A Radio Voice Goes Silent

John Sterling has been the radio play-by-play voice of the Yankees on WFAN in NYC for about the last 35 years; so, it was a surprise to read that he was going into retirement right now, in the middle of a Yankees’ season.  One report cited “health reasons” for retirement and that led me to hope that whatever those reasons are they were not as dire as the tone of that revelation was.

I was anything but a regular listener to John Sterling who called Yankees’ games with Suzyn Waldman, but I would listen to him infrequently when driving in my car in the nighttime radio range of WFAN.  Sterling was hardly a great radio announcer because – – at least I thought – – he spent way too much of his time and attention on coming up with “cutesy phraseology” to apply to the game.  One such instance sticks out in my mind:

  • Yankees were trailing late in a game and Hideki Matsui hit a 3-run homerun to put the Yankees in the lead.  Obviously, this called for enthusiasm from the Yankees’ broadcast team, but I thought it was a tad over the top to hear Sterling yelling that this was a “thrilla by Godzilla”.

WFAN will replace Sterling with two announcers – – Justin Shackil and Emmanuel Berbari – – neither of whom I have ever heard do anything on a radio.  From what I have read, Suzyn Waldman will continue to be part of the broadcast team at least for the rest of the 2024 season.

Moving on …  The NCAA has leveled penalties/sanctions on the Michigan football program for recruiting violations by the coaches – – including former head coach Jim Harbaugh – – for impermissible contacts with recruits during a COVID recruiting standdown.  The NCAA considers these violations to be at the highest level of miscreant behavior and they claim that Coach Harbaugh was uncooperative with whatever investigation the NCAA used to accumulate facts in this matter.

The sanctions include 3 years of probation and scholarship forfeitures in those three seasons.  The part of the story that I found amusingly confounding was a statement issued by Jim Harbaugh’s lawyer who represented him to the NCAA in this matter.  Said the attorney in an interview with ESPN:

“I filed a lengthy response (to the NCAA’s allegations) on behalf of Coach Harbaugh which unfortunately has not been made public and will probably never see the light of day.  That (filing) concluded Coach Harbaugh’s participation in the case.”

That sure makes it sound as if Coach Harbaugh is being railroaded here and may even be labeled as a victim in all of this – – until you ask yourself a simple question:

  • If there is probative evidence in that filing that went to the NCAA regarding Michigan’s and Harbaugh’s innocence, what is preventing the lawyer- – with the consent of Jim Harbaugh of course – – from releasing it to the public to make sure that it sees the “light of day”?

I am not a fan of the Inspector Clouseau acolytes who conduct NCAA investigations, but the complaint by Harbaugh’s lawyer along with his lack of action to show the public how innocent his client is makes me think the NCAA may have gotten one right this time around.  The Bottom Line is this:

  • Jim Harbaugh now coaches in the NFL where he will reportedly make $16M per year.
  • The NCAA can huff-and-puff/fuss-and-fume all it wants; Jim Harbaugh is going to be OK.

Next up …  Recall that the Opening Ceremony for the Paris Olympics later this year is going to be “different”.  Instead of athletes from the various nations parading in a stadium before the hosts and the assembled IOC pooh-bahs, the plan is to have the Opening Ceremony take place on barges floating down the Seine through the city of Paris.  With more than 10,000 athletes involved from 206 countries – – some of which might be difficult to find on a map – – that was always going to be a logistical challenge.  But the organizers had a couple of years to plan all that out and assemble the physical resources needed to pull it off; so, why not give it a go?

Well, now French security folks have suggested that there might be “security concerns” associated with parading all those athletes from wherever down the river in front of what was estimated to be 600,000 spectators who might be civic minded – – or not.  The security folks succeeded in creating crowd limits that would almost cut the original estimates in half, but still there is plenty of room for sociopathic individuals to find some degree of anonymity in a crown of about 300,000 souls at least 30% of whom have probably been imbibing as they waited for and watched the parade of barges.

The attack on the concert in Russia for which ISIS claimed responsibility caused the French authorities to pay more heed to security issues.  President Macron went so far as to say that the whole Opening Ceremony could be restaged in Stade de France if the security threat is deemed to be too high in the days/weeks leading up to the Games.

[Aside:  Adding to the security issues is the fact that 120 heads of state have declared that they plan to attend these Opening Ceremonies in addition to their athletic delegation.]

The idea of a totally different way to conduct the Opening Ceremony for a set of Olympic Games is appealing when one first hears about it.  But in these days of violent terrorist attacks seemingly anywhere and everywhere, you have to picture athletes from all those countries as sitting ducks on barges that might be able to move up to 3 miles per hour.  There is a potential for this to become a shooting gallery where the victims bleed in stead of merely being knocked over.

Finally, for no good reason at all, let me close today with these words from Charles Barkley:

“Curling is not a sport.  I called my grandmother and told her she could win a gold medal because they have dusting in the Olympics now.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



One thought on “A Radio Voice Goes Silent”

  1. Sterling was over the top for all home team home runs (you might say he was a homer homer) and of course his end of game histrionics when the Yankees won. These antics would make me cringe, but he still has one of the great radio announcer voices ever. He says he’s not packing it in for illness, but that he is tired and doesn’t like the commute anymore. Godspeed, John Sterling.

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