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Are John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman nearing the end of their run as the voice of the Yankees?

Nov 14, 2010, 8:21 AM EDT

John Sterling

The Daily News reminds us that the Yankees contract with WCBS-AM expires at the end of the 2011 season, so with it so do the contracts of radio voiced John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Moreover, there has not been any serious negotiation between the Yankees and WCBS yet, and other stations are reportedly interested in getting into the Yankees’ broadcasting business.  If they do, it could mean the end of thhhhhhheeeeee line for Sterling and Waldman.

Thankfully I don’t have to listen to Sterling and Waldman very often, but I am interested in this for one angle: the Daily News says that a potential suitor for the Yankees games is the New York ESPN affiliate 1050 AM. Their signal is apparently far weaker than WCBS’s.  One would think that the Yankees wouldn’t be interested in a deal that would lead to fewer viewers being able to hear the games, but if ESPN outbids WCBS, why wouldn’t they take the money? At that point the financial risk of lower ratings is on the station.  We saw this dynamic play out with the Cardinals recently who, a few years ago left high-powered KMOX for a richer deal on another station that, it turns out, reached far fewer ears.  The Cards have just rectified this by announcing a return to KMOX next year. The Tigers spent forever on WJR in Detroit — you could hear that signal all the way to North Carolina at night — but that ended years ago, and now you can’t follow them nearly as far outside of their local market as you used to be able to.

Who knows what will happen with the Yankees, but based on what I hear from folks about Sterling and Waldman, Yankees fans may not mind trading away a little broadcast range.

  1. proudlycanadian - Nov 14, 2010 at 8:40 AM

    Must be a slow news day! Thankfully, I don’t listen to the Yankees on the radio either.

  2. aman2345 - Nov 14, 2010 at 8:40 AM

    I’m a Mets fan, but I can generally listen to any game, anywhere. However, this duo test me. I think it’s an embarrassment to the most storied franchise in all of sport that their games are called by this complete idiots. And, although money is money, I think it’s a terrible idea if the Yankees sign on with ESPN 1050. Their signal is terrible — there will be a large part of the NYC metro area that will not get Yankee games.

    • sdelmonte - Nov 14, 2010 at 10:49 AM

      I’ve never had any trouble picking up 1050 (and I am not ashamed to admit I listen to it a lot). But I live in Queens.

      I am in the same boat as you. I don’t mind listening to games that don’t feature the Mets, but Sterling is painful. Gotta say, we are lucky in having Cohen, Rose, Keith and Ron, etc. The team might stink but the broadcasts are great.

  3. sdelmonte - Nov 14, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    Sterling’s run as the voice of the Yankees predates the move to WCBS. I get the sense that he’s hired by the Yankees and not the broadcasters. So we might be stuck with him.

    I don’t know if this is still the case, but Jets games used to be broadcast on both ESPN Radio and WABC Radio, to expand the listening audience. I wonder if they would try again.

    It always seems odd to me that WCBS, an all news station otherwise, gives over so much of its time to anything else. In that sense, ESPN Radio would be a better match.

  4. heiniemanush - Nov 14, 2010 at 9:50 AM

    Living in NYC and surrounded by co-workers who are Yankee fans I have to hear those two each time there’s a weekday matinee. They are excruciatingly bad broadcasters. Sterling comes off like he’s either senile or drunk and she sounds like a cackling, demented witch with marbles in her mouth. Everyone in town seems to think they are an embarrassment to the organization except the Steinbrenners.

  5. Glenn - Nov 14, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    Sure, you say Sterling is gone, but much like his erroneous home run calls, he’ll probably just bounce off the wall and be in there for a double.

  6. Jason @ IIATMS - Nov 14, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    As the Yankee broadcasts have become more and more laden with ads, the painful part to me is having every “instance” sponsored by something, and Sterling is responsible for every read. After the 15th out, there’s the “you can save 15%…” commercial being read, for example. The number of product placements far outnumber the action and make any discussion disjointed, even more so than usual.

