Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Muchnick has no love for Sterling (and neither do I)

The NY Post's sports media-hound Phil Mushnick has no love for the Yanks catch-phrase-happy radio play-by-play guy John Sterling:

DON'T misinterpret this; it isn't a rip, it's a plea, a plea for change. Enough is enough. For those who care about baseball, a preventable, 20-year problem has become a crisis.

John Sterling, the radio Voice of the Yankees and a man who has always cherished the sound of his own voice while placing strained self-promotion over good-faith play-by-play, has created and cemented a dilemma: Every game played by the Yankees is a doubleheader -- the game that's played and the game Sterling calls.
Mushnick goes on to discuss how Sterling calls the game differently than the actual game action, how he misses plays and gets over-eager to use his own calls at the wrong times. Hard to argue, and I won't.

But my real beef with Sterling is how he's become so absurdly embarrassing to listen to, particulary with his insipid home run calls. He made a name with his "It is high, it is far, it is goooone". OK, I get it. He needed a call to call his own. Great. Then he had to add the "Ballgame over! Yankees win! Theeeeeee Yankees win!" Painful. Except he was just getting warmed up. Because these calls brought him a measure of infamy, he had to slowly take it a few steps further by adding player-specific home run calls and these are the bane of my existance.

  • Melky Cabrera: "The Melkman delivers!", "It's the Melky Way!", "The Melkman always knocks twice!"
  • Robinson CanĂ³: "Robbie Cano! Don't you know?", "Cano can do!", and "A Ribbie for Robbie!"
  • Johnny Damon: "Positively Damonic!" and "Johnny on the Spot!" and "It's A Johnny's Rocket!"
  • Derek Jeter: "El Capitan!", "a Jeterian swing...", "a Jeter jolt", and "Oh captain my captain"
  • Hideki Matsui: "A thrilla from Godzilla, "An Upper-Decki by Hideki!"
  • Xavier Nady: "X marks the spot!"
  • Jorge Posada: "Jorgie juiced one!" and "Jorgie jacks one!"
  • Alex Rodriguez: "An A-Bomb from A-Rod!" and "Alexander the Great conquers again!"
  • Nick Swisher: "Jolly 'Ol St. Nick!"'and '"Nick at Night"
  • Mark Teixeira: "A Tex Message!" and "You're on the Mark, Teixeira!"
  • Jose Molina: "Jose, can you see that!"
Oh. My. Lord.

Are we, the listeners, that basic and stupid that he thinks we might find these somehow funny or amusing? Holy crap, make it stop!!!! It's absolutely unlistenable. Add in Suzyn Waldman's whiney drivel* and I can be thankful that XM has the feed from whoever the Yanks are playing. I'd much rather listen to the opposing broadcasters and get their take on the Yanks than listen to those two chuckleheads.

* As I noted in the comments, choosing who you dislike more, Waldman or Sterling, is similar to choosing which you like better: the sound of the recorder or the sound of the kazoo. Both will make your ears bleed and your head hurt like hell.

It's time for a change and Muchnick's spot on.


Bonus Sterling-isms, just to make your eyes/ears bleed:
  • Bobby Abreu: "El Comedulce!" and "Bobby Abreu as sweet as candy..."
  • Wilson Betemit: "You can bet on Betemit!" and "For the Betemit of the Yankees, Wilson hits it out"
  • Jason Giambi: "The Giambino!" and "It's a bash from the 'stache"
  • Tino Martinez: "The Bam-Tino!"
  • Don Mattingly: "Mattingly, smashingly!"
  • Gary Sheffield: "The Master Sheff!" and "A Sheff Special!"
  • Shane Spencer: "Shane Spencer! The Home Run Dispenser!"
  • Robin Ventura: "And Robin becomes Batman!"
  • Bernie Williams: "Bernie goes boom!" and "Bern baby Bern!"
  • Scott Brosius: "Brosius the Ferocious!!"

Thanks to TheSportsHernia for the tip


Bill said...

Thank you.

I would never listen to a Yankee radio broadcast for any reason, but even just the three-second highlights on XM make me want to break my radio or computer.

I think you can make a strong case that Suzyn Waldman is even worse, though.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

Bill, I agree with you: Waldman is as bad. But that's like comparing the sound of the kazoo to the sound of the recorder.

Both make your ears bleed. Which you prefer to hate more is solely up to you.

Josh said...

I imagine Sterling could be much better if he wasn't doing all the work. Get someone with some baseball intelligence (who actually sounds good on the radio) instead of Waldman.

Her garbled lexicon adds nothing to the booth. The games mostly sound like Sterling is trying to keep himself entertained. I live in Maryland, so I have to listen to most games (no YES in Birdland), and she is just terrible.

Most broadcast units work in tandem each calling every other inning. Sterling and Kay/Steiner used to work that way. Suzyn is so bad she couldn't do that if she were forced to. I enjoy the ninth inning the most, when it is just Sterling in the booth.

Jake said...

Suzyn is even worse. At least Sterling seems to have some fundamental idea of how baseball works. Suzyn spends half her time talking about how it was a good piece of hitting to pull an outside pitch or how that perfectly flat fastball right down the pipe was an excellent pitch or something else stupid. Sterling is in his own world, but at least that world somewhat resembles the actual baseball universe.

Also, this is an excellent excuse to link to this, from the same fine gentlemen who heckle Steven A Smith at the draft every year:

Thoughts said...

the worst part of sterlings phrases are that they make it into the stadium on the digital banners. argh!!

tHeMARksMiTh said...

Please watch a Braves game on Peachtree (I watch on MLB.tv) TV. When those two announcers get going, it is absolutely insane. My mom always wonders how much they've been drinking. Last night when there was a pop-up in the ninth on the 12th pitch of an at-bat, the announcer yelled, "Yiiippppeeeee, a popper to Chipper!" Someone shoot me.

dinologic (Dean D) said...

I think I'm in the minority on this one but I actually find Sterlings pre-fab calls hilarious. It's more of a laughing AT him instead of WITH him kind of thing, but I give him some credit for originality. Now, from a purely baseball perspective, he's horrible. If he got the calls right and laid off on the homerism a bit (HR calls notwithstanding) I think he'd be more tolerable to more people.

As for Waldman, she doesn't talk about how pulling an outside pitch is a good piece of hitting - quite the opposite - she over simplifies the game by breaking it down into a few simple rules: If you take outside pitches up the middle or to the opposite field, you're an excellent hitter. If you throw strikes, you're an exellent pitcher. She's not wrong, but those seem to be the only things she really understands about the game and that's the extent of her analyses. She doesn't get much deeper into the game than that.

Suffice it to say, I would KILL to have a real play-by-play team in the radio booth. I listen to a lot of innings in the car or headphones at home while I'm doing other stuff. I used to actually find myself listening to Met games when Gary Cohn was doing their games (Howie Rose and that other dingleberry they have there now don't really do it for me) just because he was so good. I think Cohn is a d**che (better, Jay? :D) on TV but he was great on the radio.

Sidenote - anything is better than Charley Steiner.