Newsday’s Neil Best recently conducted a poll of his readership to determine their most beloved / most disliked NY sports mouthpieces. And while Joe Beningo-Gazingo’s narrow victory over CSTB fave Steve Somers for Favorite Sports Announcer has me smelling a 2000-style bit of electoral thievery on the former’s part, Best is particularly troubled by Suzyn Waldman sneaking past John Sterlng in the category of Least Favorite Play By Play Announcer.
Waldman fared even worse in the “least favorite” announcer category than did Sterling, who on Thursday gave an exuberant home run call for Melky Cabrera — “She’s gone!!!” — on a ball that was nowhere close to clearing the fence in Denver.
Usually such Sterling-isms are amusing or at worst a tad embarrassing. This one was downright disturbing.
Look, Waldman is no Vin Scully, so feel free to vote against her if you want. She’s as much fair game for criticism as are Sterling, Francesa or Chris Russo. Or me, if anyone cares.
Still, Waldman has a long, legitimate resume as a pioneer in both electronic sports journalism and women’s sports journalism, and the visceral dislike of her by some is hard to figure.
Unless you figure that much of it is a function of simple old-fashioned sexism.
Waldman was reluctant to discuss that subject Friday during a conversation we had about other upcoming stories.
But it was clear she still is upset about the Clemens incident and how it was portrayed by sports media critics (including me) and on the radio (especially by Francesa and Russo).
And yes, she believes it had a strong sexist subtext. When I asked her about the state of women in sports journalism without even mentioning Clemens, she said:
“All you have to do is look at the uproar that went on over something that happened not even during a game, but during a commercial … People get more excited than I did that day on a daily basis.”
Those people, of course, are men, and no one compares them to a hysterical teenage girl at a rock concert, as happened to Waldman.
When I informed her of our poll results, she said: “Look, I’m fine. I’m doing what most people would give their right arms to do … I’m not despised by people. And I’m not going to change who I am because of you or anybody else.”
Y’know, I’ve thought this over and I have to agree with Best. Much of the treatment afforded to Waldman has been brutally sexist. And after looking over the results of Best’s other polls, I must conclude his knuckle-dragging readers are almost totally swayed by their dopey attitudes towards women (as opposed to, say, an overwhelming New York Mets bias). How else can we account for that great female broadcasting pioneer Francine Healy winning the category of Least Favorite Living Former NY Sports Announcer?