Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Yankee Panky #17: Reading the trades
2007-07-26 09:23
by Will Weiss
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The last week in July is arguably the most fun time of the baseball season from an editorial perspective, with the non-waiver trade deadline drawing ever closer. I also thought August was fun, when teams start unloading players onto the waiver wire and buyers eye the last piece or pieces to put together a run to the postseason. 

The big questions every year were: Which teams are buying? Which teams are selling? Who’s available? What will the market bear? And where do the Yankees fit into all of it, because they’re always involved somehow.

The most difficult aspect of this, I found, was separating truth from rumor. At YES — the at least — we were at a slight disadvantage because we weren’t around the team every day, and while we had contacts both internally and within the league, we were under strict orders to not break news. We were not a news gathering organization, although we tried to report. This was the Catch-22. Come trade deadline time, I didn’t mind this so much, but selfishly, I wanted to be the go-to place for Yankees content, and I wanted us to be the first to get the story. If I noticed something in a blog or in a local paper or TV/Radio broadcast, I’d pitch a reaction story to one of our broadcasters or outside contributors for some analysis and perspective on the matter. We also had access to wire copy and could run with an AP story.

How is the 2007 trade deadline being handled? If the Yankees were closer to the Red Sox, or even in first place, I believe there would be more of a push from the papers and the talkies to stir activity. Right or wrong, it’s part of the fun of this time of year. This week and the days leading up to the Winter Meetings are the days you see information come from “sources close to the situation.” The only trade the Yankees have made thus far was acquiring Jose Molina from the Angels in exchange for minor league pitcher Jeff Kennard.

There was the annual convention of team brass to discuss the grand plan, which the papers all used as Notebook leads from Tuesday night’s game coverage. Brian Cashman has told reporters for months now that one trade is not the answer; it won’t be enough to help the team because the current players haven’t played to their capabilities. According to numerous reports, Cashman is intent on holding onto Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain and using them as the foundations of the Yankees’ future pitching staff. He will not sacrifice them to land Mark Teixeira; he took a similar stance 2 ½ years ago, refusing to include Robinson Cano and/or Chien-Ming Wang, his best trade chips, in any deal.

The hot rumor has been Ty Wigginton for Scott Proctor, and that story has taken a couple of twists. First the Rays were interested; the Yankees wanted to give them Kyle Farnsworth, but he was too expensive. Then the Rays said they didn’t want to trade within the division. Then they were interested again, but wanted Proctor because he fit the Rays’ budget.

Perhaps the best trade to be made is one made from within, as Joel Sherman suggests. But is Joe Torre ready to stop giving Kyle Farnsworth the benefit of the doubt?

There’s still talk of bringing in a first baseman not named Andy Phillips: Wigginton, Shea Hillenbrand, and Big Tex are the names being bandied about, but until something happens, it’s best to think a trade involving the Yankees is hearsay.

Many of you expressed your enjoyment of John Sterling several posts back when I posed the question about your preferences for Yankees, Mets and Red Sox coverage. I will concede that Sterling is a capable entertainer. Sports are a form of entertainment, and with his flair for the dramatic, he fits that bill perfectly.

But John Sterling the baseball announcer is not as formidable as John Sterling the entertainer. Mike and the Mad Dog razz Sterling for his melodramatic calls and his homerism, and in many cases, it’s justified. The 28 seconds of dead air that followed A-Rod bouncing into the 9th-inning double play in Game 4 against the Angels in ’05 is just one example of patented Sterling. It sounded as if he took off his headphones in disgust, walked out of the booth to collect himself, and then came back when he was ready. Had Suzyn Waldman not been camped near the clubhouse to prep for postgame coverage, one of two things would have happened: 1) Sterling would have stayed put; 2) If Sterling was frustrated enough to cut off his speech, Waldman likely would have picked up on it and rehashed the double play and transitioned the broadcast to the next at-bat.

Most recently, Sterling has fallen into the “I think” syndrome. It surfaced Monday night during the Kansas City broadcast, specifically Alex Gordon’s second at-bat, when was discussing how two of the Royals’ recent top draft picks — Gordon and Billy Butler — were in the lineup. It had potential to be a good note and a chance to educate Yankee fans about a player to watch for years to come. Except … in Sterling’s description of Gordon, he mentioned how the 23-year-old third baseman “was a star at Wichita State, I think.”

I’m sorry, but Sterling should have known Gordon played college ball at Nebraska and not Wichita State. He has the Royals’ media guide. He has game notes. He has access to the Internet. He has every means necessary to be more than adequately prepared for such a talking point during the broadcast, and he dropped an I think.

In April, during the Yankees’ first trip to Tampa Bay, when A-Rod was on his first home run binge and hit his 12th homer of the season, Sterling estimated how many home runs he needed to reach the 500 benchmark. The math was simple. He started 2007 with 464, and had 476 at the time of that home run. He needed 24 to get to 500. Sterling should have known the number — put it on an index card or something.

As a fan of the game and, at one time, an aspiring broadcaster — my dream job was to be a baseball PBP announcer, and I continue to study anyone I can. It upsets me when Sterling or anyone in such a position makes simple mistakes like the ones mentioned above, which give the audience the impression that he’s unprepared.

I did play-by-play for five different sports in college, including baseball, and was fortunate enough to do a couple of minor league games each of the past two years, and the most important thing you can portray to your listeners is a knowledge and understanding of the game itself and of the players represented on both teams. Sterling only does this in spurts. You might say I’m focusing on the mistakes, but to me, mistakes like this are inexcusable. Especially when you’re dealing with a team like the Yankees, whose fans are arguably the most passionate and knowledgeable in all of baseball. 

John Sterling has a great voice. But in this town, I think we deserve more than just a voice, theatrics, stories and a few chuckles.

