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Loving Sterling and Waldman

Jun 2, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT

Sterling Waldman

From the Wall Street Journal: How I learned to stop worrying and love John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman:

… for sheer radio listening pleasure for the casual fan, I don’t think anybody beats the Sterling-Waldman duo. Their style is conversational rather than testosterone-crazed; it’s almost overheard, as if you were eavesdropping on their tête-à-tête from the next table at Sardi’s. And they know their stuff …

I don’t listen to many Yankees radio broadcasts. I listen to some — MLB.tv gives you the option and I often find that listening to a game is easier to do while writing than watching a game is — but not a ton.  I’ll say that Sterling and Waldman are not as bad as many make them out to be simply because no one could be as bad as Sterling and Waldman are made out to be. But they’re not my first choice. Probably not in my first 20 choices, because they constantly make you aware that you’re listening to Sterling and Waldman. They at least have the “not boring” part down, and that’s something.

Radio is a tough balance that way. How not to be boring without being distracting.  Not many do it well. The fact that even Sterling and Waldman have their fans is probably evidence that no one has totally figured it out yet, even 90 years after they started broadcasting baseball games.

Well, Harwell figured it out. And Scully. But not too many.

(thanks to Yankeesfanlen for the heads up)

  1. deathmonkey41 - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    I preferred John Sterling and Michael Kay, but to me, Phil Rizzuto will always be the voice of the Yankees even though he did TV. And yes, it is important to know where to find the best Cannolis even if the bases are loaded in the bottom of the 9th with two outs, a 3-2 count, and you’re down by 3- so shuddit!!!

    • pisano - Jun 2, 2011 at 12:21 PM

      deathmonkey41… Scooter was a delight to listen to and watch, but when I was a kid I grew up with Mel Allen and with his great southern drawl and that beautiful ” How bout that” it just brings back a wonderful time of a kids life. They were both great, God rest their souls.

    • jimbo1949 - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:32 PM

      bottom of the 9th with two outs, a 3-2 count, and you’re down by 3
      And Scooter was across the bridge and halfway to Hillside.

  2. girardisbraces - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    I live in Central New York and have listened to Yankees broadcasts on the radio for the better part of 30 years. I thoroughly enjoyed Sterling and Kay and it’s never been the same for me since Kay jumped to YES. As far as Kay’s replacements, Charley Steiner was an abomination and Waldman is like nails on a chalkboard. I’ve always liked Sterling, though. Hackneyed, yes, but never boring.

  3. nps6724 - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    Raise your hand if you’ve eavesdropped on a conversation that had a grown man scream “An AAAAAA-bomb for AAAAAA-RODDDDD!!”

    If you have and you didn’t smack that person in the face, you have failed life.

  4. sdelmonte - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    It’s not that he’s a homer, though that bothers me. Or that I don’t like his voice much, which is just personal taste. It’s those home run calls. Those annoying, not-very-clever, occasionally inappropriate home run calls. (Calling a home run an A-bomb especially bothers me.) And also “tthhhhhheeeee Yankees win!” No one says “the” like that. It’s shtick. It detracts from the game. And you would think that a first class organization would want first class broadcasters.

    I say this not as a Mets fan (though in this one area I am lucky to have quality broadcasters on both TV and radio). I say this as a baseball fan who can now say, thanks to a subscription to MLB Radio, that most radio broadcasters really are better than Sterling.

    I will, however, give the Yanks credit for having Waldman in the booth – are there any other women doing this at the major league level? And at least Sterling gets to call home runs. I am having trouble remembering what one is.

    • Kevin S. - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:06 AM

      Yeah, Sterling’s been particularly inappropriate with the A-Bomb call – I know he’s used it when A-Rod’s homered off Japanese pitchers, which is just all kinds of wrong. But I have to disagree with the “thhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaa Yankees win!” taking away from the game. The games over. Obviously I can understand why non-Yankee fans would hate it, but for Yankee fans, that exaggerated line does a pretty good job of capturing the moment. Sterling’s inane and I don’t listen to him anymore, but I’ll defend his win line.

  5. seano21 - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    It’s Great that so Many met fans have the luxury of great radio and tv broadcasting. Who the fuck cares who’s calling your games when your 25 out in August. That being said sterling and waldman are the worst. Mute your tv and turn on the radio and watch how far off this man is on his play by play.

    • jimbo1949 - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:41 PM

      Every time I mute the TV and listen to the radio call it’s way off. Doesn’t matter which game, I have Extra Innings and Gameday Audio. There’s a delay in there somewhere and it’s not the announcer.

  6. psousa1 - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    They are not enjoyable to listen to. They have and can go a complete inning without acknowledging the fact another team is playing the Yankees. They barely even discuss the other team the Yankees are playing. It’s annoying – who is up to bat? who is pitching? I don’t care about homer(ism) you should be if you’re the teams broadcasters but when you sound like you sit around and think up schtick it sounds so stupid coming out of an adult. Waldman barely gets a word in anyway. You just know Sterling/Mucscovitz (whatever his name is) does not want her there. I didn’t mind Steiner but he had some parting shots about Sterling and how much Sterling enjoys the sound of his own voice. When Waldman was the ‘Yankee Insider’ on WFAN she was excellent even for someone like me who does not like NY at all – she was great to listen to. Maybe it’s the partner but she never really translated to (in my opinion) to play by play.

