Tagged: broadcasters

No Longer the Latter-Day Ramiro Mendoza

Yankees reliever Alfredo Aceves now IS Ramiro Mendoza. This is new this season, and tonight’s 2-inning no-hit performance was a fitting tribute to his predecessor in his first appearance as Mendoza himself. (Yankees 6 @ Red Sox 4) He was dubbed “the latter-day Ramiro Mendoza” last year by WCBS radio’s Yankees broadcaster John Sterling largely because of his ability to pitch effectively at any point in the game, especially in extended middle relief, and to execute a wide repertoire of pitches “that move,” as Sterling’s broadcast partner Suzyn Waldman says, and which emerge from a disconcerting variety of arm angles, much as Mendoza did for the Yanks during the late 1990’s before being unceremoniously cut and left for the Red Sox to pick up. (I should say “pick up the pieces. Mendoza so wanted to stay with his team that he said “I want to die a Yankee.”) I remember then-manager Joe Torre asserting that he had “ice in his veins.” Aceves’ moniker entered the airwaves last season after a conversation among Sterling, Waldman, and NY Daily News beat writer Mark Feinsand, during the “Daily News Fifth” inning segment. It soon took on a life of its own, and Waldman seems to find a charming way for Sterling to make the observation afresh each time Aceves comes to the mound, as she did tonight.

Why I Love John Sterling

“The game was a tidy 3 hours and 48 minutes.” Straight, no sarcasm. (Yankees 6 @ Boston 4)

That’s how WCBS radio play-by-play man John Sterling presented the duration of tonight’s opening series-tying win by the Yankees in Boston. Sure, he and partner Suzyn Waldman joke about how long the games between the Yankees and Red Sox can be, but they are rarely exasperated. Sometimes they even sound like kids who can’t believe how late they get to stay up. By contrast, I can’t overestimate how many times I have heard Sterling’s TV counterpart on the YES Network say it differently:

“The game was an unmanageable ___ hours and ___ minutes.” I’ve even heard him complain about games in the 2 hour range. Such a balloon buster can Michael Kay be. I am not even curious if he repeated his mantra tonight.

Questionable Call ALDS Game 1 MIN@NYY Wed 10-7-2009 on TBS/WCBS Radio

Umpire Assignments ALDS Game 1, MIN@NYY 6:37pm at Yankee Stadium:
HP: Tim Tschida (Crew Chief), 1B: Chuck Meriwether, 2B: Mark Wegner, 3B: Paul Emmel, LF: Jim Joyce, RF: Phil Cuzzi.

Top 3
CC Sabathia (NYY-P) lost a strike call on a 2-2 pitch to Orlando Cabrera (MIN-SS), opening a stream of 2-out baserunners. Cabrera advanced to 3rd on Joe Mauer’s (Joe Mauer-MIN-C) 4-pitch double and then scored on Michael Cuddyer’s (MIN-1B) single on the first pitch he saw. Mauer subsequently scored on Jorge Posada’s (NYY-C) second passed ball of the game – during Jason Kubel’s (MIN-RF) 5-pitch at-bat, which ended in a strikeout. This put the Yankees behind 2-0 in a game that they were widely favored to win. (The opposition played on little sleep after arriving in New York at 3.30am following a nail-biting 12-inning win over Detroit night for the right to fly into New York.)

The color commentator for WCBS Radio, Suzyn Waldman, at first seemed to chastise Sabathia for his evident disappointment at losing the strikeout, because he had already tried that pitch and failed to get the call. On review, however, Waldman said she could see why Sabathia – and the 50,000 in the stands – felt robbed. Characteristically disinclined to stir controversy, her partner, play-by-play man John Sterling, noncommittally stated that it looked very close.

