An A-Bomb From A-Rod: Yankees Radio Announcer John Sterling Remains A Polarizing Figure
There is "no more polarizing figure in New York sports broadcasting than the idiosyncratic and eccentric" Yankees radio play-by-play announcer John Sterling, according to Bill Pennington of the N.Y. TIMES. Sterling is "unquestionably popular among the cosmic community of Yankees fans." The ratings for the team's radio broadcasts on WCBS-AM "are strong," and the club’s management and players "routinely and unwaveringly praise" Sterling. But he also "has spawned more than 100 Web sites dedicated to denigrating his emblematic calls and his anomalous broadcasting style." And he is the "regular whipping boy of two New York tabloid sports media columnists." The N.Y. Post's Phil Mushnick said, "He's a waste of a great voice." But Pennington noted as Sterling "has endured and prospered -- with a radio contract, expiring this year, that pays him about $375,000 with ancillary income of nearly $100,000 -- he has handled disparaging remarks with more aplomb." He said, "You would like everybody to love you. That's not possible in life. ... Anyone doing baseball for four hours talking extemporaneously is going to make mistakes, and I make my share. I’m not reading a script up there. And, yes, it is my style to be ahead of the play. You can do play-by-play after the fact, but I choose not to" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/2).
SIGNAL STRENGTH: In N.Y., Bob Raissman noted the "knock against" ESPN Radio N.Y. 1050, one of the outlets looking to gain Yankees radio rights after this season, is "its weak signal." But an MLB source said that ESPN execs "have taken a huge step to rectify that problem." The source said that "several weeks ago during a presentation, ESPN execs told Yankee brass if they acquire the radio package all Bomber games will be simulcast on powerhouse WABC-AM Radio and ESPN-1050" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/2).