Ma and Pa Pinstripe not going anywhere…unfortunately

“’At the end of the day,’ said one Yankee source told Bob Raissman of the NY Daily News, ‘people listen to the games because they want to listen to the Yankees. Media guys rip John. (The Yankee hierarchy) don’t care. You don’t love him, but they know their fans do.’”

Apparently, the Yankee brass is set on continuing with the announcing tandem of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman, who have functioned as an uncouth combo since 2005 on WCBS-AM. And the above quote suggests that the owners think of Sterling and Waldman to be fan favorites who don’t get the critics’ vote.

Wrong. I’m just one fan, and I don’t listen to Yankee games on the radio unless I absolutely need to, but I’ve always had distaste for the pairing. My father and I share laughs about Sterling’s incredible inability to call each home run as such or each fly ball as such– “It is high, it is far… it is… caught! In the corner! I didn’t even see the ball off the bat!” – and Waldman’s nasally, pitchy voice (which is a shame, as it masks her knowledge and likability). They aren’t the perfect radio duo in my clan, but I’d always thought this was just a genetic inheritance – perhaps the hate ran in the family and only in the family. After all, I don’t go to a single game where I don’t see a handful of people listening on portable radios while they watch the action in front of them. I did indeed witness people listening, willingly and happily, to John and Suzyn. Maybe it was just us.

I repeat: wrong. I eagerly opened the link to the FanGraphs “Radio Broadcaster Rankings,” to see where my hometown announcers fell. After all, this would settle once and for all what I wanted to know but never researched: “Is it just me, or is this play-by-play undeniably crappy?” Sure enough I found at the bottom of the rankings the New York AL broadcasters, John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman, clocking in at a whopping 2.1 on a scale of 5 (made up of 173 votes, a small sample size, but a passionate one as well). The second worst radio-broadcasting combo was Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson, who received only 52 votes as the Chicago White Sox representatives. Their score was 2.8 out of 5.

So what are the Yankees thinking? The possibility that the Yankees home station will move provides them a perfect opportunity, in theory, to start with a blank slate, two new voices to grace the airwaves. But the Daily News article concludes that, “They ain’t going nowhere,” with they, of course, being John and Suzyn. The men and women in charge seem to think that the pairing is well loved, even when the most quote-worthy praise of Sterling I can quickly stumble upon is one FanGraphs’ reader calling him one of “history’s greatest monsters.”

I suppose what I’m asking for is too much – they seem, by all accounts like good, loyal people, and people who care about the game. This is important and loyalty should be rewarded… to an extent. But even the nicest people fail at their jobs, and John Sterling in particular is a failure as a radio broadcaster – he fails with names, home runs, fly balls, rules, and more. His long ball nicknames are cringe-worthy at times – “A text message from Texeira!” – and outright offensive at others (“An a-bomb from A-Rod!”). The package all put together equals an unpleasant listening experience, which is what it should all boil down to, after all.

Even if the Yankees do part ways with their beloved blowhards– which seem incredibly unlikely – do we really trust the biggest fans of Sterling and Waldman to hand-pick their replacements? Here’s to an eternity of bad radio broadcasting for yours and mine, the New York Yankees.

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25 Responses to Ma and Pa Pinstripe not going anywhere…unfortunately

  1. Tumbleweed says:

    After reading this article I guess I'm in the minority. I like listening to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. They make a good team. I don't care if they are occasionally alittle goofy.

  2. Captain Mick says:

    Yeah, I don't mind them all THAT much. Partly it's because I have no choice, as I left the NY/NJ area years ago, don't have cable, and subscribe to MLB's audio service as my only means of getting a live broadcast. They both can be grating at times, sure. But John has an awesome voice and reminds me of that big, stupid, corny but lovable uncle. And Suzyn….OK, cannot stand her voice. But, she's very sharp when John lets her get a word in edge-wise. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of these two, but I definitely don't have the hate that others seem to. I still miss the days of Sterling and Kay, before they both became parodies of themselves.

  3. mlblogsaugustine says:

    John and Suzyn don't bother me at all. I can totally understand why others don't like them, but to me, it adds some fun to the game instead of the same old boring chit chat. There is no way they are any more irritating than that dope Hawk Harrison who calls games for the White Sox.

  4. Mike Sommer says:

    I agree with the author. As someone who longs for the days of Allen and Barber, or even Messer, and who got his B.A. degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting, I can't stand Sterling & Waldman, especially when it comes to their ignorance during the season of who is doing what down in the minors. You'd think, in the event of injury, they'd know who is doing well at AAA and ready to be called up. Too often, they don't have a clue and immediately advocate a trade instead of calling up a worthy prospect. I'll bet you neither have any clue about Ronnier Mustelier or how he is doing at all. Just saying.

    • Last season when Jesus Montero made his debut, they didn't even know it was his major league debut. 1st major league homer? They didn't know about that either.

