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Friday, April 25, 2008

Mushnick: AIRWAVES FULL OF THE ABSURD (RR)

As soon as John Sterling wiggles out of his constraining gigolo outfit and memorizes some lines from Cole Porter’s “You Irritate Me So”...he’ll get around to reading this.

Sunday afternoon on WCBS Radio, John Sterling, into the seventh inning of the Yankees-Orioles, four times had launched his “It is high! . . . It is far! . . .” home run call. And not until he pulled it out a fifth time was a home run actually hit. In a game that included one home run, Sterling, in service to his relentless self-promotion, called five of them. Nothing can stop him.

But that the “Voice of the New York Yankees” may be the worst broadcaster in professional sports has been a 20-year absurdity. That he would continually deprive a radio-reliant audience of accurate descriptions - not to mention creating the false hope of Yankee homers hit so high and so far that they’re caught for outs - while continually suffering the embarrassment of his selfish and dishonest devices, reveals a man so stuck on himself that we all get stuck.

The logical notion that Sterling would grow weary of making a jerk of himself is no longer a logical consideration.

Repoz Posted: April 25, 2008 at 05:47 PM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers, media, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. The Wilpons Must Go (Tom D) Posted: April 25, 2008 at 06:12 PM (#2758724)
Sterling is significantly better than that shill who broadcasts the games with him.
   2. hardrain Posted: April 25, 2008 at 06:15 PM (#2758727)
Sterling is brutal...and he told me once that he has never used a computer
   3. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: April 25, 2008 at 06:49 PM (#2758759)
Thuuuuuuuuh thing that bothers me most about Sterling is that he's uncreative. He makes up one sentence for each player at the beginning of their Yankee career, and then uses it at every possible chance that he gets. XM did a montage on Joba Chamberlain the other day, and mixed in TV calls, and radio ones, and ESPN stuff from Jon Miller. In EVERY Sterling clip, all from this year, he used the phrase "What a Joba by Joba!"

Honestly, even as a Sox fan, I think the guy has a decent radio voice. It's his schtick that's unbearable. Also, the whole "Thuuuuuuh" thing. It's annoying at the end of the game, but understandable. On a third inning, 1 out, 2-1 pitch, I don't need to hear "And thuuuuuuuuh pitch ...slider, outside, 3-1 to Bobby."
   4. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 25, 2008 at 06:55 PM (#2758765)
That didn't work. One more try below.
   5. Döner Kebap Posted: April 25, 2008 at 06:55 PM (#2758767)
Worse than Sterling's erroneous home run calls, are his sad little encomiums to the players who actually hit the homeruns: "a thrilla by godzilla!" "Georgie juiced one!" ad. naus.

Worse still is his pompous habit of wearily prefacing every remark with "obviously;" like, "obviously you don't want to let Ramirez beat you here."
   6. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: April 25, 2008 at 06:59 PM (#2758769)
Second try:

Your Yankees broadcasting team!


I've used this here before, but I still like it.
   7. Traderdave Posted: April 25, 2008 at 07:11 PM (#2758774)
1 inning of Jeff Brantley will make Yankee fans count their radio blessings.
   8. John Lynch Posted: April 25, 2008 at 07:26 PM (#2758781)
Hawk. I know he gets picked on a lot, but after one inning of him this week, I was ready to stream WCBS audio with WGN video just so I could listen to Sterling instead of Hawk. Hawk is the worst.
   9. Lassus Posted: April 25, 2008 at 07:26 PM (#2758783)
Much like whoever said it in the Elijah Dukes thread about Ang Lee's Hulk (figure THAT one out) I sometimes feel like the only person on earth who has no problem with Suzyn Waldman. Granted, I'm not a Yankee fan, and Sterling makes my ears bleed so I'm rarely listening to them, but I don't see the problem with her.
   10. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: April 25, 2008 at 07:43 PM (#2758794)
there's no one worse than rex hudler. no one. he's a menace to society. he has ADHD and it shows during the broadcast. on top of that, he's so freakin' earnest about his nicknames for players. david eckstein as the 'x factor' drove me nuts. i just watch games in silence.
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 25, 2008 at 07:57 PM (#2758806)
But that the “Voice of the New York Yankees” may be the worst broadcaster in professional sports has been a 20-year absurdity.

Typical New York arrogance. John Sterling is nowhere near the worst broadcaster in professional sports. That honor belongs to Hawk Harrelson.
   12. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 25, 2008 at 08:02 PM (#2758814)
I sometimes feel like the only person on earth who has no problem with Suzyn Waldman. Granted, I'm not a Yankee fan, and Sterling makes my ears bleed so I'm rarely listening to them, but I don't see the problem with her.

I'm a Yanks fan and I don't have a huge problem with her. I don't think she should be calling games or even color commentating because her voice is grating. Plus, one of these days she's going to refer to Joe Girardi by his name and not Joe Torre's. All that said, compared to Sterling she's a saint. What's spectacular about Sterling is the sense you get when you listen to him that he's in a room by himself. Waldman will say something, and he'll sometimes just grunt and move onto his neverending monologue. He's there because of his pipes, but everything else about him sucks.
   13. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: April 25, 2008 at 08:03 PM (#2758816)
Oh and I've never had the opportunity to listen to Hawk Harrelson but I've never heard a good word said about the guy. He sounds awful.
   14. scotto Posted: April 25, 2008 at 08:03 PM (#2758817)
When in Phoenix the other year I watched a Diamondbacks game with Marty Brennaman and Mark Grace broadcasting.