Effect: Instead of getting out of the inning unscathed, Sabathia was hit-up for 2 runs and threw 11extra pitches – equivalent to a short inning – on a night when his pitch count was already running high with 4 strikeouts before the 3rd inning ended, and starting with Denard Span’s (MIN-CF) game-opening 7-pitch double. The Yankees failed to score first, losing the psychological advantage and comfort zone for their starter, and, significantly, they were facing a pitcher who, albeit inexperienced, was unknown to them, exactly the type of pitcher to stymie Yankee bats since late in the Joe Torre era, if I remember correctly. But Derek Jeter (NYY-SS) immediately pulled a HR to left (very unusual for him), scoring 2, and removing Sabathia’s deficit. In the 4th, Nick Swisher (NYY-RF) doubled-in Robinson Cano (NYY-2B), earning the lead for the Yankees, who held onto it and in fact built on it through the 7th inning. Sabathia was able to pitch through most of the 7th with no further scoring by Minnesota, having earned just the 1 run. (Minnesota’s second run was unearned, because it came in on a passed ball.) Joe Girardi (NYY-Manager) said Sabathia’s performance lived up to expectations, despite the effects of some miscommunication between the pitcher and catcher. Sabathia, who threw 113 pitches through 2 outs in the 7th, appeared to have shaken off any lingering effects of the questionable call after the 3rd inning and pitched a strong game, backed by consistent offense, despite commanding less than his very best , as he said himself.

It’s Official: “No one can predict baseball.”

“No one can predict baseball. No one. Ever.”
-John Sterling, WCBS Radio,
NLDS Game 1, MIN@NYY Top 7, 1 out
re: 2 unlikely runners let on by Sabathia, the second a routine double play turned askew when the ball hit the pitcher’s foot.

I see it is no longer just the listeners who cannot predict this game (as in, “You can’t predict baseball”). This is sounding serious, John! And, it is.

Heard On Air: Jeff Weaver always gives the impression he doesn’t care whether he’s here or not.”

Wow, that’s not the impression he left in New York, where he visibly beat himself up on the mound for missing his pitches and would only reluctantly leave the mound.

This was said by the deeper-voiced of two radio announcers for the Cincinnati Reds, who are hosting the Dodgers, heard via MLB Gameday Audio.

Pitching Notes: If It Isn’t Sinking, It Will Fly

We’ve all heard it said, but for the record (meaning, my memory), sinkerballers need to “get the ball down.” If balls are flying off the bat, chances are the sinker isn’t sinking. That’s from Suzyn Waldman, confirmed by John Sterling today as Yankee replacement starter Sergio Mitre gets hit for 2 in the 1st at the Stadium.

A lefty will throw a change-up to right-handed batters because it will drop away. It’s hard to execute to a lefty without going too far inside. That’s John.

Stealing Home

I’m home. Well, that’s not technically true because I never lived here, in my mother’s place outside Chicago.

I’m here because she died. I can’t understand that. We never got to finish watching Kevin Costner’s movie about Shoeless Joe, though she did take the El with me down to see the White Sox in 2005, when the Yankees’ Shawn Chacon beat former and soon-to-be-again Yankee El Duque. She actually said aloud that she wished Mariano Rivera, her favorite player, had gotten to pitch. She knew about him because she loved me and baseball was the only thing besides fear of not going to work that could get me to stop sleeping back then when I was sick. So she watched Yankee games so that we could talk about them, and that’s how she learned about him. So I’m going to use this blog to steal away for a minute and talk about baseball. And the Dodgers, whom she and my dad took me to see so many times in LA, where she helped me dress up as Ron Cey for Halloween one year, and where I grew up until my Dad was transfered to the Chicago area just before Postseason of 1981, setting off 15 years of avoiding baseball, except a few games at Wrigley. And Brooklyn, where I work now, in the high school where Sandy Koufax played (Lafayette). And Jackie Robinson, who made that team what it is, and whose number is worn only by my mom’s favorite baseball player. Because, as Mark Gremse said so often “That’s baseball.”

But, on the surface, these are really just a few trivial lines about movie: WYIN – public television out of NW Indiana – is showing The Jackie Robinson Story (1950), which, as I just discovered, can be viewed on Google Video here.

Regular readers know I’m a softie for great lines from broadcasters. Here’s one from the movie, spoken right before Jackie steps to the plate in the 9th, with the Dodgers down by 1 and hoping to clinch the Pennant: “Brooklyn hearts have skipped more beats than an absent-minded policeman.”

Bobby Jenks- White to the Short Hairs! (His goatee, that is!)

I usually listen to Ed Farmer broadcast the White Sox on The Score, Chicago’s WSCR, so I haven’t seen Bobby Jenks looking so, well, grown! Tonight I caught TV-man Hawk (Ken) Harrelson twitting his partner Steve Stone for being techno retro, never having played the Nintendo pitching game where Gavin Floyd’s curveball is so good “you can’t hit it,” Hawk says. Steve said he’d never played a video game at all, though he does Twitter! (It was refreshing to hear Steve again – and to see him! – I enjoyed him when he worked with Ed last year on the Score.)