    I can’t stand their broadcasts personally, but much like the Joe Morgan stuff from last week, losing Sterling and Waldman means we lose our “foil”, the ones we love to hate. Most Yankee fans I know are embarrassed by Sterlings HR calls, yet we all know them. It’s probably similar to enjoying an ABBA song; something you only admit to in private, not that I would know, ya know.

    • Professor Longnose - Nov 14, 2010 at 11:28 AM

      But at least I enjoy Dancing Queen. I don’t enjoy Sterling.

      Waldman is run of the mill mediocre, but Sterling is Hall of Fame horrible. I’ve been listening to him for 20 years and I still can’t get past how bad he is. He’s wrong about everything, he’s actively against learning anything new, he’s repetitious, he can’t see where the baseball is, he gets tongue-tied, his home run calls make every home run sound the same…have I forgotten anything?

  7. dondbaseball - Nov 14, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    This post is what got me most excited for the day! #1. They are both TERRIBLE. #2. I think the Yankees hire the announcers #3. Waldman is significantly worse than Sterling and Sterling is very bad.
    As a youth baseball coach I dread having to listen to them on my way home from practices/games 5-6 days a week because they never tell you the situation of the game and add in Suzyn (with a “z”) analysis and what you have is the embarrassment that we have had to tolerate for way too long.
    The number of ads they promote is simply CBS radio trying to recoup their investment and is a total distraction to the broadcast (or what is suppose to be a broadcast).

    I hope the new era of Steinbrenners realize their fan base needs new blood, similar to when Rizzuto had to go. But to be honest, I am not optimistic. And yes, I am jealous of the Mets radio announcers-sad to say.

  8. elric718 - Nov 14, 2010 at 12:47 PM

    Yes, they are horrible. I guess another duo we won’t have around to pick on anymore. But I wonder if you got rid of one, and paired the other with the right partner, could that work?

  9. Kevin S. - Nov 14, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    This would indeed be a sign from the heavens that their is a god. Do this, and I’d be forced to renounce my agnosticism.

  10. yankeesfanlen - Nov 14, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    Everyone around here HATES John and Suzyn, yet we all know who they are. Even I liked Sterling better when he rotated the play-by-play with Charlie Steiner.
    Don’t think they’ll leave WCBS- it was a surprise when the station beviated from all-news, but they have, after 40 years, garnered better overall ratings than 1010WINS and that alone will be worth the price of renewal, with or without John & Suzyn.
    I’m just guessing here, ESPN1050 was fashioned out of the Disney radio failed experiment, which was the old WHN an old Clear-channel station at maximum power. They probably have it pointed incorrectly and half of it goes out to sea. Don’t laugh- the FAN goes out to Cape Cod but not to Allentown PA- it’s the old WNBC with signal astray.

  11. Schroeder - Nov 14, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    You know you’ll miss this kind of announcing:

  12. Innocent Bystander - Nov 14, 2010 at 10:45 PM

    I’m not ashamed to admit it…I LIKE JOHN STERLING! Yes, he can be too shticky, yes, he can botch calls, but when he’s in the middle of the flow of the game I enjoy him a lot.

    I will not present a similar defense for Waldman.

    I will take my opinion on these 2 more importantly than anyone else’s because I am a Yankees radio listening expert. I can’t get YES, so I listen to the games on the radio every night. (I know, I’m like the 1940’s.) I’d miss Sterling if he was replaced.

  13. BC - Nov 15, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    I’m hearing WABC is going to go after the Yankees broadcasts.

  14. Adam - Nov 15, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    There no need to worry about the contract. Everyone knows the Yankees don’t negotiate with anyone until their contract runs out. What kind of message would it send to Jeter if the Yankees wouldn’t talk to him but they would talk to a radio station? Talk about a slap to the face!!!

    /sarcasm

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