Rarely did they describe what was happening on the field, preferring instead to make "jokes" to each other. They were worse than Sterling, and worse than Hawk.
   15. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: April 25, 2008 at 08:13 PM (#2758822)
I haven't heard Harrelson since he was in Boston 30 years ago or so; unless he does radio for the White Sox. I have XM and normally listen to games instead of watching them.
   16. aleskel Posted: April 25, 2008 at 08:19 PM (#2758827)
you can count me among the Yankee fans who tolerate Sterling. Once you recognize what a pompous, self-satisfied windbag he is, he can actually be pretty entertaining, in an unintentional comedy sort of way. Hey, it's better than the out-and-out idoicy of some announcers.

The best was when he was paired with Charley Steiner for a couple of years. It was like Statler and Waldorf calling a game.
   17. Mike Emeigh Posted: April 25, 2008 at 08:46 PM (#2758849)
I sometimes feel like the only person on earth who has no problem with Suzyn Waldman.


I don't, either. She's by far the lesser problem in that booth, and I think that given a partner who gave her some room to talk she'd actually do quite well.

-- MWE
   18. TerpNats Posted: April 25, 2008 at 08:59 PM (#2758868)
you can count me among the Yankee fans who tolerate Sterling. Once you recognize what a pompous, self-satisfied windbag he is, he can actually be pretty entertaining, in an unintentional comedy sort of way.
Perhaps he wouldn't be so intolerable if he were doing games for a low-profile, small-market team such as Tampa Bay or Milwaukee...but these are the Yankees we're talking about -- baseball's biggest market, most storied franchise, etc. It would be as if, instead of Bob Sheppard (or his soundalike), the P.A. duties at the Stadium were handled by Jerry Carroll in his Crazy Eddie commercial spiel mode. It just wouldn't be right.

In an alternate universe, Harry Kalas is the voice of the Yankees, and John Sterling is doing the Hudson Valley Renegades or their ilk.

But that the “Voice of the New York Yankees” may be the worst broadcaster in professional sports has been a 20-year absurdity.
And Mushnick, Raissman, et al are only publicly admitting this now?
   19. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: April 25, 2008 at 09:01 PM (#2758872)
there's no one worse than rex hudler. no one.

Chip Carey would take issue with this. He's worked very hard to be completely unlistenable.
   20. X-Roid User Posted: April 25, 2008 at 09:02 PM (#2758873)
When in Phoenix the other year I watched a Diamondbacks game with Marty Brennaman and Mark Grace broadcasting.


You're thinking of Thom. And yes, he's a bad nightmare...
   21. base ball chick Posted: April 25, 2008 at 09:09 PM (#2758879)
amazing how bad so many radio guys are - i don't know why they have got to talk about all this crap got NOTHING to do with the game, or even the ads they are supposed to say - they miss pitches, sometimes they even miss BATTERS, they don't say the score, the inning, the count

the college kid who does the u of H radio does a better job than a whole LOT of guys
   22. Rudy L Posted: April 25, 2008 at 09:25 PM (#2758898)
New York should have high standards, and Sterling might indeed not meet them. But he is still better than a majority of the others. I can listen to him and Suzyn; they entertain me even if they are shills.

But the unlistenable are many. Some have been mentioned already. 1) Rick Rizzs (the worst, especially on radio. Utter death to any male between the age of 12 and 90. Go ahead, log onto the M's radio broadcasts and listen to him; I dare you.). 2) Harrelson (angry, arrogant, homer AND a shill). 3) Hudler (a hyper shill, utterly devoid of wit). 4) Ed Farmer (Harrelson Light. Even Stone can't save him.) 5) Dave Niehaus (blows the call of virtually every ball hit more than 300 feet -- way worse than Sterling on that count.). 5) San Diego (how can such a nice place have so many bad announcers, Coleman excepted?). 6) Joe Garagiola (OMG, I remember him fondly from the old Game of the Week. But now he's just bitter on the D'backs games). 7) The Pirates and Royals have broadcasters to match their teams: minor league (although Mathews is tolerable).

I think the Giants, Cubs (yes, I actually like Santo's moaning -- it absolutely captures the Cubs), and Red Sox have the best radio broadcasts. But the Yankees are certainly in the top third, along with Cleveland, Toronto, the Mets, a couple others.
   23. Portia Stanke Posted: April 25, 2008 at 09:50 PM (#2758912)
I've listened to all of them, and no one comes close to Harrelson in terms of sheer badness. For a long stretch, each HR call was followed by the typical "You can put it on the board..." followed by an in-stereo, perfectly timed duet "YES!" by both Hawk and Darrin Jackson. Sometimes there were pregnant pauses while the two apparently got their voices in sync.

