John Sterling has been away from the Yankees’ radio microphone for some time now. And he will be out a bit longer.
From The Post’s Andrew Marchand:
John Sterling will miss this weekend’s home series against San Diego and will skip the Yankees’ West Coast trip next week because he is under the weather.
Sterling, 84, is expected to return to the Yankees’ broadcast booth on June 6.
While his illness is keeping him out, it was not described as serious.
“Don’t worry about me, you can tell your readers,” Sterling told The Post. “I’ll be back soon.”
The important thought — and really, the only thought that matters — first: Thank goodness Sterling is OK. His recent appearance at a charity event in Nyack should assuage any fears further. Here is to hoping he is back in June as scheduled and ready to roll for the Yankees’
World Series run Divisional Round loss to the Rays.
MORE: Craig Carton says John Sterling, Michael Kay are feuding
Now, the palace intrigue: Marchand points out Sterling will have missed about a third of the Yankees’ games this season by the time the road trip is over. And you figure he is not going to call roughly 100 straight regular season games upon his return, plus whatever postseason play the Bombers enjoy. So you have to wonder whether this will be the new normal for Sterling. Or if this may be his final season.
Justin Shackil, who appears to be the Yankees’ and WFAN’s heir apparent by all accounts, has been filling in for Sterling. This has been his first extended run. Reviews have seemed mixed among the fanbase based on anecdotal perusals of social media.
Our take: Shackil is a solid play-by-player, but there does not seem to be much natural chemistry between him and analyst Suzyn Waldman. Maybe that will come with time. But Waldman is eight years younger than Sterling and has shown no signs of slowing down. She is also Yankees and WFAN royalty. And one would argue the next guy had better make it work with her, and not the other way around.
Back to Sterling: The man belongs in Cooperstown. Who cares what Phil Mushnick and a few cranks on the internet say. Sterling is one of the last things that makes the Yankees feel like the Yankees. And he should call the shots on his schedule and when he retires.