Is the curtain falling on Ma and Pa Pinstripe? Will next season be John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman‘s last in the Yankees radio booth?
Right now their future is up in the air. The Yankees contract with WCBS-AM, worth about $12 million per year, expires at the end of the 2011 season, so do Sterling and Waldman’s pacts. Sterling has been the radio voice of the Yankees since 1989. Waldman joined him in 2005.
There has yet to be any serious negotiations between the Yankees and WCBS. The job status of Ma and Pa cannot be resolved until a new radio-rights deal is cut. Industry moles say other outlets have chatted informally with Bombers brass. These potential suitors are looking to get a sense of which direction the club wants to go with its radio rights.
Where does this leave Sterling and Waldman? If WCBS retains Yankees rights the chances of them returning are much better than if a new outlet takes over. If that happens, all bets are off.
The Yankees regime, led by Hal Steinbrenner, will be more concerned with obtaining maximum dollars in a new radio deal than who the broadcasters are. Loyalty ain’t even a factor here. This would give a station the freedom to make that call. A call that will determine the future of Ma and Pa.
I was a little shocked to hear this news. Sterling started doing the radio shows for the Yankees in 1989 right around the time when I started my obsession with them. During those days without cable TV in my house, I spent a lot of time listening to Sterling when games weren’t broadcast on WPIX 11. So it’s safe to say that Sterling has been there for a large portion of my life.
However, when I read this news it wasn’t exactly sad. I hardly ever listen to the radio these days, but when I do it’s always because I have to instead of any desire to relive my more youthful days.
The reason is because Sterling’s act has become tiring. Between his tiring analysis, ‘you can’t predict baseball’, ‘thaaaa pitch’ and his ‘Thaaa-aaa-aaa Yankees Winnn’ warbles, the whole act has become cliche. Add in the pure annoyances of Waldman and listening to the game on the radio can be more painful at times than it’s worth.
On top of that the pair have become extremely too comfortable with their place. John Sterling was front and center in pictures when the Yankees met the president last year. Why? Suzyn Waldman has an autographed baseball in the Yankees Museum in the stadium? She has been seen wiping whipped cream off of player’s faces during walk-off celebrations? These people seem to have gone past radio announcers to thinking that they are Ma and Pa Yankee.
I welcome a change in the radio booth, but I wonder if I am may be off base here. What does anyone else think about the possibility of a change?