mike francesa
Peter Ackermann | Asbury Park Press

Mike Francesa is no longer employed by WFAN. But he does have some free advice for the station.

The big guy addressed Yankees radio voice and noted workaholic John Sterling’s recent decision to cut back on road trips during his latest BetRivers podcast. He also laid out how he would approach the future of the broadcast booth.

“I think they need, both WFAN and the Yankees, to find a young, talented radio guy who wants to make this his career and start to integrate him into the team. It makes plenty of sense,” Francesa said.

“John and Suzyn (Waldman, Sterling’s broadcast partner) are not young. It makes plenty of sense all the way around. It is a very, very smart move. And it’s the best thing that ever happened to John.”

Sterling, who turns 84 on July 4, is expected to miss 25-30 games over the remainder of the regular season. He said it is not health-related. Instead, Sterling does not enjoy being on the road and wants to lighten his workload. Sterling will call all home games, as well as road games in Boston and Baltimore and the pair of Subway Series contests against the Mets later this summer at Citi Field. Waldman, 76 in September, is expected to keep her normal schedule.


WFAN has already announced Justin Shackil, a Yankees digital host, and Spanish language play-by-player Rickie Ricardo will be featured as Sterling fill-ins. The Post has also reported Ryan Ruocco, who backs up Michael Kay on the YES Network, former Yankees pitcher Jeff Nelson and Waldman could also get time in Sterling’s chair.

Sterling — who belongs in the Hall of Fame — and Waldman, an WFAN institution, should be in the booth as long as they are healthy and willing. But Francesa is right; the Yankees and WFAN do need to start thinking about a succession plan in what may prove Spike Eskin’s first significant decision as the station’s program director.

There is no sure thing, by all accounts. Ruocco is the obvious candidate, but he may be waiting out Kay, 61, for the television job. Ricardo told WFAN’s Craig Carton and Evan Roberts on Thursday that his main home is in Florida; he also calls Eagles games. Shackil has never called baseball on the radio; he told Carton and Roberts he earned his shot with demo tapes he made on his own in an empty booth while working Yankees games. And those are just the known contenders. The ball is now rolling.

“It’s a very solid move at this stage of [Sterling’s] career,” Francesa said. I think it also introduces someone else to the radio as a play-by-play person.”

James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.