This morning, New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick reported that the New York Yankees would strangely not start a bidding war between WCBS and ESPN Radio for the right to broadcast their games. ESPN attempted to get the Yankees to shift to their new ESPN-New York station, 98.7 FM, and they certainly offered a good deal apparently. I'm sure we'll get more on this story at this some point in the future since the Yankees are not a franchise that easily turns down good money. It is possible that CBS might have an unspoken agreement to pay that Yankees more in the future because they recently launched a national CBS Sports Radio Network that they are awaiting profits on to pay for the lucrative Yankee broadcasts.
Regardless, this development essentially confirms that barring any surprises, radio voices John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman will be back in the booth for next season. Sterling has been the primary voice of the Yankees for 23 seasons now, and Waldman joined him in 2005. They are an interesting combination to be sure, but they have many detractors as well. Sterling's infamous home run calls have been criticized for putting attention on himself rather than the game, and it can just be baffling how he can screw up a call on the field at times. Waldman is as confusing a choice for "color commentator" as any broadcaster in the game, even disregarding the infamous Roger Clemens incident.. She pales in comparison to the strong color commentary crew of the YES Network team like Ken Singleton, David Cone, and Paul O'Neill, who are all former players with valuable in-game experiences to relate to fans. Waldman was a reporter, so the closest she ever got to the game was being in the clubhouse for media sessions.
Some of the benefits of staying on WCBS include the more wide-ranging signal of 880 AM compared to the FM station, and the basic concept of "The enemy you know is better than the enemy you don't know." Who knows what kind of broadcast team ESPN would select for the Yankee games if they did not choose Sterling and Waldman? A good portion of Yankee fans already dislike ESPN's Yankee broadcasts. Would they trust the network to not add dolts like Joe Morgan and Rick Sutcliffe? It would be an unclear future of regular Yankee broadcasting, that is for sure.
We'll see "Ma and Pa Pinstripe" in the radio booth next year, but the outlook beyond 2013 is hazy. What would you prefer?