Thom and Mark aren't good, but they're far from the worst. The Padres television pbp team with the former XFL guy is awful (he announced that the Padres had won in the 14th inning of the 22-inning affair the other night), and the Rockies are particularly bad (earlier this season Jeff Huson took his light pen and wrote "GAS!" over the ENTIRE SCREEN following a 95-mph fastball from one of the Rockies' relievers; George Frazier spent the last ten innings of the 22-inning game variously discussing, demanding, or complaining about the pizza in Petco).
   24. BeanoCook Posted: April 25, 2008 at 10:35 PM (#2758946)
There should be term limits for sports broadcasters in general. That being said, I hope Uecker sticks around for another 20 years. He is excellent to listen to over a course of a season.
   25. Dr. Vaux Posted: April 25, 2008 at 10:45 PM (#2758953)
See, I'll gladly tolerate mistakes caused by declining reflexes as long as a broadcaster is likeable and not an idiot. Niehaus is excellent by that standard.
   26. celerino sanchez Posted: April 26, 2008 at 01:55 PM (#2759655)
Even compared with Hawk et al, Sterling is the worst broadcaster in the game. He is pompous, self-serving, and knows absolutely nothing about baseball. It's a dynamite combination. He's even worse than he was thrity years ago when he was doing NJ Nets games...

The most underrated broadcast tandem in baseball is Dave Wills and Andy Freed in Tampa Bay. They are articulate, funny, and know what they are talking about. Now that the Rays front office is working on getting the Rays on the radio statewide, more fans around the state are getting the chance to listen to them than just those in the I-4 corridor...
   27. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 26, 2008 at 02:04 PM (#2759661)
So Sterling calls a few fly balls as home runs? Hell, at least they're fly balls. The old Nats (and Yankees) broadcaster Arch McDonald had an even better signature call. Only it was more like 20 or 30 times a game rather than 5:

Pitcher into the windup....here it comes...

AND THERE IT GOES!!!!

Foul, over the screen...
   28. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: April 26, 2008 at 03:34 PM (#2759690)
I find Hawk a lot easier to listen to if you treat it like an inside joke. On the other hand, you can definitely see some signs of growth with Darrin Jackson this season -- finally. It's like they've given him orders that it's OK to add his own opinion and not just parrot Hawk, and he's actually introducing some genuine insight to the booth.

Ed Farmer (Harrelson Light. Even Stone can't save him.)


I don't have a problem with Farmer anymore, now that Stone's in the booth. Biggest pet peeve is when he'll say "a slam here ties it," or "A bloop and a blast ties it" for every late inning at-bat, but that's his way of giving the score. He was awful with Singleton, but everything about that pairing was bad. He doesn't have to raise Stone, so it's far more comfortable. It's not near the John Rooney days, but it's much, much better IMO.

The most underrated broadcast tandem in baseball is Dave Wills and Andy Freed in Tampa Bay.

Wills was the White Sox's studio post-game show guy before taking the TB job, and he left one year before Rooney left his post after the '05 season. Wish he stuck around one year longer, because he was great at his job, and if they were going to give it to a beginner, I'd've trusted Wills a helluva lot more than Singleton.
   29. Chip Posted: April 26, 2008 at 05:13 PM (#2759728)
Didn't Brennaman the Younger move back home to Cincinnati to take his "dream job" doing the Reds on TV? The D'backs have some new anonymous young fogey voice on TV, complete with the same young fogey "how the game should be played" opinions of Brennaman.
   30. a bebop a rebop Posted: April 26, 2008 at 05:38 PM (#2759756)
I don't listen to a lot of different announcers, but Sterling is of course god-awful.

One radio guy I suspect is solidly underrated nationally is Eric Nadel with the Rangers. I've never seen him mentioned in a thread like this but he's more or less the reason I'm a Rangers fan -- calm and reasonable, just enough of a homer, with a great radio voice, plus he's been with the team since 1979 (although I've only been with them since 1996).
   31. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: April 26, 2008 at 06:01 PM (#2759781)
By the way, Hawk just said -- as he often does -- that it's a joke that Bert Blyleven isn't in the Hall of Fame, saying that he can't be held accountable for the lack of run support he received throughout his career.

Open your arms and let him in, fellas! HE'S ON YOUR TEAM!
   32. Bob T Posted: April 26, 2008 at 06:03 PM (#2759784)
Daron Sutton and Mark Grace are the DBacks primary TV pair. Sutton is quite a homer and he seems to love the DBacks as much as he loved the Brewers and Angels when he worked for them. Grace is a goofball. Garagiola works some Saturday games when Grace works for Fox. He doesn't sound bitter to me. Perhaps I should ask Barack Obama.

On the West Coast, the worst radio announcer by leaps and bounds is Ted Leitner. The man has an ego bigger than the Petco outfield. Leitner's broadcasts are about Leitner, not the game.
   33. Kurt Posted: April 26, 2008 at 07:31 PM (#2759862)
Sunday afternoon on WCBS Radio, John Sterling, into the seventh inning of the Yankees-Orioles, four times had launched his “It is high! . . . It is far! . . .” home run call.

Maybe "It is high! . . . It is far!" is actaully his fly ball call. You know, for the ones that go high, and far.

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