  7. psousa1 - Jun 2, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    Also – this may not be the most flattering picture of her but I saw pictures of her (in a story about her) when she was a dancer on Broadway and she was a total fox.

    • nixonotis - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:11 PM

      You better find that picture as proof because I think you’re a lunatic.

  8. cerowb - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Ohhhh my goodness!! Out of all the dramatic things I’ve EVER seen!! Rogah Clemens!!!! Standing right in George Steinbrenner’s BOX!!!!!

    • Paul Zummo - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:26 AM

      Big smile on Andy Petttitte’s face! Goodness gracious!!!!!

  9. yashraba - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    Although factually innaccurate from time to time, Sterlings velvet voice was made for radio. While unfortunately hearing home run calls such as:

    “he sends a tex message to the upper deck, you’re on the Mark, Texeira”
    “Curtis, you’re something sort of grand, (singing) the Grandyman can.”
    “An A-Bomb, from Arod”
    “Oh Jorge juiced one”

    he still gets full credit for giving us such gems as “the Giambino” and the “Jeterian” swing. And every fan loves hearing “ballgame over, the yankees win. theeeeeeeeeeee yankees WIN!!!!”

    More misses than hits, sure. But theres definitely a lot worse out there than Sterling. Waldman sniffs tho she should have been booted after she creamed her panties over Roger Clemens in Stenbrenners box.

    • nixonotis - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:12 PM

      OHMYGOODNESSGRACIOUS!

  10. gdang8 - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    They’re the perfect combination if you don’t care about

    A) Who the Yankees are playing
    B) The score
    C) The count
    and
    D) What’s going on in the game.

    If all you want to know about is a play that happened 3 innings earlier, they’re absolutely the team to beat. Also perfect for getting your hopes up for a home run every time a pop up reaches the outfield grass. It was bad enough that I have to mute my TV during innings that Kay is in the booth, I’ve now taken to muting my radio as well. When I’m in my car, I’ll put the MLB gamecast on my blackberry and look down when I’m stopped in traffic.

  11. megary - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    Fire up the thumbs downs, but I can’t listen to Scully. I know I’m not alone, and I know it has become criminal to admit it, but I can’t handle any broadcaster who won’t let me take a breath every now and again. Mundane only goes so far no matter how pretty the words.

    • nixonotis - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:13 PM

      Wow. Not only did I give you thumbs down, I’m shaking my head is disbelief.

    • spindervish - Jun 2, 2011 at 2:57 PM

      I’ve never really gotten what’s so special about Scully. He doesn’t bother me or anything, but I don’t see what it is about him or his game-calling that causes people to wax poetic at the mere mention of his name. Seriously, Craig writes about the guy like his voice is the cure for cancer.

  12. yankeesfanlen - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    They can be a little tedious at times, but I’m used to it. I like Howie over at FAN, the guys in Toronto, and a few random out-of-town announcers I run into on XM.
    When there’s a blowout, look out! By the 6th they’ll be re-doing Broadway musicals that haven’t been presented in a high school production in thirty years. You’d rather have Carlos SeeeeelVA (the producer) call the game. They have to ask him everything, anyway.

  13. bigleagues - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    Craig,

    Seriously now, are ya being serious?!

    Did you meet one of them recently? Do you WANT to meet one of them? Did a friend of there’s call in a favor?

    What could have possibly prompted you to write such a heinously absurd passage?! Seriously!

    Suzyn Waldman was a good – not great – radio talk show host and a pioneer Yankees beat reporter for WFAN. She is also a former Broadway singer wannabe and unfortunately some of those dramatic instincts come out at the most inopportune and embarrassing times (need I remind you of the infamous Clemens Return and Tears for Torre . . . not to mention rumors of at least a dalliance from long ago involving a player with the initials LP – that one Yankees player, who would know, confirmed to me).

    Harry Moskiewicz (or John Sterling as he has been known professionally) was a very good NBA play-by-play announcer in his early days. But now he is an average – at best MLB play-by-play man (notice NO ONE calls him for emergency or fill-in duty for national games).

    Kay, who I’m not a big fan of either, publicly says all the right things, but privately is thrilled to pieces to be away from Sterling and sharing the booth with the walking coma, Ken Singleton (who despite a dry understated delivery is one of the best analysts in the game).

    Furthermore, Sterling’s Home Run calls are moronic and pedantic and thus come off as amateurish. He seems to view the game as a backdrop for his over-the-top affected radio voice and predictable lame Home Run calls.

    And good for the casual fans to drop in and listen too? C’mon, Craig. He’s so busy playing verbal pussy-foot with ‘Soooo-zennnn’ that he often misses plays. He’d only confuse the casual fan. Sterling is good for screwing up a Home Run call about 3-5 times a year. A HOME RUN call (in other words the ball was gone and he called it caught or in play OR the ball is in play and he has called it “an A-Bomb for A-Rod” or “the Grandy-man Can, the Grandy-man Can”)!!!

