Friday, April 11, 2014

Yankeetorial: Is John Sterling over-thinking his home run calls?

It is time to save John Sterling's soul.

Last night, The Master unveiled a new, high-concept home run call for utility infielder Dean Anna: "ANNA'S ON THE DEAN'S LIST," he shouted. This came one night after he brought out his new call for Carlos Beltran: "UN CORREAZO!" which sent Twitter twerps to the translator websites, where they decided John was attempting to say in Spanish, "a Beltran belt."

Well, it's finally happening. After more than twenty years of "BERN, BABY, BERN," and "GEORGIE JUICES ONE" - lines that once seemed to roll off John's tongue in the warm ecstasy of a Yankee home run - the Melkman has finally delivered a downside to the business. John is now spending hours in advance, attempting to compose poetry. You can say that's the mark of the true professional that he is. But as a poet, John Sterling is channeling Jewel. And I'm starting to wonder if it's going to bring him down.

For starters, John is no longer parceling out home run calls for the home run hitters, which he did at the beginning. (Anyone remember a call for Luis Sojo? Scott Brosius? Mariano Duncan?)  The fact that last night Dean Anna - who might have gone this season without a home run - received a ready-made Sterling yelp could be a sign of the final bugaboo of John Sterling's long career: His ego may be spawning terminal self-awareness.

OK, I know what you're thinking: "WTF, el duque? You're accusing John Sterling of being over the top and egotistical? Where have you been since 1995?" Obviously, you're right. But I always viewed The Master with two basic rules.

1. Yep, he's a crazy nutbag Yankee homer. But some folks seem to think every other team in baseball can have its unabashed, pro-home team announcer, but the Yankees should not. They seem to think Yankee fans should feel guilty about the team spending for players, so we should have Glenn Greenwald ripping us in the booth every night. I do not feel guilty about the Yankees buying pennants. It's a pro team. If we buy them, it's because other billionaires are willing to sell them. Homer announcers are a part of baseball. They have always been a part of the game. The Yankees can have one, too. NO GUILT.

2. Of course, John Sterling operates in another orbit. He's way over-the-top. But he's over-the-top in a totally transparent way - not in the conniving way that some announcers pretend to be fair and reflective, yet you can feel their ego pulsing through every sentence and bit of mediocre wit that they trowel into the microphone. (Michael Kay, at his worst.) Yes, we can all picture John Sterling spraying honey into his mouth as Suzyn introduces him, like a bad Lyle Wagoner comedy sketch, but when he sounds clownish, everybody knows it - I think, himself included. Let Reagan be Reagan! Let Sterling be Sterling!

Trouble is, these deeply thought-out home run calls don't necessarily sound buffoonish. They just sound sad. It's as if John senses he has finally gotten attention - for something that really wasn't that important - so now he's going to make up home run calls for every guy who ever wears a Yankee uniform. And this will be his legacy? No, it will be his downfall.

Do we really want "Anna's on the Dean's list" to be on John's home run list? Well... it is. From now on, if a guy hits one home run in his Yankee career, will Sterling have a specially designed call ready for him? What's the point of that?

Listen: Forget who should be our backup first baseman. Disregard global warming. Folks... THIS IS THE MOST CRITICAL DEBATE CURRENTLY FACING THE YANKIVERSE.

It is time to save John Sterling's soul.

12 comments:

I'm Bill White said...

I, for one, wish he would decide on a pronunciation for Ellsbury and stick with it.

The Ellsberry, or is it Ellsbury, Conundrum is hard to take.

While I'm at it, I hope Capuano doesn't pitch again this series because that was hard to take, too.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

I'm hoping The Master can relax a little and bring a tad more playfulness to his calls,,,, I agree that he must be feeling the pressure of one who has become 'known for' bombastic haikus of exuberance, and for this, I truly adore him.
Plus, this year there was a huge turn over, with all of his 'best calls' no longer available, so even more pressure to produce.
Also also, aren't the first few calls for newbies usually works in progress?, unfortunately for this crew, the homers ( so far) have been few and far between.

bennyboy said...

He had one for Scott Brosius.

"Brosius the ferocious!"

Can't criticize it after the 1998 World Series.

bennyboy said...

Oh, and thanks for putting Brett Gardner up as the possible leadoff hitter! See? Pineda pitched like Roger Clemens last night. It's working!

ceeja said...

Is there any rule against him re-thinking his homerun call? Once he says "Randy helps the Yankees.. Winn" is he really stuck with that forever?

It might actually be fun if he tried out a few options before settling on a final version.

Who knows? Maybe Dean Anna is an intellectual and the "Dean's List" fits him. It just seemed, at first blush, as lame as the Randy Winn call.

ceeja said...

Another question -- what if CC Sabathia hits a homerun? Does he have a call for him? How about if Dellin Bettances hits a homerun in 8th inning of a 14-1 blowout? Do we really need a call for every Yankee homer?

ceeja said...

Final thought: I think what you're really saying is that you miss Phil Rizzuto? He was a homer and Yankee rooter, though he also appreciated and loved good play on the other side too. He was completely unselfconscious. And what a great voice. There is nothing better than sitting on the beach in the summer listening to Rizzuto call the game on a "transistor radio."

TheWinWarblist said...

John Sterling has a soul?!?

bennyboy said...

"CC IS BEASTLY! A HOME RUN, FOR CC SABATHIA, AND THE YANKEES ARE ON THE BOARD, IT'S 6-1 RED SOX!"

"PHELPS...YELPS! OH, IT WAS DAVID VERSUS GOLIATH, AND DAVID WON! IT'S PHELPS' FIRST HOME RUN OF THE YEAR, AND THE YANKEES ARE ON THE BOARD, IT'S 9-1 RED SOX!"

"MOVE ON OVER...IT'S NO-VA! A HOME RUN, FOR IVAN NOVA..."

Suzyn's Bitch said...

Could NOT agree more!

Suzyn's Bitch said...

Could NOT agree more!

Leinstery said...

Did you know that Suzyn, up until a couple minutes ago, did not know what a peep was? Fascinating stuff.