Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Another attack on The Master

Bob Raissman - never a fan of John and Suzyn - fired off a few new shots at our namesake voices in today's Daily News.

It’s about the alternative insular baseball universe Sterling and Waldman have created. It’s their world. We are all lucky just to be allowed in.
At the risk of being a "homer" blog - to a homer - let's look at Raissman's criticisms.

1. Driven mad by Jeep.

As usual, Sterling explained what he thought he had seen. Shortly after his excuse, Waldman added a touch of irony while reading a commercial for a consulting company. The spot is tagged with the following line: “Experience the power of being understood.”
During his illustrious career as radio voice of the Yankees, Sterling has not experienced that kind of “power.”

Like most critics, Raissman rips John and Suzyn for the non-stop stream of products they hawk. Yes, the ads are infuriating. But announcers do not sell ad copy. The decision to lard every at bat with a line about some shyster law firm or used car dealer comes from the top, where the suits - who presumably do not listen to radio - are more concerned with cash than the sanctity of a game.

Would it too much to ask critics to savage Hal Steinbrenner, rather than their employees, for policies that drive fans crazy?  Hal could end it. John cannot.

2. The meanderings.

In the seventh inning, they did describe a fan catching a foul ball.
“I wonder when people started bringing (baseball) gloves to games? Waldman asked.
“Suzyn, people used to always catch them (balls) with their bare hands,” Sterling said.
“I once saw my grandfather catch a foul ball with a straw hat,” Ma said.
Isn’t that amazing, Suzyn.”

Raissman's thrust is that John and Suzyn were on the moon, yapping about everything but the game. 

OK, fine. But one note here:  It was frickin' 10-0 in the third! Should the announcers quiver over every pitch, opine on strategy? What strategy? IT WAS 10-0 IN THE THIRD. THERE IS NO GAME. If the announcers are visiting Rio in a one-run thriller, they need to be called on it. In a 10 run game - with six innings to go - I defy any radio team in baseball to mesmerize us with the excitement of which pitch will be thrown next. Frankly, this was an easy and cheap shot.

3. The blown calls. 

With the Yankees getting pounded, down at one point 10-0, Ma and Pa’s funereal tones, reserved for such occasions, were not heard. When Carlos Beltran jacked a homer to right-center in the seventh, Sterling had it being “caught at the wall” by A’s right fielder Brandon Moss.

Yes, they drive us crazy. Always have - hence, the title of this blog. I guess the anticipation of a wrongful call sums up the pain and suffering of everybody who ever had to hang on the voice over a radio - be it of a newscast from a bombing blitz or a poor soul trying to listen to a song on the AM band during a thunder storm. It is the essence of radio: Everything happens in real time. Mistakes are made. It comes and goes. You don't have copy editors to save you from saying stupid things.

Listen: One of these days, the Raissmans will win. John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman will go. Mark my words: You may hate "Ma and Pa" with a passion, but you will miss them after they are gone.

For better or worse, there won't be anything like them again in our lifetimes.

More than likely, the franchise will cut a deal with ESPN, which for years has lusted after Yankee broadcasts. From Bristol, we will receive the voices of hell - Nomar, Pedro, even the Bloody Socker. Moreover, we will announcers who take pains to never be "the homer." Thus, they'll celebrate every victory, be it a Yankee win or one by the Redsocks. When a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter against us in the fifth, you'll hear the excitement build in their voices - hoping it happens. When the Rangers or the Blue Jays mounts a two out rally against us, you'll hear from them a trill of happiness - hoping it happens.

That will be the final castration of baseball: They will have knocked the stuffing out of the Yankee name. They will have ended the payroll advantage, the signing advantages, the financial advantages - and turned the Yankees into the Kansas City Royals of New York. We will be down for six or eight years - and we won't even have a sympathetic voice on the radio, licking our wounds. Raissman can write columns celebrating the professionalism of the Yankee announcers. Won't it be great?


Ken of Brooklyn said...

I have, and always will, cherish each and every idiosyncrasy that makes up the The Master's radio broadcast. I'm a fan, in the truest sense.

Anonymous said...

well done El Duque

Suzyn's Bitch said...

Agreed Ken. They make the games an experience like no other. Ever try tuning in to a Mets game? Where's the color? Zzzzzzzzz...

As zany as Ma & Pa's broadcasts get, they are just following in the Hall of Fame footsteps of Rizzuto (the ULTIMATE homer), who talked about food, Cora, Italy, the movie he watched in the room the night before, anything - it sometimes seemed - other than the game he was supposed to be broadcasting. And we all loved it.

ceeja said...

I've had mixed feelings about Sterling. But the problem isn't that he is a homer. He will acknowledge good plays by the other team and will not take cheap shots (though he does get whiney and petty at times). If you want to hear real obnoxious homer-ism, listen to a Chicago White Sox broadcast.

The problem I have with Sterling is that he's too locked into his own schtick. Why do the call on every home run? Why not vary it? Why not just have some fun with it. Why even say "Theeee Yankees win" if its a blow out? Also, he tends to get too frustrated and petty, and does not exude the warm-heartedness of Rizzuto, Barber, Harwell, Gowdy.

But heck, he's still pretty good in my book and I will keep listening to him.

Kevin said...

duque--I hope that this maudlin babble in tribute to incompetence is one of your exercises in satire. It would be intolerable to think that you really would miss the the most manifestly incompetent radiocasters in baseball history, led by a crank who mars every Yankee game with tsuamis of ego, errancy, stupidity, and almost psychopathic abrasiveness.

You think that unchained homerism is the benchmark of broadcasting greatness? Then I guess you've never bothered to go online and check out the classic game coverage--radio or TV--of the lies of Mel Allen, Red Barber, Bill White, Russ Hodges, or Curt Gowdy--to name only a few of the stellar professionals who have graced Yankee microphones, Hall of Famers who would be spinning in their graves at your celebration of one of Yankeedom's most grievous embarrassments, a living testament to the ineradicable bad taste and Mafia management style of the Steinbrenner family.

Even Homer nods, but in this case, duque, you've hurtled right out of your rocking chair.

Kevin said...

correction--LIKES of, not lies of!