A couple of years MSG Networks made a “radical” decision and put their first woman play-by-play broadcaster on for Yankees baseball. The sporting world yawned as such a move, but the media at large went ga-ga over the fact that a woman was going to announcing games in a “Man’s World”. Me, I didn’t care really, provided the announcer in question was worthy of the Yankees – I come from the times of the Scooter, who would miss plays during the game because he was busy talking about his wife’s lasagna. It was entertaining, even though it might not have been the most “intensive” sporting broadcast – lets face it: baseball is great live but you usually need more than just stats when watching it on TV. So I was almost optimistic with a new broadcaster.
Enter Suzyn Waldman. For the last few years on MSG, Suzyn started making “guest” three inning appearances during a game; this year she’s been on the YES network to do pre-game and post-game interviews and occasionally whole games as play-by-play announcer. She is the worst announcer I’ve seen in years. Before the womynists jump on me for this, let me preface my comments by saying that I know more women that are annoyed to the point of fury by Suzyn than men – no lie. So what’s the problem?
First off, her voice is nasally and obnoxious. She has a startling lisp that also shows through whenever there’s a random S in a play. OK, fine – that’s personal preference. Look at Barbara Walters; bad lisp but still a provocative interviewer. My own speech is sometimes less than “good” much less anything close to perfect, but guess what? I don’t get on TV or radio and use this voice to make a living. She should take her cue from me! Getting past the voice and lisp thing, you have her baseball knowledge. Well, first you’d have to assume she had some baseball knowledge. Oh, she knows where first is and that there’s runs and not points, but any hack could have gotten that from a placemat at the local diner. She’s obsessed with what she calls a Breaking Pitch. She’s even got Ken Singleton using the term now. It’s a breaking ball. Is it a Fast Pitch? A Cutter Pitch? A Curve Pitch? No no no! It’s a breaking ball. Not for Suzyn – she’ll change that term because she probably can’t say it in the first place. Another thing that has crept up this season is the ability to know who’s playing. At least five times every game she’s called this season (so far – remember it’s still only April) she’s mangled players’ names and positions. She trips over the names she’s not familiar with (go get a Roster before the game starts, ya dolt!) and she’s constantly miscalling pitches. On one occasion, she even reported a batter going to first because she missed the called strike on a full count. It wasn’t a strikeout-passed ball; he was going to the dugout! I give Singleton a lot of credit, because he just skips over her comments and points out what really happened – he does this without pointing out Suzyn’s mistakes and keeps a professional manner about him while he does this. Cheers to Ken!
Moving on to the real gripe I have (who would think you haven’t even read it yet, right?) is her style. She’s working for the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network. She think she’s working for ESPN. She is actually giddy when the other team is winning. She talks more about their home runs than the Yankees. She’s quick to jump all over a Yankees error and terms errors by the other teams “Too Bad”. The other announcers don’t have this problem. I’m not asking her to be blind to the accomplishments of the other team but it is a Yankees game. It’s a Yankees network. She should be Pro-Yankees, at all times. You see this come out in interviews, too. Instead of chatting up a timely hit or run from a batter, she’ll ask them if they were worried that they might not have pulled out the hit or run.
My advice to Yankees fans everywhere is to put the YES network on the TV, mute the TV, and flip to your local Yankees’ radio station. The announcers there announce in real time so there’s no lag to what you’re seeing and hearing; they’re in sync at all times. Sterling and Steiner are also a lively group that are entertaining without the video feed – they are a good replacement when Suzyn is covering a game.