Until next week…

Comments (109)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-07-26 09:44:42
1.   aboveavg
Completely agree on the Sterling points. At one time he and Michael Kay made a decent radio team, but as both have gained in stature the have receded in quality. Seems they have fallen into the Sportscenter anchor trap of playing to the lowest common denominator with catchphrases and quips about "playing the game the right way". It certainly doesn't help that Sterling has a mildly informed Grandmother as his partner. At least Kay has a group of ex-athletes, who are steller at their job compared to their peers working for other teams and networks.

Don't we deserve better? Can't the Yanks steal Boog Sciambi out of south Florida?

2007-07-26 09:57:07
2.   bp1
I find M&MD's daily review of Sterling radio calls totally out of line. They should listen to their own show on occasion.
2007-07-26 10:11:00
3.   Jim Dean

Do you think you we ever fed information to help hype a prospect or player for a trade? or similarly devalue them?


2007-07-26 10:16:57
4.   JL25and3
I don't even see Sterling's entertainment value anymore. Where's the entertainment in hearing him say the same thing every single day? There's nothing spontaneous, original, clever, natural, creative or witty. Everything is scripted and rehearsed.

The result is that Sterling makes the game fit his schtick. Different things happen every day, and Sterling responds by saying exactly the same thing. (In three years, did Sheffield ever once hit a home run that was high and far?)

Maybe some of it is entertaining the first time, or the second, or the hundredth. After 18+ years, I'm just sick of it.

The funny thing is, I don't think he's that big a homer. He makes it clear that he'd rather see the Yankees win, which is understandable; but he never calls the team "we," which many other broadcasters do, and he does criticize them. When I hear M&MD make fun of him, it's more for his clownishness than his homerism.

2007-07-26 10:27:36
5.   Jim Dean
BTW: I must have been away when you asked about announcers, cause Sterling is terrible at his job - describing the action as it happens. Just absurdly terrible. At least once a game he:

1) Launches into a homerun call on a fly ball.
2) Loses track of a ball and verbally fumbles all over the place trying to "find it" and the play
3) Uses fifty words to describe a scene when ten would suffice. Meanwhile the crowd reaction has already told me whether something good or bad has happened.

And Waldman is no help with any of these things. At least Kay, back in the day, could help take over and would challenge him.


It's the John Sterling Show featuring the NY Yankees.

2007-07-26 10:28:20
6.   vockins
2 No kidding. Pot, kettle, black. That show is a steaming pile.

As far as Sterling is concerned, I only listen to him when I have to. Certainly, there are many pbp guys that are worse, but the Yankees should hold themselves to a higher standard.

I really dug Singleton and Girardi yesterday. That Orioles trainer story that Singleton had was incredible.

2007-07-26 10:29:14
7.   Shaun P
Will, I think you're right. Doing radio is hard; calling baseball play-by-play over the radio is very hard, and its easy to make mistakes. But as you point out, Sterling has seemingly crossed the line from making an accidental mistake to coming off like he's doing a crappy job.

The problem is, outside of writing letters or e-mails to the Yankees, how does one "protest" Sterling? Turning off the radio means you can't listen to the game; so the question is, do you love the Yankees more than you dislike Sterling, and I think that answer is almost always "yes", which means the game stays on.

And that option only works if you live in the greater NYC area; I don't. XM and MLB already have my money, they don't care if I listen or not. Ditto with MLB Audio.

I don't see the Yanks getting rid of Sterling any time soon, so I guess I've resigned myself to having to deal with him. It doesn't help much with the frustration, though.

2007-07-26 10:30:52
8.   OldYanksFan
On a possitive note, at least he's a good spurts announcer.
2007-07-26 10:44:34
9.   Peter
This may be slightly OT, but since 6 already mentioned him, how did Ken Singleton come to join the YES team? I really enjoy him, but it always struck me as a little strange that he's the only one of the former players who never played for the Yankees. Is there a connection I'm missing?
2007-07-26 10:59:20
10.   JL25and3
9 I don't know if this has anything to do with it or not, but Singleton is definitely a New York guy. Born in the city, raised in Mt. Vernon, went to Hofstra.

He used to broadcast for the Expos, but may well wanted to come home, or to work for a good team. As for the Yankees's interest in him, maybe it was because he's good.

2007-07-26 11:00:15
11.   rilkefan
6 What was the Orioles trainer story?
2007-07-26 11:01:14
12.   Will Weiss
Good comments all. As for the questions that have been posed, I'll address them one at a time:

Jim Dean (3), I don't believe I was ever fed information to help hype a prospect. I would assign a Trenton or Staten Island game to be covered so we could interview coaches, etc., and see for ourselves.

Shaun P (7) When 50,000 fans stop mimicking "Theeeeee Yankees win!" when it pops up during the previous night's recap or right after a victory or boo his presence at the stadium, maybe the team will get the hint. Other than that, I don't know.

Peter (9) ... Kenny Singleton worked with Jim Kaat from about 1995 on when the Yankees' telecasts were on MSG. He came to YES in 2002 with Kaat as one of the lead analysts. The additions of Justice, Flaherty, Girardi and Leiter have afforded him the chance to pare his schedule a bit. He used to do more than 100 games. His connection to the team is that he played against the likes of Reggie, Guidry, Willie and the teams of the 1970s, and he's a student of baseball history and brings all that to the table during a broadcast. He was also the first player to hit a home run into the black bleachers in the remodeled stadium.

2007-07-26 11:03:42
13.   Dimelo
I like Sterling and all his antics, I don't look at him as a Vin Scully type but more like you said, an entertainer.

He's a homer and I like homers, I like Homer Simpson, Homer Bush, I just like homers.

I always loved how Celtic fans loved Johnny Most, and Sterling was cut from the same cloth as Most - probably with slightly less embellishment.

Most would scream that Lambieer murdered Parrish, and when you looked at the foul on television he was hardly murdered. But that's what homers do, they make you feel at ease and try and spin stuff to make you feel better about you and your team.

