can be done. Quite frankly, it’s not like the Yankees need the extra cash

  30. Will The Thrill says:

    Martin can’t do anything right.

    • blooper says:

      I’m sure this thread is done but my 2 cents: Sterling blows a ton of calls, but if you listen to him enough, which I have to do on XM because I live in NC, you can tell by his tone when there’s really a hit. He doesn’t make mistakes as much as he tries to inject excitement, but he doesn’t have a clue that a real description of what’s going on would be far more exciting than pretending every pop fly is going out. His voice gives him away though. When it’s really out you know right away.

      There are a few announcers for other teams I find worse than him, Harrelson being one, but for the most part I almost always prefer when they’re on the road and I get to listen to someone else.

  31. RetroRob says:

    I don’t have a problem in theory with the over-the-top HR calls. They’re actually funny to listen to separate from the game when they’re played as part of Yankee recaps.

    Yet they are painful to listen to in game. As noted, Sterling knows the calls have to be clean in order to be played by the other sports outlets, so any ball that he even thinks might be a HR gets the full set up for a HR call, leaving most Yankee fans feeling flacid when they ball is caught at the fence.

    Sterling actually used to be a solid overall announcer. He no longer is, perhaps growing bored with his profession. The best announcers paint a picture with their words. They alow us as fans to visualize where the ball is going, if it’s clearly hit in the gap, or will take a great play by an OFer to catch the ball. They do this by raising and lowering the tension in their voices. There are few surprises. Not the case with Sterling.

    I frequently feel lost listening to him, no matter if a Yankee or opposition player is hitting. Worse than the missed HR calls are balls hit by the opposing team. One example (real), with a runner on first, he casually said something like, “and that ball is hit to LF,” and as the listener you’ll think it’s an easy catch for Ibanez judging by Sterling’s indifferent intonation, then he’ll add in am equally bland tone “and Ibanez goes back,” but you’re still thinking he has the ball, until Sterling adds in totally flat, “and the ball is over his head.” Thirty seconds later he might even tell his listeners that the runner on first scored on the double. Maybe yes, maybe not.

    I watched most of today’s game, but I did step out for a second and hqe 5o listen to an inning as I was driving. A Yankee hit a ball toward the hole at SS with a runner on base. Totally flat, Sterling mentions an out at second, and then several seconds later adds it’s a double play, like he wasn’t even paying attention. Now as a fan, anytime a runner is on first and the ball is hit toward short, we’re thinking a possible double play. There’s a patter to announcing a double play, “grounder short, to second for one, back to first, double play!” Not with John. All he said was something like ball so short, then added it was for an out, and several seconds later mentioned it was a double play.

    Frustrating.

  32. cc says:

    RetroRob: “Sterling actually used to be a solid overall announcer. He no longer is, perhaps growing bored with his profession.”

    This, I think, is the answer. Both Sterling and Kay were installed in their positions rather early in their careers — Kay especially — and one wonders what they’d have to do to be replaced. Kay has some good qualities, but his voice is not one of them, and almost as soon as the intro stuff is done and the game starts, he seems to sit back, relax, and opine like a made man.

    As for the original post, I think it tries to be overly narrow in saying that Sterling’s stylistics would be ok if only his descriptions were on point — aren’t the two connected? He may have his mind more on opportunities for showboating than on informing the listener.

  33. Duane says:

    Try listening to the Nationals TV broadcasters. According to them the Yankees got all the good bounces and ball and strike calls in their favor. They paid no attention to the line drives and hard hit balls that were caught. There were sour grapes comments every inning. Too bad, I like the Nationals and what they’re doing.

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