Let’s get this out of the way right now: I don’t have a problem with the Yankees TV broadcast team. I’m not the biggest fan of Michael Kay (hated him when it was the Sterling & Kay lovefest in the WABC days of Yankees radio broadcasts), but he’s grown on me, and Kenny Singleton, Al Leiter, John Flaherty, and even Paul O’Neill have proven themselves to be great professionals. They’re not as good as the broadcast team of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling that Mets sufferers are blessed with on SNY (voted 2nd best broadcast team in baseball, second only to the one-man team of Vin Scully, by GQ), but they’re still pretty good – I’d even call them top 10.
But the broadcast team on WCBS-AM radio (880 on your dial) – they just suck.
First of all, John Sterling is a pompous SOB. He’s been like that for years, of course (my father always tells me stories of when he called the Islanders, with over-enthusiastic calls of, “Islander Goal! Islander Goal! Islander Goal!” no matter the score of the game), but it’s gotten worse (seriously, “Swishalicious” is probably illegal in seven states and the District of Columbia). His home run calls are horrific. The disparity between his ending calls when the Yankees lose, and when the Yankees win is terrible (yes, I know, Howie Rose has his “Put it in the books!” but that’s it; Sterling’s “Ballgame over! Yankees win! Theeeeeee Yankees win!” takes about fifteen seconds). But it’s gotten worse – he’s become a senile old man.
He’s like the old guy who won’t give up the keys, no matter how many times he’s started to drive onto the curb. Granted, Suzyn Waldman isn’t much better – her voice is just so, so shrieky – but Sterling won’t give up one inning to her. He’s like Ranch Wilder in the Angels in the Outfield remake.
(On a related note, I’m so glad, in retrospect, that Charley Steiner – who I’m cool with, especially his “follow me to freedom!” bit on the SportsCenter ads – did the 2003 ALCS Aaron Boone call instead of Sterling.)
If Sterling handed things over to Waldman every few innings or so, just like every other broadcast crew in the majors – just for three innings, I don’t mind – it might be a bit more palatable. But for now, I’m not listening.