Maybe some of us like to be lied to. I don't like to be lied to in real life, but if the score is 6 - 0 in the 3rd inning then I like to hear stuff like, "the Yankees can get back into this game if they can just one run this inning". A 6 - 1 game is hardly getting back into it, but it makes me feel better about their chances cause he believes it too.

2007-07-26 11:19:20
14.   dianagramr
John Sterling is dead to me.

Michael Kay's best attribute is his "CenterStage" work.

For entertainment/announcing hybrids, I'll take Bob Uecker.

2007-07-26 11:25:32
15.   RIYank
I don't get the objection to 'homers'. I'm perfectly content listening to Joe Castiglione, for example; his homerism for the team I most loathe doesn't bother me in the slightest (and it's positively delightful when the Sox are losing). Why would anyone expect or want a team's broadcaster to be neutral?
2007-07-26 11:27:57
16.   Dimelo
15 Exactly!!! I sure don't.
2007-07-26 11:36:34
17.   Peter
10 12 Thanks.
2007-07-26 11:38:38
18.   JL25and3
14 There's one thing that Michael Kay does well on the YES broadcasts, and that's to elicit good information from the other commentators. He's able to ask good questions of the ex-players, and then get out of the way while they answer. That genuinely improves the commentary.

Unfortunately, he also engages them far too often in irrelevant banter - golf games, O'Neill's free shoes, little jokes at the players' expense (they generously do not reply in kind). And Singleton does far better PBP.

2007-07-26 11:42:01
19.   Jim Dean
13 15 For me it has nothing to do with homerism. It has to do with doing his job of telling me what's happening. And at that, he's terrible.

As a radio listener, I shouldn't have trouble trying to figure out what's going on. Nor should i have to use the crowd reaction as an indicator of good or bad.

And it's not like these things happen every once in a while. They happen every night. I should know - I'm trying to listen and comprehend every night.

Meanwhile, there's just so little preparation it ridiculous. He adds few insights he didn't already bring with him. To him, Shelly Duncan and Billy Butler are only and ever DH's (besides what their pasts say). At first, Hughes wasn't going to be a savior. I mean it's just non-stop bullshit.

Anyone one know if is available?

2007-07-26 11:52:23
20.   JL25and3
19 Agreed. On TV, it's enough for an announcer to say what happened and then go to the commentary. But on radio, the announcer's job is to describe the game in far greater detail. Tell me about the batter's stance, the pitcher's motion, where the fielders are positioned, what that swing looked like. Tell me if the homer is high and far, or if it's a pop fly that curves inside the foul pole - and do it first, not after you've said high, far, gone, Jorgie juiced one, and so on.

Scully is the best at that, or course, but I don't expect anyone else to be Scully. (Jon Miller is the second best of the current announcers I've heard.) But come on, Sterling doesn't even try.

2007-07-26 11:52:30
21.   Shaun P
Hey, speaking of trade rumors, how about this one from ESPN?

"A Bronx farewell?
Jul 26 - The Yankees have been calling a few teams to see if they'd be interested in taking center fielder Johnny Damon off their hands, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. One of those teams is believed to be the Braves. Their answer? They liked Damon, "but not at that price."

Damon is signed through 2009 at $13 million per season. If the Yankees were to trade him, which they technically could if they believe Jason Giambi is coming back soon from his foot injury, they'd probably have to chip in a good chunk of that salary. The money and Damon's limited no-trade clause make for a tough sell, but the Yanks still are looking into the possiblity."

Another one is that the Tigers might want Farnsworth back. Talk about a poison pill!

2007-07-26 11:53:56
22.   Alex Belth
I think Sterling is a rip when he's interviewed on Mike and the Dog. Has anyone ever heard those sessions? Mike and Chris will call Sterling during the middle of the day. Sterling will be at home and he starts singing old show tunes, tinking away on his baby grand piano. It's pure schmaltz, like a William Shatner routine.

But I think Sterling is very difficult to take during the games. As was already mentioned his knack to announce that every fly ball is "high and far..." is just inexcusable. It's one thing for it to happen occasionally, but Sterling shows that he's got no regard for his listeners. Ideally, you'd like a questionable fly ball to sound circumspect. Then if it goes out you end on a high note. But Sterling starts with the exclamation point. It's so irritating.

2007-07-26 11:54:31
23.   bp1
We hashed the merits of John and Suzyn in the previous discussion Will alluded to. No need to dig it up again. There are a variety of opinions, all of them valid. We each want different things from a Yankee radio broadcast.

GIven that, what M&MD do re: Sterling and Waldman is simply unconsionable.

2007-07-26 11:57:08
24.   Dimelo
19 I guess we disagree with what we come to expect from a radio broadcast of the Yankees.

I think all his quirks, mistakes, etc, are what make him enjoyable to me, as well as his homerism. I hate everything when the Yanks are losing, and love everything when the Yanks are winning. When the Yanks are winning then I enjoy Sterling more, I just feel that everything is right in Yankee land when the Yanks win.

When I hear his "Thaaa Yankees Win", that never gets old for me and I guess hearing that at the end of final out of the game is partly why I find him so enjoyable. It just reinforces how great hearing those three words makes me feel.

I don't look for any profound comments from Sterling, the same way I don't look for any leadership skills from our president.

