Sunday, in the seventh inning of game one, John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman took time to ruminate on the joys of life. And why not? Their team had just rallied against Houston, and the knighting of Sir Derek Jeter was drawing near. In a burst of serendipity, Suzyn embraced the moment.
The weather people predicted rain, she noted. But look, look! The sun was out, and the sky had turned a perfect blue. George, she said, had ordered the clouds to part.
John quickly agreed: Surely, George was up there, commanding God to fix the weather.
That George Steinbrenner sits happily in heaven might be a bone of contention among some. Bobby Meacham - current manager of the Buffalo Bisons - could have something to say. Wherever they are in the firmament, Billy Martin, Joe Garagiola, Hideki Irabu and even Yogi might also question St. Peter's ruling. But on Sunday, as John and Suzyn danced toward kismet, there was no debate: It was a glorious day of spring in a glorious Yankee universe.
It's been their time. You can hear it in John's game-ending win warbles - pulsing with emotion and lasting 6.50 seconds, playoff quality; or his mighty "thuuuuuuh pitch," which frames each event; or his new homer hollers, which include a song, "Happy Hollidays!" (In a perfect world, all of the Master's home run calls should be sung, a la' the Grandyman.) Lately, the two have almost seemed flirtatious, with John praising Suzyn's fetching looks. At times, I've wondered if we had a Mika-Joe situation. Do Yankee victories have the impact of Viagra Single Packs? Or is it simply the joy of being Radio Voice of the New York Yankees, when your team leads the AL East?
But spring doesn't last forever, and this is actually late autumn for the pair known as Ma & Pa Yankee. Two winters ago, when John and Suzyn signed a rare two-year extension, following "acrimonious" negotiations, there was speculation that it would be their final contract. If Wikipedia has it right, John will turn 79 on July 4. He doesn't discuss his age, but the record shows he started broadcasting for the Baltimore Bullets in 1970 - nearly a half century ago. He has called every Yankee pitch since 1989. Meanwhile, Suzyn - a former Broadway singer and survivor of breast cancer - is 70. Nothing - not even old George - lasts forever.
It's hard to imagine a summer day without their banter wafting from a nearby radio. But that time will come. And even if old George is moving the clouds and yelling at God, we may never again know a more glorious spring than this, perhaps our final one with John and Suzyn. Clearly, they are savoring every moment, and so should we. By this time next year, we might have a better roster, but it won't be inspiring our new announcing team to gaze wondrously at the heavens or to burst into song.