    He’s the biggest joke in the business and everyone knows it. I know play-by-play guys. Career radio personalities. Sterling has let his skills erode and turn into a hack.

    Maybe that’s what the Yankees prefer and have demanded. But for an organization with the illustrious history that the Yankees have . . . don’t you think they could do a little better than Suzyn Waldman and John Sterling as the personalities and ‘talents’ that present the game to MILLIONS of people worldwide? People will listen because it’s the Yankees.

    But I know of NO ONE that listens to hear Sterling Shtick.

    • emeraldcityfan - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:59 AM

      So how do you really feel about them?

    • antifreeze27 - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:29 PM

      Wow, I never knew Suzyn and Luis Polonia had a thing…

      • kirkmack - Jun 2, 2011 at 4:08 PM

        That is the first Yankee player that I thought of as well!

  14. seanmk - Jun 2, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    @FauxJSterling is a pretty good follow

  15. michaelfranko - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    No, they’re absolutely abysmal.

    John Sterling is way too into boosting his own image through terrible, awful home run calls (a Tex Message!) and has no idea how to judge a fly ball at all (it is high! it is far! it is… caught! just a couple steps in front of the warning track!). I actually am a fan of the whole “theeeeeeee Yankees! Win!” thing, even after regular season games against the Orioles, since that actually has become fairly iconic over the years.

    But he just has far too many bad sayings and expressions to make him watchable.

    Suzyn… Oh Suz… She simply knows nothing about baseball. Really, she says absolutely nothing about the games. She can butt in with anecdotes about players’ personal lives, but seriously, she cannot talk baseball.

    Both of them have terrible annoying voices, too. Really, they’re not fit for radio.

    The worst part is that the Yankees can’t even fire them. CBS actually, with the radio broadcast rights, determines the announcers for Yankee games on the radio. So the best team in American sports is stuck with the lousiest announcing crew.

    At least the broadcast team for YES is terrific. Michael Kay, Ken Singleton, Paul O’Neill, David Cone, and John Flaherty (I don’t think Al Leiter does games anymore for yes…) are all wonderful and insightful, even if they are occasionally ignorant of advanced statistics, but sometimes they do try, and, really, I haven’t heard any announcers talk about them too heartily, anyway.

    • nixonotis - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:15 PM

      Michael Kay is so far from terrific it’s astounding. He’s a massive blowhard with nothing but disdain for the younger generation of fans. Singleton, O’Neill, Cone, and Flaherty, I must admit, are pretty enjoyable. In fact, I think Singleton has done a fabulous job doing the play by play on this west coast swing. I’d love to see them jettison Kay altogether.

      • pisano - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:53 PM

        While I agree with you on the others, but Singleton is always talking about Eddie Murray and the old Orioles. Who gives a shit about the old Orioles? the younger listeners weren’t alive when Murray was in his prime.I’ll tell you who they should get back is Jim Kaat, his knowledge of the game and his personality was exceptional.He had to resign when his wife was dying of cancer and after her passing he wanted to get back with the Yankees but they told him they they had no openings. Too bad for Jim and us listeners because he was really good.

    • nixonotis - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:17 PM

      David Cone quotes fangraphs during almost every game he covers. Just the other day he was explaining WAR and VORP to Singleton (who, admittedly, wasn’t all that interested). Leiter does games once in a while and is also a fan of sabermetrics. Michael Kay is the type who makes “mother’s basement” jokes.

      • bigleagues - Jun 4, 2011 at 10:03 AM

        Why does it not surprise me in the least that David Cone would have an affinity for sabremetrics?!

    • deathmonkey41 - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:21 PM

      I think John Flaherty is really good. Paul O’Neill is one of my favorite all time players, so, of course, I like him. And yes, Al Leiter still does the occasional game for YES.

  16. eagles512 - Jun 2, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    No one is worse than McCarthy with the Phillies.

    • nps6724 - Jun 2, 2011 at 3:21 PM

      No one is worth than McCarthy PERIOD.

    • The Rabbit - Jun 2, 2011 at 6:53 PM

      I moved from Philly before McCarthy. At the time, I didn’t think there was anyone worse than “Wheels” or better than Harry Kalas and Ashburn. (I’m old enough to remember when By Saam was one of the better braodcasters, too.)
      Was McCarthy hired to make Wheeler look good by comparison?

    • schmedley69 - Jun 3, 2011 at 12:01 AM

      You said it, brother. T-Mac is awful. I’m a transplanted Phils fan and I missed most of the Harry Kalas years because of that BS where Comcast wouldn’t allow the Phillies home feed to be on Extra Innings. I used to be so pissed that I had to watch the opposing team’s feed all the time. The issue with Comcast was finally resolved, but now that Harry is gone, I would rather watch the opposing team’s feed than listen to T-Mac babble the whole game. Hey Phillies, do us all a favor and bring back Scott Graham. It’s a shame that we are experiencing one of the best eras in franchise history with such a horrible TV crew.

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