It's all relative. Maybe you should listen to him in my same "state of mind". Unless they don't let you do that in hell? Just kidding!!!! :-)

2007-07-26 11:57:34
25.   JL25and3
21 Interesting. The question I'd pose is: how much do people see a Damon deal as simply addition by subtraction? I'd tend to see it that way - which means being willing to pick up some salary and get nothing much in return, just to clear the spot.
2007-07-26 11:58:04
26.   williamnyy23
When he first joined WABC in 1989 I think (just kidding, Will, I looked it up), John Sterling, aka Harold Moskowitz, was terrific. In addition to having great pipes, he was alert, informative and fun (the perfect straight man to Jay Johnstone's clown ...see below for some fond memories). After a few down years with Joe Angel (mostly because they reportedly hated each other), Sterling and Kay worked well as a team, each's ego seemingly keeping the other's in check. Since the pair split, Sterling has gotten worse each year. He now completely ignores game action, fabricates excitement and allows his frustration to show very easily. Having said that, I'm still glad he is there...with nearly 20 years at the mic, he is a link to the lean years and a time when I relied on the radio for most of my games.

As for the memories, does anyone remember listening to "John and Jay with the Yankees play by play" and hearing the following:

1) Sterling, "Well, that will close the book on Hawkins"....then, in the background, Johnstone would slam a book shut.

2) Sterling, "This game is brought to you by Snapple, makers of fine iced tea flavors, like Kiwi, Peach Melba"...Johnstone, "Peach Melba...didn't you date her back in high school?"

2007-07-26 11:58:51
27.   Jim Dean
20 I can not recall the last time time he indicated fielder positioning except on something weird like a Papi overshift. Batter's stance? Never. Pitcher's motion? They're different?

And the homer calls are what really kill me - night after night.

Maybe it's just me, but as a kid I was always sneaking the radio into bed and listening well past my bedtime. It felt a story was being read to me and I could "see" the game.


It's a fucking highlight show where Sterling makes up the highlights as he goes along.

2007-07-26 11:59:29
28.   williamnyy23
5 Hey...that's my line! And it's the John Sterling Show with special guests, the New York Yankees. The John Sterling Show features only John Sterling.
2007-07-26 12:00:27
29.   williamnyy23
By the way, anyone unhappy with Suze and John wont like the link below. If correct, they will both be around for quite a while.

2007-07-26 12:00:33
30.   RIYank
I just don't agree with that, Alex. I listen to Sterling a lot, in the car and sometimes in my office. He commonly calls a fly like this: "Swung on, and hit into left, not deep..."

Sure, he also launches prematurely into homerunish calls and then has to admit that the ball is caught two steps in front of the track. Maybe my evaluation is colored by the fact that at the ballpark practically every fly ball out of the infield looks exciting to me, but I wouldn't say the mistakes are particularly common.

But, oh, 23, sorry!

2007-07-26 12:03:23
31.   vockins
11 I wouldn't do it justice. It's during the top of the 8th a little after the Matsui HR if you have access to the YES replay.
2007-07-26 12:04:21
32.   RIYank
I think I'd be a lot happier watching or listening to a game with Dimelo than with most of the rest of you. Funny, I wouldn't have realized that without the Sterling & Waldman discussion.

With occasional and momentary exceptions, I'm not listening to or even watching a game with 100% of my attention. There are 162+ of them, my cup runneth over, I don't need to catch every drop. Hearing the same story I heard in April just makes me feel like I'm listening to my dad: right, no great insights, but a homey feeling, comfortable, unthreatening.

It's not footballl.

2007-07-26 12:08:38
33.   Shaun P
13 15 I've been struggling to put this into words, so figure me if it doesn't quite come out right.

What bugs me when an announcer is a homer is the falseness. A homer talks up everyone on their team, no matter the situation, and no matter the player's level of ability or skill. They show no objectivity, which means anyone listening to them learns very little about their team. Worse, a homer often shows little or no appreciation for anyone on the other team. So, listeners learn nothing about the other guys either. That seems dishonest, fake, and very unsatisfying to me.

Here's the best way I can describe it. We all know the subset of Yankee fans who believe Derek Jeter is the greatest player ever, can do no wrong, and heaven forbid you criticize him in any way. Now, imagine one of those fans calling the game. And treating every Yankee player (and Torre and the coaches) like Derek Jeter. That would get very old for me, very quickly.

2007-07-26 12:09:05
34.   Jim Dean
30 Those are the pop-ups - the ones an infielder could run out and get if they really tried.

Anything that the OF's have to move back on gets the homerun call. Unless it's a line drive, and then he's really confused. Usually he muffs the homerun call and so he has to go back and repeat it and misses any description of what happens as anyone rounds the bases. This is especially irritating on balls that hit the wall and runners are coming around to score. He catches up on those plays very late.

2007-07-26 12:10:26
35.   JL25and3
32 I don't listen to games with all my attention, either - whic, to me, makes it that much more useful to hear actual information when I do listen.

I also understand the virtues of hominess, having listened to Phil Rizzuto for several decades. If Sterling had a tenth of Rizzuto's energy, his spontaneity, and his completely natural quality, I wouldn't mind any of the rest so much.

Also, there was always someone there to rein Scooter in a bit, help focus him on the game a bit more. That's what's been missing since Kay left.

2007-07-26 12:12:39
36.   RZG
22 M&MD talk to Sterling on the air occasionally but I think you're hearing one of the regular callers who does the routine of doing a "Sterling" with the piano music, tittering, nutty stuff. He doesn't call too often because the production stuff must be so time consuming. He's a great ad-libber, too.

I forget his name but his calls are hilarious.

2007-07-26 12:13:05
37.   Dimelo
32 Anytime you'd like to come over, it's always a party in the Dimelo household.
2007-07-26 12:15:38
38.   RIYank
34 I get it, but I just think you're wrong.

I will be sure to take the trouble to report some counterexamples to your thesis this evening. Well, 'sure' is a strong word. I'll do it unless I don't feel like it at the time. Or if something else comes up. So now you have something to look forward to. Or not.

33 Sure, that could get old fast. Castiglione is a little closer to that than Sterling is, I'd say, but he doesn't go that far. His (to me amusing) symptom is that he calls extra base hits for the opponents in a whiny drawl, for instance, saving excitement for the Sox' sluggers. Sterling is plainly too much in love with Yankees qua Yankees, that's certainly true -- he irrationally looks forward to the return of Minky, for instance, to say nothing of his Miggyphilia.

