Less than a week into the 2018 season, New York Yankees fan radio listeners have already heard John Sterling’s home run call for two new additions. They’re… interesting.
Every good broadcaster has their own signature call. Every great broadcaster has multiple signature calls.
From the simple “woop” from Chris Berman to the elegant “posting and toasting” from the ever stylish Walt “Clyde” Frazier, broadcasters are defined by their unique catch-phrases that indicate to fans that something pretty cool just happened.
When talking about baseball, that means a unique home run call to really stand out. When you’re talking about a team that’s nicknamed “The Bronx Bombers,” you better have a few.
WFAN’s John Sterling, the voice of the New York Yankees, has time and time again reached that watermark of home run call excellence. His decades of fantastic radio announcing has produced classic calls like “Robby Cano, don’t ya know!” and “It’s an A-bomb from A-Rod!” Anytime the Yankees call up a new prospect or trade for a big bat, fans start anticipating what Sterling’s call will be when that player first gets a hold of one.
Now, the Yankees are poised to hit more home runs than a team has ever hit in a single season, requiring Sterling to be at the top of his game every time the Yankees are at the plate.
In the first week, we were fortunate enough to see two new Yankees homer. Giancarlo Stanton, the 2017 NL MVP and the only player to hit more home runs than Aaron Judge, and Brandon Drury, a talented young player acquired from Arizona that has drawn fan comparisons to fellow-former Diamondback Didi Gregorius. Both players homered in the Toronto series, forcing the reveal of Sterling’s home run call.
This was it. The big slugger and the next Didi finally getting their home run calls. Fans had been waiting for this for months. This is what we got:
Giancarlo non si puo stoplaro!
This is an enormous let down plain and simple.
“You can not be stopped” in Italian?
I’ve come to expect more from a seasoned vet like Sterling. Where’s the rhyme? Why is it in Italian? There’s just no rhyme (yes pun intended) or reason for it. The best slugger in the game of baseball received one of the worst home run calls I’ve ever heard.
We can do better John. We will do better when you realize that everyone telling you that the Stanton call stinks is right.
Aaron’s the Judge, but Brandon’s the Drury!
To be honest, I personally loved this call. Maybe I was just excited about one of the more intriguing players hitting one out. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a good pun. Regardless of my thoughts on the call, most fans hated it.
It does come off as a little bit lazy as literally anybody could have taken advantage of the Judge and Drury connection. Fans expect more from the man who coined classics like “Gardy goes yardy!” and “The Melkman delivers!”
Someone, please have John shoot me a letter and we’ll start brainstorming something more creative.
Overall, Just two disappointing calls for guys that are gonna be around for a while.
This got me thinking though … since we as fans know how fantastic Sterling can be when calling a home run, what led to a couple of early duds? Shouldn’t he have spent more time working on calls for the team that should hit the most home runs in the history of baseball?
My working theory is that the Yankees lineup is so good and features so much power from so many different sources, that Sterling’s brain just broke from the stress of trying to come up with a unique call for everyone. Add in the wealth of prospects that could see time at the major leagues and the fact that the balls are absolutely juiced, there were simply too many potential players for Sterling to come up with a home run call for.
We, as fans, can’t blame him for being overwhelmed with how good the 2018 Yankees offense is going to be.
So we as fans shouldn’t blame John Sterling for having a weak start to calling the year of four billion Yankee home runs. If anything, we should be blaming Brian Cashman for building such an absurdly talented offense coupled with an absurdly talented farm system.
The voice of the New York Yankees will piece the calls together sooner or later.