(Rose : Matteau, Matteau, my kingdom if you’ll get off of my toe)
Newsday’s Neil Best wonders, “was this stunt – listening to the Mets and Yankees on the radio, simultaneously, Wednesday night – just too stupid to justify?”
That really depends. Presuming there were at least two commentators talking simultaneously, I’m impressed Best was able to follow Wednesday’s games at all.
Howie Rose and Tom McCarthy of the Mets/WFAN are relentlessly, almost numbingly, competent, in contrast with the zaniness up the dial with the Yankees on WCBS.
McCarthy sounds so much like his predecessor, Gary Cohen, that it took some fans time this spring to figure out there had been a change.
That’s a compliment.
On Wednesday, the pair described action in detail and added offbeat observations such as the collection of gloves and other equipment first-base coach Sandy Alomar accumulated during a long first inning.
They also were willing to be critical, as when Carlos Beltran bunted with a four-run lead in the second. “Swing the bat and drive everyone home!” an annoyed Rose said.
Meanwhile, at WCBS, things were as peculiar as usual.
No one is better than John Sterling at producing over-the-top calls of big moments that can be replayed on radio and TV. But listening live is a more, um, complex experience.
It took less than an inning for Sterling to wrongly anticipate a play, reporting that a pop-up to right by Derek Jeter was in the stands, then noticing Alex Rios had caught it.
Later, Alex Rodriguez tried to stretch a single with a creative slide into second base.
“He is out!” Sterling said. “No, he’s safe!” he added. He was right the second time.
While the vibe at WFAN is of two broadcasting pros meticulously plying their trade, Sterling and Suzyn Waldman are your bloviating uncle and his long-suffering wife holding court on the porch.
Waldman is a good fit for Sterling in that she gives him a wide berth. Why not? Resistance is futile. And she deserves credit as a pioneer among women in sports media. But too often she aids and abets Sterling’s looping, distracted path through a broadcast.
In fairness, Sterling and Waldman face the burden of an absurd number of drop-in ads – by our count 30, give or take a Foxwoods Resort pitching change. Some are comical, such as one promising $10,000 to a fan if the Yankees execute a triple play in the third inning.
Waldman noted the Yankees’ last triple play was in 1968. “Now you ruined it,” Sterling joked.
Sterling and Waldman do exude more warmth than their WFAN counterparts, but that warmth simmers regularly into worshipful treatment of their Bronx heroes, many of whom get first-name treatment.