2007-07-26 12:19:00
39.   Shaun P
33 Let me add that I don't think Sterling is that much of a homer.

35 I don't think Scooter was a homer either. Sure, he clearly wanted the Yanks to win, but he didn't call games like the other team was a bunch of losers and the Yanks could do no wrong.

32 And here's where Scooter and Sterling differ. Scooter's "schtick" wasn't really schtick; my understanding (from my dad) is that he was always that way. Lots of Sterling's "schtick" seems contrived, as opposed to "that's just the way he is" - because I remember when he wasn't this way and I really enjoyed listening to him!

2007-07-26 12:19:57
40.   JohnnyC
Alex, those "interviews" with Sterling on Mike & the Mad Dog aren't with Sterling. It's someone impersonating Sterling. You find them hilarious because they are...wait for it...comedy routines. The rare times they've actually interviewed Sterling on their show he was a less than scintillating pocket of dead air. That said, I don't really mind Sterling. His alleged homerism isn't any more noxious than, say, Gary Cohen on Mets games. Every time he brings up homespun anecdotes about past Mets "greats" like Duffy Dyer and Nino Espinosa, I find myself "outta here!"
2007-07-26 12:21:31
41.   yankz
33 Are you saying he's not?!
2007-07-26 12:22:25
42.   RZG
26 I love it when Sterling gets frustrated. He begins or ends every paragraph with "well, anyway."

It's great in the 1st inning and a Yankee pitcher gives up a walk:

1. "Why did he walk him?" like he's trying to do it on purpose or

2. Yankees have a lead but the opponents get two guys on base and he goes into Nostradamus mode: something akin to "If the Orioles' next 17 batters get on base the Yanks will be in trouble" or

3. Especially before the recent offensive surge: The Yanks go down by one in the 3rd and you hear "The Yanks aren't going to be able to overcome this deficit."

Hearing his frustration is almost worth the loss sometimes.

2007-07-26 12:26:15
43.   Shaun P
25 Anything that guarantees Melky starts in CF for the rest of the year is worth the cost to me. The Yanks will save some money (no way they cover it all), and they don't need to worry about Damon getting hurt (again) and being completely useless but still playing (again) over the next two years as he ages.
2007-07-26 12:26:17
44.   Will Weiss
The difference, JL (35), is that Scooter allowed other people to speak. The impression given is that everything going on interrupts an anecdote, and that's not how a baseball game is called.
2007-07-26 12:28:11
45.   RIYank
42 I recognize the first, of course. It is pretty funny. Hey, we all have that feeling when Bruney or Proctor or Farns walks a guy in the eighth, but it's somehow incongruous when a guy who's been broadcasting for decades still can't keep the irritation, nay, incredulity out of his voice. He'll even say, "He wasn't trying to walk him," but Sterling still can't really believe it isn't as simple as "just throwing strikes".
2007-07-26 12:29:49
46.   JohnnyC
Sterling was always sort of off, Shaun. You're not old enough to remember him as one of the first radio sports talk hosts in NY. He was a nasty, condescending piece of work who name-dropped NFL and NBA management types whenever anyone challenged his "inside" knowledge. When the talk show gigs dried up, he moved on to do Atlanta Braves and Hawks games before finally making it back to NY in the '80s. Understand, he's a native New Yorker and really truly a Yankees fan. Myself, he's a whole lot more entertaining in his latter day disguise as shticky Yankees PBP man than in his angry young sports talk guy days.
2007-07-26 12:30:22
47.   Shaun P
41 Yes. I've heard, even this year, Sterling openly criticize Yankee players (Damon, Mooose, Cano, Farnsworth, and Bruney come to mind), and speak respectfully of opponents (Sizemore and Hafner among many others). He'll also get excited (not as much as when its a Yankee) when someone on the other team makes a terrific play, or sends one into orbit.

(44 BTW Will, if you want to link to another comment, put the number in square brackets: ie [X] where X is 44, or whatever.)

2007-07-26 12:31:45
48.   Jim Dean
38 Easy enough. I'll track it on GameDay for a few games this next week. They show where the ball is caught relative to where they started, no?

BTW: I listen every night. It's my only source of a live feed. Well, until I start madly hating Sterling (if I didn't already) and switch to the other team's feed.

2007-07-26 12:32:25
49.   Tox
The fake Sterling is Mike from Mahopac aka Sour Shoes.
2007-07-26 12:36:08
50.   Shaun P
46 Very true, Johnny, the Sterling I remember (and liked) was the Sterling of '89 to, oh, say '99, who was a bit of a homer and had his quirks, but wasn't as schticky (and mistake-prone) as he is now.

I have a hard time imaging a young, angry, ranting sports-talk-radio John Sterling, but I could believe it. =)

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-07-26 12:36:11
51.   williamnyy23
44 Of course, with Waldman as his partner, that's no longer a bad thing.
2007-07-26 12:36:43
52.   Jim Dean
36 40 49 Is there audio anywhere online? I would love to hear that plus MMD cackling in the background.
2007-07-26 12:38:32
53.   RIYank
47 No, 41 meant to be asking whether you yourself deny that Jeter is the greatest player who ever lived! Traitor.

38 I'm not sure what you mean, 'relative to where they started'. It shows where the fielder fielded the ball. I assume it's at least accurate enough for these purposes.

By the way, I am now pretty sure that the ordinary Gameday pitch location is not very reliable. I wasn't sure for a long time, because my own perception of pitch location is, I suspect, very bad. (For instance, lots of strikes look obviously low to me.) The enhanced mode seems to be quite accurate, on the other hand. More cameras? Better software? RIYank imagining things?