  5. Gevon Madrid says:

    I find it pathetic that the 27 time Champions New York Yankees have John Sterling and Susyn Waldman broadcast their games. They both have a lack of baseball knowledge and are incapable of calling a game in which the listener can understand. I will, however, give Susyn credit for being a breast cancer survivor, but her only strength in calling a game is reading out the scores of the other games. They are constantly being made fun of on 660 The Fan. It is not that I do not like John and Susyn, I actually like them both, but the fact that they are the duo that broadcasts the most respected franchise in sports is embarrassing as a Yankees fan.

  6. yanksfan says:

    I hate them with the white hot intensity of the sun.

  7. Chip says:

    I love all the people who sit home behind their computers and judge Sterling & Waldman…like THEY could or would do a better job. I absolutely love listening to the Yankees games. Sterling has the perfect voice for radio and if you take away the corny post-home run calls, EVERYTHING else the guy does is good. People are WAAAAAAYYYYY too serious about Sterling and his home-run stuff. To the point that THEY are the annoying ones. WE GET IT, you don't like "A-Bomb from A-Rod" well, it's not going to stop him from saying it, so why bother wasting your time hating on it. To me, now it's just comedy…I wait for whenever______ hits a home run and just get a laugh waiting for Sterling's comment ("Nix has a knack for a knock" gave me a real good one the other day) and then (unlike some people) I MOVE ON with my life and enjoy the game.
    Waldman is a fine compliment and both of them work well together. I wouldn't want to listen to anyone else. They paint the perfect picture of a ball game, and make me feel like I'm actually seeing what's going on. They both drop plenty of knowledge and stats to keep my interest in what's going on. I really don't know where these "they don't know anything about baseball" comments come from.
    Sterling has bled pinstripes for YEARS, and thats what I WANT from my home team broadcaster.
    All the haters, go listen to something else and let the rest of us ENJOY our Yankee broadcasts from 2 people who love the game.

  8. David Reyes says:

    There OK, they can be annoying at times but I like them. On TV, however, I really hate Michael Kay. The guy's radio show is great, but he's such a horrible broadcaster.

    • Pete in NC says:

      Dude, do you listen to any other teams announcers? NY fans are extremely fortunate!

      • David Reyes says:

        It's better than listening to what teams like the Mets and White Sox have, but I like guys like Vin Scully. David Cone and Ken Singleton are pretty good announcers too.

  9. Larry says:

    Did John run out of tanning lotion? He looks like he's wearing a John Sterling mask.

  10. Len says:

    I listen to Ma & Pa with the tv sound down because of the insufferable Michael Kay who thinks his audience knows nothing. Then there's that silly banter and Singleton's giggling at every stupid remark Kay makes. This from a Yankee fan who grew up listening to Mel Allen, Scooter, and Red Barber. I'd even take Frank Messer right now

  11. Pete in NC says:

    I GREATLY enjoy John and Susan's broadcasts. I listen often as I am out of market. They obviously love the Yanks as I do. This is clear by their obvious emotion. I'm curious to you people that do not like them: have you ever listened to other teams announcers… tv or radio? NYY fans are currently EXTREMELY fortunate.
    Pete – Summerfield, NC

    • Mike Sommer says:

      Listen to them often, because I'm in the Philly market and where I am, get Yanks, Mets and Phils. But as I wrote above, I am 1) old school. Allen, Barber & Messer. 2) Majored in Broadcasting. Worked in it. So my perspective is different having studied it and worked in it.

  12. john says:

    I listen on MLBATBAT APP. Im embarrased by them but I have no other way to get live games. I live in Chicago and my wife is a white sux fan trust me Ed Farmer &Jackson are gold compared to these two bums.
    But I have to agree with David Reyes- Micheal Kay is Fn Brutal.

  13. mlblogsaugustine says:

    Nice job on this article Nick. You really got a discussion going here…

  14. john murphy says:

    Suggested lineup at Yankee Stadium, forget left / righty for a while. We need production.

    Jeter R
    Swisher S
    Cano L
    Ibanez L
    Rodriguez R
    Granderson L
    Chavez L
    Texeria S
    Martin R

    • Mike Sommer says:

      I'd actually move Granderson to leadoff and have Jeter second while Gardner is out. I'd also tell Granderson to run. I don't know why someone with seasons of 26, 25 and 20 SB has only three attempts this year. Too power-conscious? Use your speed, Curtis. Run.

  15. David K. says:

    Hey I like John Sterling. He has a great voice and he is all about making the broadcast EXCITING. I've listened to the Mets radio and Boston Red Sox radio when I was in Boston and they are so all so boring, it's like listening to a play-by-play of a funeral. And where else are you gonna hear the word "milieu" (pronounced mee-yuh, french for "in that way/manner/vein)? Susan, I'm not so impressed with. I don't know if they make a good broadcast match. But anyway, a couple of weeks ago I heard Sterling make a joke that made my night. After doing a pizza commercial, he said Susan Waldman ordering a pizza would be like Charlie Sheen announcing that he'll join a monastery.

  16. kay t says:

    I love them. They are intelligent, well spoken, decent to Yankees and opponent while telling it like it is. I have listened to every broadcast in MLB on XM radio, and they are the best. Next, MN Twins and Toronto Blue Jays.