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The beauty of a baseball radio broadcast

The baseball radio broadcast is a dwindling art form that should get more recognition.

MSG Radio Announcers John Sterling and Michael Kay Photo by Audrey C. Tiernan/Newsday RM via Getty Images

The radio. That outdated, good-for-nothing, shmuck of an entertainment platform. The vitriol that you may receive from your peers from the simple fact that you still listen to one. How dare I! Some may call it old, and some may call it a dying medium, but I love it. If anything, I hope this article convinces you to enjoy at least one Yankee game this season on the radio. And if you hate it, well, bookmark this article and tell me your feelings in the comments. Lets get started.

Baseball is built on tradition and history, and there is nothing more traditional than a baseball radio broadcast. Immediately, I think of guys like Red Barber and Mel Allen. Their soothing, powerful, and sometimes-quirky tones represent a particular era in baseball. They had a certain cadence and pace to their broadcasts that set the groundwork for generations of future baseball broadcasters. If you listen to games on the radio today, that same broadcasting style, while maybe more subtle from the modern broadcaster, permeates through the speakers.

Being a baseball radio broadcaster is an art. You’re the ultimate storyteller, but that story has no set paragraphs or chapters. It’s as if a book is being written in real-time, and you are the author, but you and your audience find out the ending at the same time. It creates authentic, live drama, but the most amazing aspect is that there are no visuals for your audience, not even in the form of written words. It is a combination of reality and imagination. It’s a give-and-take between being guided on what is transpiring and developing images to equate to those details. It’s profound, and I think the craft is underappreciated.

This is not a knock on television broadcasts. They are the major consumption platform and for good reason. Being able to see what is happening, particularly now with enhanced technology, makes the viewing experience unmatched. The use of graphics, replays, and visual aids provides a more well-rounded product to the radio. But while I know the limitations of the radio platform, I also think that’s what makes it special and unique.

When you think of modern Yankees radio, you think of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. I have listened to John and Suzyn for years, and while legends of the broadcasting field, recently it feels as if they have lost a beat or two. I can understand why certain fans may shy away. However, there are reports that WFAN may offer Justin Shackil an opportunity to call a handful of games this season. In fill-in roles on YES and WFAN, I thought he did an excellent job, and I’m interested in the prospect of him calling more games on the radio. Also, spring training is a good opportunity to dip your toes in the water of radio broadcasts, and ease yourself in, as a portion of the games are not broadcasted on television.

I understand the reality of the situation; it’s going to be hard to convince a group of people to turn on the radio instead of watching a game on television this season. But maybe one day this summer you can make the Yankees radio broadcast the soundtrack to your Saturday barbeque or your Sunday family gathering. It will transport you back to a different era, and hey, maybe you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.