2007-07-26 12:39:43
54.   RIYank
53 Uh, sorry, maybe I shouldn't speak for yanks 41. Just trying to help.
2007-07-26 12:39:53
55.   jedi
Michael Kay has a God awful laugh.
2007-07-26 12:40:28
56.   RIYank
54 Verrrrry helpful. yankz. yank z.
2007-07-26 12:53:17
57.   Jim Dean
53 Here's the test. Gameday shows where they start.

Sterling should say "Swung on, and hit into [left], not deep..." if they end up closer to the infield.

But if Sterling launches into a homerun call, then they should end up closer to the wall.

Meanwhile, the line drives will confuse him and we'll get some obtuse explanation.

And at least in some parks, Gameday should be very reliable - it uses three camera to get speed, trajectory, and location. (I read an article about it - I think the Keeping Score column in the Times). But not all ballparks have it, so otherwise it's just a guy trying to click where the ball ended up. You know the park has the technology when GameDay is showing the trajectory as a trail on the ball. And the rest of the stats should be visible in small type, I think at the top of the "field" window.

2007-07-26 12:57:25
58.   Shaun P
53 54 "That one is high, it is far, it is . . . right over Shaun P's head in left field, and now the ball is rolling all the way to the wall! Two runs will score and the yankzs take a two-nothing lead. Boy, that was a sloppy play by Shaun P, wasn't it Suzyn?" "You know John, I'm just not sure what Shaun P was thinking there." "Looks like he wasn't thinking at all. Now, Jeter steps in to the plate."

My bad, yankz 41. I missed your joke completely.

(Thanks, RIYank. BTW, what changed your mind about regular Gameday, because I've felt the same way about its accuracy.)

2007-07-26 13:07:01
59.   williamnyy23
For those interested, below is Keith Law's take on Ian Kennedy:

Zach (Orlando, FL): I keep reading Kennedy's name being mentioned in the same sentence as Chamberlain and Hughes (Cashman labeling the three as untouchable), but I don't know much about Kennedy. What can you tell me?

Keith Law: Not in the same class, but a very good prospect. He's a pitchability RHP, I'd say. Average stuff, very compact delivery (almost like you could put him in a phone booth and he could pitch without touching the sides), repeats it extremely well, has plus command and great feel. Now, to me, that's a 4th starter, maybe a #3 if the command/feel are really top-notch.

2007-07-26 13:07:53
60.   RIYank
57 Gameday shows where the fielders start? I never noticed that. I thought it just put them in generic spots for that position. So, okay, that's the test.

Jim, and Shaun 58, what changed my mind was several instances in which I thought a pitch was inside or at the very least on the inside corner and so did announcers and Banterers, and Gameday showed it well out over the plate; or something similar. But probably Jim is right and some parks have the equipment to allow Gameday to have extremely accurate placement, and some don't.
Let me add that I typically have almost no idea what sort of pitch a given pitch was, when I'm watching on tv. Once the announcer tells me and I see the replay, I can at least convince myself that I see it. But live, I don't know whether it was a slider or a four-seam. (A big slow Moose curve I can at least tell is a breaking pitch.) Also, every pitch, no matter how crappy, looks to me live on tv like it's absolutely unhittable, much too fast and/or too much motion. That's my favorite thing about the enhanced Gameday, is that I can then see exactly what each pitch did. But we hardly ever get the enhanced kind now, I think.

2007-07-26 13:15:47
61.   yankz
54 Well, you got it right, so thanks!

And yeah, can we have Shaun P's BB membership revoked? I kid...

2007-07-26 13:23:29
62.   Alex Belth
That's a schtick, a guy doing Sterling with Mike and the Dog? Dag. Kudos to that dude. But shoot, that was one of the things I thought I like best about ol Silver Throat...
2007-07-26 13:26:23
63.   Bama Yankee
33 I think you hit the nail on the head, Shaun. Hawk Harrelson is one of the worst:

"Im gonna tell you somethin right now, and mind you, many folks wont agree with this, but I'll take Joe Crede over anybody right now. Im talking A-rod, Rolen, anybody"

I understand that announcers are fans of their team and want them to win. But with the advent of EI, MLB.TV and XM radio they should realize that not everyone watching/listening to them is a fan of their team. They get paid to tell us what is going on and analyze the results, IMO if they want to root for the "good guys" they should buy a ticket and sit in the stands.

2007-07-26 13:31:30
64.   JL25and3
44 Well, to be fair, Scooter sometimes missed a pitch or three because he was telling a story. It got worse in the early 90s, when he was older and the Yankees were awful (and the games boring).

I also think he was a terrible homer. He became a broadcaster, but he never stopped being a Yankee. Think of it this way - could you ever imagine Rizzuto broadcasting for another team? Impossible. He rooted for the Yankees openly, he identified himself as a Yankee, and his was of broadcasting was entirely different depending on which team he was talking about.

But yes, that was exactly who he was. No one ever accused Scooter of faking it. Over years of listening to him, I felt like I knew him - it would have been easy to sit down next to him and talk with him, something I can't imagine with Sterling. He knew who he was, and he had a sense of humor about it - he could always take a joke on himself, something else I can't imagine with Sterling.

2007-07-26 13:32:07
65.   yankz
63 He gone!
2007-07-26 13:33:34
66.   RZG
62 Don't feel so bad. I'm so naive that I thought:

1. It was really Steinbrenner on Seinfeld, except for the episode he actually appeared on.

2. I also thought it really was Joe Pepitone appearing on the Imus show years ago. At least I didn't fall for the Cardinal O'Connor routines.

2007-07-26 13:34:36
67.   JL25and3
By the way, I'm listening to Mike Francesa talking about Sterling now. He's being pretty even-handed about it. He says he doesn't mind Sterling's schtick, but that it gets too difficult to follow the ball in Sterling's broadcasts. Fair assessment, I'd say, maybe even generous.
2007-07-26 13:45:13
68.   pistolpete
35 Agreed wholeheartedly - even Steiner, though almost as irritating, would play rodeo cowboy to Sterling's ramblings.

