They're the voices that enhanced (or detracted from) the experience of enjoying Yankees baseball from the comfort of your home and car. Like the baseball players we've been judging so harshly, the announcers had their strengths and weaknesses and made hilarious errors. So who was the best of the bunch in 2013? Let's assign them completely arbitrary grades!
Michael Kay: C
The YES Network golden boy, I've always considered Kay a mixed bag. I'm partial to his tidy home run call, find his voice and delivery pleasant enough and believe he is relatively knowledgeable about the game. However, he had a penchant for embracing silly narratives and talking over moments when silence is preferred. His complaining about Robinson Cano's hustle to first base every single game was tiresome. We get it, you don't like it when he doesn't bust it out of the box.
Ken Singleton: A
Andrew Mearns' article on Singleton's Ford C. Frick candidacy sums up perfectly what Singleton brought to the booth. He was a calm, composed and pleasant listen and he knows the game. Also credit him for taking over Kay's play-by-play duties in multiple away series and not missing a beat. He can handle both roles with aplomb.
David Cone: A++
Your saber-friendly neighborhood announcer. He was prepared to add a tidbit regarding advanced statistics at a moment's notice in addition to his wealth of pitching insight. Most importantly, he professed his undying love for the very site that you are currently staring at. So A++ forever and ever for Coney.
Paul O'Neill: B
O'Neill is the character of the bunch. He always seemed to have a quip or a weird anecdote ready, but didn't always seem to be completely paying attention to what was happening on the field. Either way, I enjoy what he brought to the viewing experience as long as his partner for the day could steer things back to the action in time.
John Flaherty: C-
Flaherty has far and away the most sleep-inducing delivery of the bunch. His love for the "staff-handling" and defensive skills of noted stiff Chris Stewart were also less than welcome. Light-hitting catchers forever!
Al Leiter: B
Leiter, like Cone, called upon his past experiences to dissect the mindset and strategy on the pitching end. He was not particularly remarkable in any way, but he did the job asked of him well enough.
John Sterling: F
There's not a lot a listener requires of the Yankees radio mainstay: describe what's happening on the field. Sterling failed to do this over and over. His "creative" home run calls earn him the love of many of the Yankee faithful, but if I don't have access to a television I'd like to know what's going on. He seems to have had even more embarrassingly incorrect home run declarations this year than usual. And his vehement hatred of stats, traditional or otherwise, made him sound like a crazy person.
Suzyn Waldman: D
Sterling's partner seemed to flub names and statistics just as frequently as he did. Throw in her less than soothing delivery and she added almost as little to the enjoyment of a radio broadcast as John himself. She also possessed his same cultish affinity for Jayson Nix, which is both annoying and creepy.
Lou Piniella: ?
Why did they have him announce games again?
Generally speaking, I think Yankees fans have a good stable of personalities handling the announcing duties on the television end. But listening to a game on the radio in 2013 was a frustrating experience, to put it mildly. And I suspect 2014 will be just as much of a pill. So try not to get stuck in your car when the Yankees are playing. You may live to regret it.