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2017 Power Rankings: Yankees broadcasters

Shifting the analytics from the field to the booth. Who is the best at enhancing Yankees fans’ viewing experience?

Pittsburgh Pirates v New York Yankees

Sports broadcasters are an essential part to enjoying a game from the comfort of your own couch. They tell the story and paint the picture of what is unfolding on the field, while color commentators take us into the minds of the players and coaches during the action. Some make the viewing experience more enjoyable, while others make it downright painful, and leave us reaching for the mute button.

Which category do the broadcasters of our beloved Yankees fall under? Let’s rank them from worst to best, using active TV and radio broadcasters, whether they prove color or play-by-play.

Suzyn Waldman

There is no doubt that the color commentator for the Yankees Radio Network (WFAN) has a deep wealth of Yankees’ knowledge from being around the team for so many years, and was a great beat reporter before she made the move up into the booth alongside John Sterling. Unfortunately, color commentary doesn’t seem to agree with her like reporting did.

Waldman’s broadcast voice is like nails on a chalkboard, especially when she gets worked up. A lot of times she just gets too worked up (see Roger Clemens in George Steinbrenner’s box, circa 2007). Sorry Suzyn, you do not win “Suzyn’s Star” for Yankees broadcasting.

John Sterling

We’ll have to round out the radio broadcast quickly, moving on to Waldman’s counterpart. Sterling is an overall poor broadcaster, just not for the same reasons as his color commentator.

Sterling actually has a melodious voice, which serves him well when narrating shows like Yankeeography on YES. However, when it comes to narrating a baseball game, specifically following the trajectory of a baseball from the press box, Sterling falls well short. Almost as short as baseballs fall before the outfield wall that Sterling seems to think are ticketed for the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar.

There is nothing more frustrating than driving home at night and hearing Sterling shout in excitement, “There it goes to deep right! It is high, it is far, IT ISSSSS....caught short of the warning track.” Unfortunately, this happens all too often. Despite all the miscues behind the microphone, I can’t help but love the guy.

Michael Kay

Sterling’s former counterpart on the radio, Kay has since moved into the big seat as play-by-play announcer for the Yanks on YES. He certainly doesn’t have the natural broadcast voice like Sterling, but in fairness to Kay, he has improved on his susceptibility of contracting a form of raspy laryngitis every time a big moment occurred in the game. Despite the improvement, he is still not the easiest on the ears.

Kay has an undeniable knowledge of Yankee history, and is never afraid to express his opinions and say what needs to be said. He is also a great interviewer, as expressed on the YES Network show “Center Stage.” I’m sure the transition from radio to television is tough, but it would be nice for Kay to allow the picture to tell some of the story, rather than over-narrating.

John Flaherty

The YES Network color commentator (and now a regular at the YES studios alongside Bob Lorenz and Jack Curry) has a knowledge for the game thanks to years of experience as a major league catcher, and also has a solid broadcast voice. He also provides entertainment for the viewer, as it is always fun to play an over/under game of how many times Flaherty says the word “ballgame” in one broadcast.

Ryan Ruocco

I can see Ruocco moving up this list in years to come. He currently has a limited role with Yankees’ broadcasts, as he primarily works with the Brooklyn Nets on YES, but he has made the most of his play-by-play duties on the diamond when called upon.

My only quarrel with Ruocco is that he come up with a stronger home run call. I am not a fan of “goodbye sir,” and am convinced that he can come up with something a little better.

Al Leiter

Leiter brings a plethora of experience to the booth thanks to years of major league pitching, while also serving as an analyst for MLB Network. Leiter’s voice is smooth like his pitching delivery, while not getting over-analytic like many in booths across the country tend to do.

We don’t see too much of Leiter anymore due to his other jobs, but it is always a good broadcast when he is participating.

David Cone

Okay, I’ll admit it, Cone may have gotten the nod over Leiter because I asked myself who I would rather have on the mound for a crucial playoff game. Nevertheless, Cone is great to have in the booth for the YES Network, and is certainly deserving of a ranking this high.

Not only does Cone have the baseball mind, but also allows his personality to shine through the television, and gives us humor to keep us entertained. He is one of the main color commentators for YES who logs heavy minutes in the booth, and in no way is that a bad thing.

Paul O’Neill

The Warrior’s number two slot on this list may have a lot to do with the fact that I just love how he handles Kay in the booth, and is never afraid to mess with his play-by-play counterpart. Like Cone, O’Neill’s personality can be felt through the television screen, and is always a refreshing presence when the Yanks are on YES.

Along with giving solid insight into the mind of a hitter, O’Neill also gives the viewer a close look into the relationship between player and umpire when the time is right, because we all know he has had plenty of experience with umpires during his playing career, and is surely a credible source.

Ken Singleton

Look out! We’ve reached the top of the list with a man who I find myself wishing was the full-time play-by-play commentator. Sure, Singleton is a fabulous color commentator, but his voice seems destined for narrating a baseball game.

I don’t know about you, but I love when the Yanks travel to the central time zone to face teams like the Tigers or the Royals, because that usually means Singleton will be on the call. When it comes to the Yanks on the air, Singleton is the cream of the crop.