I suspect Waldman is there now because she's the least threatening, and there's no danger of her ever jumping in on the 'Thuhuhuhuhuhhhh Yankees WIN' call as Steiner did after the Boone HR in '03.

I still get the willies when I hear that portion of the call. And not in a good way.

2007-07-26 13:47:42
69.   yankz
Beowulf trailer! With a "Performance Capture" Angelina Jolie!

2007-07-26 13:48:00
70.   pistolpete
62 I wonder if it's Rob Bartlett from Imus's old show - Bartlett has been known to call in during Francessa's morning 'FAN shows as random 'sports fans' from the tri-state area, but then launch into a comedy routine about how awful a human being Hillary Clinton (or whomever) is...
2007-07-26 13:51:16
71.   ny2ca2dc
65 It's a can o corn.

and I'm a bag of douche...

2007-07-26 13:52:51
72.   Max
I like Dimelo's take on Sterling, but comparing him to Johnny Most is venal. Most was an unabashed homer in the worst sense of the word -- opponents were evil, while the Celtics were heaven on earth and everything that made basketball worth watching. Sterling is far, far more respectful to opponents overall.

Even the Celtics fans I knew found him amusing in his volcanic one party I went to, the game was on TV and they shut off the sound and turned on the radio broadcast, and we all laughed at the "fair and balanced" version provided by Most.

As has been hashed out by numerous posters, I can tolerate Sterling and even enjoy him in doses, but he really needs someone to challenge him...with the lack of substance, the broadcast becomes too much of a one-note stand-up act playing for the 10th straight year in the same dilapidated theater.

I like Suzyn as a person and enjoy some of her comments in a vacuum, but her and Sterling are awful together.

2007-07-26 13:56:53
73.   weeping for brunnhilde
8 groan
2007-07-26 13:59:35
74.   weeping for brunnhilde
13 And of course there's always Homer.

Can't leave him off the list.

2007-07-26 14:00:17
75.   Start Spreading the News

"Yesterday's organizational meetings in Tampa, Fla., focused more on the Yankees' need to change the personnel in their bullpen and obtain a versatile, utility-type hitter who could play some first base until Jason Giambi gets back.

Many in the organization favor seeing if Andy Phillips and Shelley Duncan can provide the offensive answers. And there are also many in the organization who worry that manager Joe Torre could stand in the way of the improvements they try to make. Torre was opposed to the team's efforts to acquire outfielder Milton Bradley when the A's put him on waivers, and he opposed a possible deal for Houston infielder Morgan Ensberg. (Source)

Why is Joe Torre still managing this team? Why do the Yankees employ a manager who interferes with player acquisition and development? Why is he allowed to push people around?"

Another factor in considering Cashman's move: how much Torre allows him to do his job.

2007-07-26 14:06:10
76.   weeping for brunnhilde
20 Yup. Exactly.

It always kills me when I turn on the Mets games to hear just how professional their broadcasts are.

Howie Rose and what's-his-name do an excellent job.

It's clear they're rooting for the Mets, but they always maintain enough reserve and neutrality to keep it from devolving into Sterling territory.

And they're great at describing all those little details you mention, JL, and they do so with great deftness. Their rhythm is good, as they're able to interject their opinions without overwhelming the game.

For example, one of them mentioned today that he didn't think the batter swung, but there was no indignation or anything, just him reporting what his eyes saw. He didn't harp on it and deftly transitioned back to the flow of the play-by-play, as if his observation was just an aside.

2007-07-26 14:14:50
77.   Jim Dean
60 Just keep in mind that while some parks have the equipment, the ones that don't it's just some guy clicking the location. And I can't imagine that's the greatest most interesting job - pitch after pitch after pitch - to do well.

Doesn't one of the guys at RLYW work as one of the GameDay dudes?

2007-07-26 14:16:02
78.   Jim Dean
76 I think it was one of the Yankee-Mets games last year when I was so disgusted by Sterling I switched over. It was a revelation.
2007-07-26 14:16:41
79.   JohnnyC
Gary Cohen waving goodbye and bidding farewell to Yankees fans on the air as they exit Shea Stadium in the late innings of a Subway Series Mets victory a couple of years back. That was more than homerism. Even Sterling hasn't done that on air.
2007-07-26 14:17:15
80.   Schteeve
totally off topic, but Gary Sheffield is a douchebag con artist.
2007-07-26 14:18:18
81.   Schteeve
77 Larry Mahnken is some sort of stat tracker for MLB. Not sure if it's specific to Gameday though.
2007-07-26 14:31:04
82.   Shaun P
80 Dare I ask what he did now?

69 How did they ever condense that thing into a couple of hours? I don't have QuickTime installed, so I'm missing out on Angelina. Guess its my karmic punishment for 47. =(

2007-07-26 14:35:18
83.   pwicked
WHHAAAA! John Sterling made a mistake! WHHAAAA! John Sterling isn't prepared! WHHAAAA!! I want somebody else! WHHAAAA!! WHHAAAA!! You people sound like a bunch of 12 year olds. Go pour over your endless statistics, but puhleeeze quit whining about John Sterling!!!
2007-07-26 14:45:26
84.   sam2175
Sterling absolutely blows. I don't want to rehash the points, they have already been made. The biggest problem is he gets in the way of the game, the game does not remain the biggest entertainment, and that is frustrating.

His alleged homerism is not an issue. It is his incompetence at doing his job, which is to describe accurately what is going on in the field. Baseball is a game where there are plenty of time between pitches, yet Sterling misses the play-by-play action at times, and at times completely misrepresents a play.

