I’m a Mets fan, yet my favorite announcers are the Yankees’ John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.
I can already hear the groans from baseball aficionados, so let’s clear the air before we get started. Yes, Mr. Sterling’s silken delivery owes more to the golden age of radio, or perhaps Ted Baxter of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” than it does gladiatorial ESPN. He’s been known to call home runs—”It is high, it is far, it is gone!”—only to have to take it back when the balls turn out to be playable. And Ms. Waldman might have momentarily lost perspective when she swooned in 2007 upon spotting Roger Clemens in George Steinbrenner’s box at Yankee Stadium, signifying his lordship’s return to the Yankee roster for one year at $28 million, and said: “Oh my goodness gracious. Of all the dramatic things I’ve ever seen…”
My reaction to the armchair critics is: Lighten up. Get a life. Then again, I may not be the best judge. I started a co-ed softball team in college, with myself the only male player because I wanted nurturing and encouragement rather than vilification when I dropped a pop fly, as I occasionally did.
But 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—Mr. Sterling because he’s been the Yankees announcer for every single game since 1989, Ms. Waldman because she works her tail off—as I discovered when I visited them at the stadium for last Tuesday night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
[Photo Credit: The Yankee Analysts]