2007-07-26 14:48:44
85.   yankz
83 Quit your crying!!!!!!!
2007-07-26 14:49:23
86.   yankz
Er, 85 is aimed at 84, with 83 in mind.
2007-07-26 14:49:35
87.   JohnnyC
I don't see why he changed his name from Harry Moskowitz. Maybe Sterling Moskowitz? Hey, Lorne Michaels' birth name was Lorne Lipshitz. Sterling Lipshitz?
2007-07-26 14:51:14
88.   markp
I like guys like Most and Rizzuto being homers. I think if you're broadcasting on the Yankees or Celtics (or in Hawk Harrelson's case the White Sox) network to the fans of the team, bending over backward to be "fair and balanced" is counter-productive.
On the other hand, not taking yourself too seriously is a big part of what makes some broadcasters fun and others horrible. Rizzuto and White laughed at themselves and each other all the time, and are the best broadcasting combo I've ever heard.
2007-07-26 14:56:34
89.   RZG
79 Cohen's only on TV now.

The Met radio announcers are good, they describe the play well and add enough color to keep the game entertaining.

Who would think an announcer could describe a hit to the outfield with runners on and ALSO describe where the runners move to at the same time? The next time Sterling does that will be the first time this century.

2007-07-26 15:02:11
90.   Will Weiss
83 There's nothing wrong with a constructive dialogue on any topic, particularly one such as this, which obviously has garnered interest. I pored (not 'poured') over endless statistics to write the column. Thanks for your insight.
2007-07-26 15:12:27
91.   williamnyy23

The link above delves into the origins of Sterling's catch phrases. I have to admit that I don't remember him using the Yankees Win! when he first got here and I pretty much listened to every game in those days.

I also don't recall him using a phrase for every player until he came up with "Bernie goes Boom" in the mid-1990s.

2007-07-26 15:29:34
92.   weeping for brunnhilde
39 Yeah, someone mentioned a few weeks back (was it Alex?) that when Scooter said, "Holy Cow!" he meant it, every single time.

He was really in the game, responding to the game rather than imposing his sense of showmanship onto the game.

Authenticity v. contrivance.

2007-07-26 15:32:22
93.   weeping for brunnhilde
45 Yes.
2007-07-26 15:34:04
94.   weeping for brunnhilde
51 :)
2007-07-26 15:36:17
95.   weeping for brunnhilde
58 ha ha hah ah ah ah a a hah ah ahha !!!
2007-07-26 15:43:17
96.   Max
88's not a question of bending over backward to be objective, just to acknowledge that other teams sometimes make good plays and have good players. I can't tell whether Harrelson's homerism is some sort of intentional or unintentional comedy, but Most was pretty humorless. That's what made him unbearable.

Tommy Heinsohn is a balls-to-the-wall homer, but he comess across as being in on the joke, so I find myself mostly amused. It also helps that the Celtics have mostly sucked lately.

2007-07-26 15:43:59
97.   Max
88's not a question of bending over backward to be objective, just to acknowledge that other teams sometimes make good plays and have good players. I can't tell whether Harrelson's homerism is some sort of intentional or unintentional comedy, but Most was pretty humorless. That's what made him unbearable.

Tommy Heinsohn is a balls-to-the-wall homer, but he comess across as being in on the joke, so I find myself mostly amused. It also helps that the Celtics have mostly sucked lately.

2007-07-26 15:44:21
98.   Max
96 97 sorry about the double post.
2007-07-26 15:47:10
99.   sam2175
Jerry Remy is a Red Sox homer, but I love listening to him. Because he is excellent at analyzing plays. And Orsillo is pretty good at just describing the play, and letting Remy analyze it.

It is a good thing that we never got to Kay. He is absurdly stupid.

2007-07-26 16:01:53
100.   Shaun P
Tonight's lineup, thanks to Pete Abe:

Here are the lineups:

Cabrera CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui LF
Phillips 1B
Cano 2B
Duncan DH
Molina C

Damon sitting against a lefty, with Duncan at DH and Melky in CF - me likey!

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-07-26 16:02:33
101.   Max
99 Remy is fantastic. I prefer listening to him over just about any Yankee TV or radio person. I hate the Red Sox with the heat of a thousand suns, but I wish we had a Remy on our side.
2007-07-26 16:07:42
102.   Jim Dean
100 No argument here, but when Giambi returns, Abreu and Damon should be sitting. So Duncan should now be seeing time in RF.


101 The few times I've heard him, I agree.

2007-07-26 16:12:35
103.   Jim Dean
One more props to Joe:

Molina vs. LHP (Career): .269 .309 .416

And it's amazing how much better the bottom of the lineup can look on days Jorge, Damon, and Cairo don't start.

2007-07-26 16:35:14
104.   weeping for brunnhilde
65 I lived in Iowa for many years and we picked up the Chicago broadcasts.

I can't tell you how much that "he gone" makes me want to kill.

It's maybe the most antagonistic, odious call I think I've ever heard.

2007-07-26 16:39:55
105.   weeping for brunnhilde
91 Thuuuuuuu Yankees win!

Yeah, as I recall, he used that sparingly in the late '90s, when it was really warranted, as an emotional catharsis.

But at some point it seems like he began doing it after every win, regardless of the drama of the game. I want to say it was around '99 or 2000.

2007-07-26 16:40:35
106.   weeping for brunnhilde
100 Why is Phillips hitting ahead of Cano?

Is their guy a lefty?

2007-07-26 16:42:17
107.   iicollies

Weeping -
Where in Iowa did you live? I'm in Cedar Rapids

2007-07-26 16:45:29
108.   RIYank
74 (Weeping on the Homer):
I think you missed yesterdays epic discussion of epics! You of all people. (It began with Cliff's superb "Gil 'GA!' Meche".)
2007-07-26 16:46:36
109.   RIYank
103 Wait, that's not a good reason. You have to compare Jorge's splits, too, and he also hits lefties much better.

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